Neal interviews Internal Communications expert Rachel Miller while in London about the role of internal communications, internal communications versus public relations, and internal communications best practices.
welcome to maximize your social actionable advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now the host of Maximize Your Social Social Media author, speaker, consultant and founder of Maximize Social Business Neal Schaefer Everybody, this is Neil Schaefer. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Our Social As I like to Do. I am on the road, and if you've been following me this week, I am actually in Europe. I spoke out Social Media Week. Copenhagen had the luck of being able to speak at the United Nations City. There, I believe it's the headquarters for the World Health Organization who interviewed me afterwards, but much an honor to speak about social media for nonprofits and government organizations. And I was able to speak at the headquarters of Maersk, the big shipping line that we all know of on every gene linked him for corporations. And then I was off to Helsinki, Finland, where I spoke for the University of Nebraska, which is located about three hours north of Helsinki and actually helping their executive MBA program not only engage with their alumni but basically taught a social media module for their current students on the future of business. And now I am in London, England, and I am at a pub inside the Paddington Railway station. If you've ever been to London, you know that's where the Heathrow Express drops you off, and I am here, and it's really an honor for the first time to meet. And, well, we're already on our second or third beer here. So in all honesty, we've already met and we've already gotten acquainted. But I am here with none other than the internal communications. Another night contributor from Maximize Social Business. Rachel Miller, Rachel. Say hello in your British accent Waco, and it's amazing we've been here where? I guess there's a pretty important rugby match going on, and we saw Scotland beat Italy at the last moment, and we're seeing England and Ireland play right now, and it is pretty loud as you can here. But we're in a British pub, and it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to do a podcast here, and I just could not pass on the opportunity Now. Rachel specializes in internal communications, and we were just talking. There aren't that many people in the United States that specialized in the way the name's Shel Holtz came up Scott Monty. And as we were conversing, I know that in in the United Kingdom and throughout the world, it is a popular discipline. Perhaps it's a popular Justin United States as well, but very few active on social media. I don't know. Maybe we can start with the podcast just describing the role of internal communications and how important internally that role becomes in the age of social business and employ advocacy and everything we've been talking about.
So internal communication is everything it's ever been. As important as it is right now, with key function on, the key role of in internal communication is really to equip and enable and empower employees to have a voice inside an organization So good internal communications inside organizations are ones who really understand the reality of the culture of the workforce. It's no good, you know, just sending out stuff, just sending out in three magazines and having an Internet. It's written four employees. It is not done with them,
which is probably 99%
of the business is out there, right? Yeah, so many instead of communicators, it is changing. I think We've moved now from content creators to content curator Sze. So because of the rise, particularly of social media platforms internally, where it's not just a constant, many more who send out stop food who are soul voice in an organization, your employees now have the ability, and as they do they create. So our role was changed a week now still have to make it make sense, but it's more important than ever before that we really understand that it's not about egos of the internal communicators about information flow inside organizations on our really is Teoh. Stick it together. If you like it, make it make sense. So strategic narrative. The story of your company needs to make sense. So internal comes really even. The name is confusing because it's not just internal. We have stakeholders. We have third parties. We have union officials. We have works councils, you know the list is endless. The true nature of internal communication is that it's never really purely internal anymore. Social media does have a role to play in that, but you've always ever been, you know, an employee magazine left on a bus away from your intern. Investors going external, so people who think you can control internal problems and control message in a bit foolish. I think it would be fair to say I love it. It's fascinating, brilliant areas.
So maybe in the United States the role of internal communications perhaps, is done by public relations or corporate communications department. Can you tell me about what you see in the United Kingdom? Is there friction within the organizations? Do you have a common goal? How would we better understand why we would want to have a separate and individual internal communications specialist or department rather than let a public relations corporate communications just do everything? Can you come in on that?
