VOICE / SOCIAL MEDIA : Personal space invaders

Social media isn’t necessarily about going to particular place. It’s more about coming together, says Louise Denver, the director of corporate affairs and communications for Deloitte Australia.
Denver is social media expert who will be in Auckland to speak at Social Media Junction, conference in Auckland on November 16 and 17.
She says networking through emails, blogs, wikis, web, video and photo sites is about connecting in “new, more equal and progressive way”.
“To be ‘best able to connect’ means to move away from destination mindset and toward distribution mindset, to be where people are and to participate in way that speaks to them directly.”
To do that, says Denver, it means being in people’s personal environments – Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, or Twitter.
Deloitte Australia embraced social media in number of innovative ways, says Denver.
Towards the end of 2008, the firm’s innovation team discovered Yammer.com. “We signed on to what has since become the best in-house sandpit available to shape, value and develop way of being relevant to the firm as whole.”
Like many ‘new ideas’, social media had its own tipping point, says Denver. It occurred in Deloitte Australia when the Deloitte Digital CEO Peter Williams put out voicemail for staff to sign up to Yammer and come up with videos and tag lines for new advertising campaign, known within Deloitte Australia as the Green Dot campaign.
Williams, says Denver, is maverick accountant with presentation style akin to Gordon Ramsey, and is consistently voted one of the most inspiring partners in the firm.
“Pete’s voicemail and the subsequent input from the CEO and the chief marketing officer triggered more than thousand new members of Deloitte Australia to join Yammer, form 38 groups and create 1184 original concepts, including videos.”
Yammer is now the firm’s micro-blogging tool of choice and is used for knowledge sharing.
“It first started as bit of an in-house social chat room,” says Denver. “But it wasn’t long before the imperatives of doing business seeped into the conversation and the teams started to pose questions and solve problems. It has proved to be great way to seek input, test ideas and gather feedback quickly.”
Yammer quickly gained momentum and today more than 60 percent of Deloitte Australia’s 5000 staff have signed up.
She accepts not every corporate will embrace the technology immediately. “It is challenge for corporate to get comfortable with the potential anarchy of social media. To be able to balance permission to speak out and reach out to each other and to clients in rich online channel, with all the associated risks, isn’t easy.”
To control how the technology is used, Deloitte Australia defaulted to one of its seven key values, ‘empower and trust’, says Denver.
“The counsel given to employees is to understand the difference between the personal and the professional, to be open, honest and respectful, and as professionals, to be responsible for both their own, and the company’s, reputation.”


What employees say

A Deloitte Touche LLP survey in the US last year showed that:
• 74 percent of surveyed employees say it’s easy to damage company’s reputation on social media.
• However, only 22 percent of companies surveyed have formal social media policies.
• 61 percent of employees said that, even if their employers were monitoring their social networking sites, they wouldn’t change what they were doing online.
• 49 percent said company policy wouldn’t change how they behave online.

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