Microblogging: connecting leaders and followers

Microblogging is a combination of blogging and instant messaging that allows users to create a short message that is posted on their profile and can be summed up in one word: Twitter.

The rise of Twitter coincided with the rise of smartphones, tablets and similar devices which allow microblogging to provide a quick way to communicate with a group of people, and these smaller devices and mobile apps allow users to express themselves in real-time and access information quickly on the go.

HR tool

Smartphones and tablets allow users to feel more connected to the world around them, strengthening relationships with contacts and interests. Key benefits from microblogging for HR professionals include networking; access to knowledge; recruiting; gathering feedback; and sharing ideas and information. Immediacy and speed of use make it a powerful way to share news, advice and opinions and build interest.

Traditional ‘gatekeepers’ are removed. Microblogging allows the shop floor direct access to the most senior managers and reduces concerns about executive remoteness from front-line issues. It allows executives to eavesdrop on themes, ideas and opinions and tune in to what others in the organisation are thinking.

Microblogging is thus a powerful internal communications tool, particularly for organisations with a wide geographical spread. One survey of more than 1,500 people found that employees wanted to engage more with senior teams via social media channels: 42% would be happy to talk with their line manager or team leader over Facebook and a fifth would be content tweeting the head of department or chief executive. Nearly 40% of managers were happy to reciprocate.

Two-way communication

Internal social networks (e.g. Yammer, Socialcast) are supplementing staff intranets and print communications as a way to engage employees. The major benefit of these new internal social networks is replacing traditional top-down communication with two-way conversations throughout the organisation.

Twitter has already changed behaviour at conferences and presentations as delegates often tweet key points and reactions in real time via mobile devices to a much larger audience. Other platforms that are used by UK businesses to share their achievements and even start building a talent pipeline include:

Instagram, one of the most popular social networks for photo sharing on the mobile web. Social Media Examiner identified 26 different business-benefit areas including brand awareness, attracting interest in the organisation and highlighting employee achievement

• microblogging site Tumblr is heavily influenced by image sharing. Users can follow others and be followed in return. ‘Reblogging’ and ‘liking’ is a popular way to interact and interesting content can attract a surprising number of new followers. Employers can also ‘follow’ and interact with potential candidates. With a predominantly younger audience, organisations can enhance their employer brand

Pinterest, the fastest standalone site to reach 10 million monthly unique visits, and its intuitive pinboard-style platform can be a valuable tool in spreading brand awareness and attracting new traffic for an organisation’s recruitment website presence

Reddit has a strong and close-knit community. Submitted links to content get voted up or down by users and links that receive the most ‘up’ votes are pushed to the first page where the potential for viewership is huge. As far as business users are concerned its strength is mainly in gaining feedback and gauging opinions. There is also a ‘subreddit’ for human resources: www.reddit.com/r/human_resources