Yeah, I think it varies by company. So I've worked in organizations Way have separate internal, comes who report directly into the board. You have a board member. Part comes team. Well, you pull into a child, for example, and the HR director is on the board. There's a really kind of disconnect between depending on our new organization in terms of whether it's good to have an internal and external and corporate. When there's so many hats we have public affairs specialists, we have C s way. Have internal external. The list is endless. I think the benefit of having solely did it hated internal com sectionals is you are the eyes and ears on the conscience of the organization, so you need to be tapped into that network. You need to be tapped into what's happening inside your organization. But I always advocate working very, very closely with your colleagues with your external partners, because for your employees, if they have one understanding of perception of your company internally and then their friends and family have a perception externally based on all the good advertising and marketing thing you're doing, if they don't match up, you know, doing a good job. So it needs to be consistent. Your brand identity needs to flow from the inside out. No, not just the outside in on. That's why I think it's a conscious important is because it is a consistent message. Is that reality of understanding, understanding, making it real for people you know, communication is about real people telling real stories about what we know what they're working on. I think when you have a really good see show, any marks in campaign externally recruitment campaign on its full of stock photographs. It's not your real people doing real jobs. Your identify with that, because that's not their reality of their organization. So I think that one of the key boz internal prices being secretary function is a distinction is to be that punch in those eyes. And it is.
And it's very interesting because my perception and you can correct me from wrong of the public relations people on departments it up work with in the past there not one with the employees. They're Maur of controlling the brand, controlling the message in a different way than traditional market is, whereas what you're talking about. Internal communications. You are one with the employees and really trying to break down any differential between brand perception and employees Perception on and there's a lot more to it than that. But you work with a lot of companies here. A lot of organizations, the United Kingdom on internal communications and leveraging social media's part of internal communications. Can you give us a snapshot into clients? You work with challenges they have and the solutions that you offer.
So I worked with a number different points number of different projects and scenario is that they find themselves in everything from eternal strategy to way. Look it on social media and social tools and technologies and understand whether it's right for us. And I've written a bloke on internal percent, particularly on how to use social media the last five years. And this is an increasing, noisy space,
and I want to make sure way let everybody know what is the Earl of your block.
You roo is all things I see in
all things I see dot com and act all things I see on Twitter
that someone thanks so much So the conversations I'm having people if my clients usually around things like So we're thinking through this social thing on, we're trying to explore whether it's for us or not, is it? You know, it's the right thing for us to do. So my there's no blanket answer. There's no one size fits, all right. If I said there was and I would be doing my job properly,
there's no cookie cutter approach, right?
That's exactly and I think too familiar. Take a step back. What do you want to achieve? What are you thinking about What is it that you want? Employees think he'll do so differently as a result of thinking through many companies way just simply adding another channels. You add in chatter or yammer on any social network, and you just increase the volume and you increase the noise and the conversation in your organization. You don't actually link it with your business strategy. You have a social strategy, which is no align your business. So my voice always it's You need to understand where you going into business, what's important to you. I understand where the conversations are happening and then make smart choices. Thio figure out what makes it So does the work recently with Oil, Africa's largest independent oil company. And we didn't put it together at the moment doing it for about five months ago. A good few months this year and we're looking at How do they currently communicate and moving from shepherd? It's tense with the team because Yemen, looking at their culture to understand if you're an entrepreneur organization and you have very, very smart people working for many companies finding its power source but a power struggle thing where if you have information in your knowledge area within your function in your division. Many companies very siloed in this. You know, you have a good knowledge. That's kind of looked away. The nature of social several inches. It makes privacy invisible conversations visible. But there's a mindset. Chick. There's a behavioral shift there on the cultural ship. Many companies. So parts of my role is really helping companies think through that and not just introduces. Think, because it's nice to be seen to excuse it, but we think through what is behavior joints drive on how we need to get differently as authorization and what do you expect from usual result? Fascinating,
you know, and I always say that cos and they're still cos they're just getting started in social media, right? Getting to the point where you're working with companies and really, it's We're talking about the evolution social business in general, but it is an evolution. You can't just be a frog from not doing social media, certainly, and it's funny because I see organizations that have adopted yammer chatter. But their employees, for instance, if they're not really proficient Twitter themselves, they're not gonna get full value and obviously business strategy as well. The objectives. Also a lot of that I really think
that I think many organizations, they have a very siloed organization and then they think social media is this magic Silver bullet is gonna be the answer to break down the silos on what you see very often is they re create the group. So they didn't have you, Have you?
