How To Improve Visibility, Communication & Accountability of Social Media Within Your Company
Do you want to improve visibility, communication and accountability of social media within your company? It’s as simple as sending a project dashboard on a regular basis to a broader team.
Really. That’s the magic pill.
It seems so simple yet not enough of us do it. Instead, we complain that there are silos or that people don’t understand that corporate social media is more than just tweeting and status updates. While there are many other ways that you can take your internal critics and turn them into your biggest fans, sending a project dashboard on a regular basis can be one of the simpler ways to increase visibility, communication and accountability for you and your team.
By more frequently communicating what you’re working on, you will increase the visibility of yourself (or your team) and the projects you’re working on. These colleagues can now become internal advocates for the work that you’re doing because they are being provided regular updates thus being able to communicate that back into their teams or in meetings that you may not be present at.
Most of us have experienced it before – introduced in meetings as “our Facebook girl” or “we’re not really sure what he does” or “you’re lucky, you get to play on Pinterest all day.” It’s possible that the reason why colleagues don’t understand corporate social media is because you haven’t taken the time to educate them on the projects that you’re working on. Not only does sending a dashboard open up a communication channel from your team to them, I have found that these updates often result in colleagues inquiring into a number of other social media-related questions they may have.
Sending a dashboard update to a broader team on a regular basis builds accountability because you have now publicly committed you and your team to delivering those projects by certain dates. You voluntarily are making yourself accountable to many people beyond your manager. At the same time, this makes those team members accountable to you when a project you’re leading requires support from them. Since other colleagues are going to also be seeing this dashboard on a regular basis, it helps keep everyone committed.
Determining Your Broader Team
Depending on the size of your company, your broader team might be the entire company; a key group of stakeholders with whom you’re currently working on projects with or a social media council. Establish the team and reach out to them, letting them know your plans. There is potential that they’ll have recommendations of other team members who may benefit from the update.
Create a quick distribution list in your email client so that you don’t spend time adding team members every time you send a dashboard update.
The Keys to a Successful Dashboard
Your project dashboard doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Remember, you’re trying to provide a quick and readable update to a broader team. If your project dashboard contains too many columns, it will be easily dismissed and your colleagues won’t take the time to review it. Here are the basic columns you should consider:
- Project Area or Focus: List the project name or area of focus such as “Social Media Guidelines” or “Listening & Measurement Strategy.”
- Progress: Using percentages, in either increments of 10% or 25%, provide the project progress.
- Last Week’s Status: Provide the color code (green, yellow or red) of your project state for last week.
- This Week’s Status: Provide the color code (green, yellow or red) of your project state for this week.
- Team Owner: If you have a team, list the team member who is the owner of the project.
- Timing / Deliverable Date: Set the timing or deliverable date of the project. This could be an exact date or a period such as Q3 or 2H.
- Comments / Notes: Provide a short update on the status of the project since the last time you sent a project dashboard.
For those who subscribe to my newsletter, in next week’s edition I will provide you with a formatted template that you can use in your favorite spreadsheet software.
Formatting and Sending Your Dashboard
Now that you have your project dashboard set up, you need to decide how you’re going to present it to your team, which will more likely be via email. While you can format your email in a way that best suits your team, do not simply attach the dashboard with a one-liner “Attached is this week’s social media projects update.” type email.
Though email is a critical and preferred communications tool for most companies, we’re still drowning in too many emails. If you don’t make it easy for your team to consume your update, it is more likely to get ignored or deleted.
This email is also another opportunity for you to provide more visibility into the work that you’re team is accomplishing and provides an ongoing educational opportunity for your other team members. The format that I’ve used for the dashboard email is:
- Top Social Media Articles: This is where the ongoing educational element comes into play. You’re spending hours per week staying on top of what’s going on in your industry. Use this as an opportunity to share it with your team. By choosing the top 3-5 articles per week that addresses an issue that your company is currently dealing with, it will help to provide your team with more information. Curious whether or not people are reading it? Use a shortened URL such as bit.ly to track the clicks on the article.
- Key Accomplishments: List the key accomplishments that your team has tackled since the last time you sent your project dashboard. These shouldn’t be long updates. A single sentence will do.
- Key Activities Planned: List the key activities that your team have planned during the next week. Again, a single sentence will do and this doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list – just the highest level or most impactful activities.
- Project Dashboard: Copy and paste your dashboard from the spreadsheet into the email. Tidy up the formatting and make any adjustments.
You might use this email as a chance to recognize a member of your team, an upcoming event or other activities that you want to highlight. But, at it’s core, these are the basic sections of your email that you should have.
The frequency with which you send your dashboard will depend on your preferences and the culture at your company. However, I recommend sending an update at least once every 2 weeks. Due to the large number of projects that my team is involved with, we send our dashboard update on a weekly basis.
While it’ll likely take a few hours to set this dashboard and email template up, once it’s completed, it’ll only take you 30-45 mins per period to format and send. It’s a small investment of time to greatly improve visibility, communication and accountability of social media within your company.
Photo Credit: ndj5a