This is part five of my series on enterprise social media, featuring a recent conversation with Shel Holtz. Today’s post explores enterprise blogs.
An enterprise blog is usually thought of as accessible only within the company and is written by an employee or specific group of employees. The best reason to set up an internal blog is to enhance communication and the sharing of ideas across departments and business units. Some of the most successful enterprise blogs are collaborative forums that allow for the sharing of ideas and knowledge. Enterprise bloggers and employees who take the time to comment on blog posts often become subject matter experts by virtue of their efforts.
Many of the most popular and widely read enterprise blogs are written by top level executives. Shel explained that “An internal leadership blog creates much greater line of sight between the front line and the leadership of the organization. It humanizes an executive.”
Shel said the first example of this type of communication he heard about predated blogs. Jacques (Jac) Nasser, former CEO of Ford, used to send emails regularly to the entire company. Jac was fond of using rather colorful language and wouldn’t let the communications people review his emails before he sent them out. He said his punctuation, spelling and grammar may be bad, and he may make a mistake and say something he shouldn’t have, but he wanted his employees to know that it was really him writing the emails.
If Jac was angry, that came across; and if he was really proud of employees, that came across too. Every now and then he eschewed business matters and wrote about personal topics. For example, one of Jac’s emails was all about his daughter’s high school graduation and how thrilled and proud of her he was.
Everybody at Ford knew him as Jac, not Mr. Nasser and he was beloved even by union shop stewards. When he got an outrageous bonus one year, Jac got support from his employees because this wasn’t management getting an outrageous bonus, this was Jac. He kept them informed on a weekly basis and employees felt they knew him. In their minds he really deserved that bonus.
Today when executives like Jac communicate with employees, they are more often writing blog posts that employees can comment on. Interestingly, many company blogs are public-facing and employees often make up their biggest audience. According to Shel, several organizations maintain successful blogs. General Motors’ FastLane, Intel’s blogs (not all of them in English) and Fleishman-Hillard’s collection of blogs (“Point of View”) are a few good examples.
In conclusion, Shel believes that “Every organization should have a leader blog on the intranet, whether it’s the CEO or a team blog where various members of the leadership contribute. That direct line of sight is really critical in organizations.”
The next blog post in this series will cover the deployment of enterprise social media platforms, so stay tuned!
Shel Holtz, ABC (Accredited Business Communicator), is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology. Shel’s expertise includes strategic communications planning, change management, organizational culture, business initiatives and communications research.
Series Part one: How the use of free platforms like Facebook’s closed groups expand the definition of enterprise social media
Series Part two: How the bulletin board, one of enterprise social media’s predecessors, enabled collaboration like the established networking capabilities of companies like IBM and Dell today
Series Part three: The issue of productivity and social media
Series Part four: The value of Facebook in strengthening business and working relationships
Series Part six: The deployment of social media platforms
Series Part seven: Where enterprise social media (ESM) might be headed in the future
Originally published on the New York Women in Communications blog Aloud.Connect with Giuliana on Google+
Categories: Communication, Enterprise Social Media, Social Media