Oh, no. Ireland just guard No limey.
I'm loving every checks. That's No
Ireland five England three. We still got 40 minutes or so
left being distracted by the way very often Find that many companies just recreate what they know and they end up building their own silos again replicated in Yemen, for example. Actually, social silos, Really, that's exactly ah, well thought through strategy in the world through through plan is one that really takes a massive step back. Before you really embark on anything like this, you know what's the point? How do we want to be? And you make incremental steps and you it still feels like your organization not making in a massive step change. So employees identified it because we find, if you have, you know, if it's led by tea or comes, You have my tea comes on Enterprise Ocean. It worked, talking about spending so much more than that. So I think, on approach the IRA commander was, is to whoever is left by its led by your homes. It's behind the idea of thinking about social tools, allergies and minds. You need to have a cross functional working. It can't just be driven by tea or because by the nature of true social business, it's about your business
to more 730 no, not even a rugby fan this crazy anyway. So we're nearing the end that I believe you need to get off to your family and Essex. So Rachel is the train due of catch, and I'm just thinking Rachel really is a brilliant mind. Hopefully, you'll check out all things I see dot com as well as opposed to maximize social business. She's also a contributor to a book that I'll be talking about on maximize social business really soon. But I'm just thinking, How do we get Rachel to get over to the United States on business on? I guess the best way is really to ask Rachel what are what are the clients that you like working with and what do you see? It's sort of the biggest need in the market in terms of social media, internal communications, and I think that'll be a good last question. Asked to sort of wrap up this conversation,
that's a great question. I think there's a lot of need out there for internal communicators to understand what channels exist in what tools exist rather than thinking through organizations, I think what's important is been tone of communicators. Thio equipped themselves and to learn. And I'm doing lots of coaching and training here in the UK, particularly with ribs internal communicators, to really get them aware of what's out there so they can advise their in house teams efficiently and sufficiently on to really demonstrate Roberts, Carson and performers business partners. That way, I'm to be is internal communicating, so I'd love to come to us, love to come and have a chat with smart internal communication and see what you're doing. I understand why I could never do what I can share the practice from super smart People here in the UK did some really good stuff, making a real difference in the organization so I'd love to share, lets communicate by me over and looked in. That's
awesome, right? You know, I have obviously done a lot of traveling And where I think in most aspects, the U. S. Really is at the forefront of social media. Social business networks obviously were grown and, you know, born and raised the U. S. But internal communications and from our conversation today and from, you know, the show being and the networking, I think this is an area where actually the UK is probably ahead of the U. S. And maybe it's happening. The U S not under the name of internal communications may be under the name of corporate communications. NPR,
you have a good semantics may be different,
right? But I think that it would serve a lot of American Help me as well. So if you're in marketing on, I know a lot of you and marketing. Listen, this podcast and you're you're trying to find out or figure out employee advocacy and really unleash the potential power that your employees have in the bigger the company. Bigger potential. Rachel is a really great person to follow on social, to connect with hopefully send some business her ways that we can have the United States. Well, thank you very much, Rachel, for coming up to meet me today. Stupendous up here, Paddington. And you know, we always see the best. Like I need final things to say to everyone. This is broadcast.
Keep on showing good stories. Keep on doing what you're doing and constantly look to learn and grow and make a difference. Your employees
make a difference. That's it for today, everybody. This is Neil Schaefer signing out from Paddington Station in London, England in the United Kingdom. Wherever you are in the world to make it a great day, we'll talk to you later. Bye bye. Thanks for listening. To maximize your social. We appreciate your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on the show or recommend content, please contact Neil Schaffer at Neil at maximize your social dot com. Thanks for listening and have a great day