|Rick Meuser Director IT, Silgan Plastics, "Use word of mouth".|
We snuck social networking into our enterprise, rolling out Microsoft Office Communicator to all 1,100 employees without fanfare to see who would pick it up. It certainly helped that the product fully integrated with our e-mail, but it only took a few months for almost half of our business users to embrace the technology for keeping in touch with their teams. Since they discovered the benefits on their own, people were enthusiastic about sharing their success, and those who weren’t using it yet saw the advantages indaily use all around them.
Our IT group stepped forward then with official internal marketing and communication to leverage that momentum. We also took advantage of those who were driving that adoption to test the MS SharePoint MySites that will replace our intranet and make it easier to find experts. Since these are the people who are familiar with public social networking sites, it was simple for them to set up their skill and responsibility profiles, and we’re sure they will broadcast the benefits.
Sony employees are embracing social networking technologies across every working style and generation, but as a consumer products company, we knew it was important to bring these solutions to our customers as well. Our forays into the public Web 2.0 world, however, came with critical lessons.
We initially conceived our public blog to be a two-way means of communication, but we were quickly overwhelmed by comments voicing opinions and seeking answers about our products. We have fundamentally changed how we approach that space: The blog is now complimented with a community for users to interact with us or with each other. Interest in this from our business groups then drove us to choose a platform to create segment-specific communities.