Social media has become an increasingly important way for employees to collaborate with one another. At the same time, individual social profiles now often serve as advertisements for a company to outsiders, showing off what its team members have to offer potential clients. With this in mind, global consulting firm Bluewolf launched a campaign to get its employees more engaged on their social networks. Through a combination of education, gamification, and tangible rewards, it got its workers collaborating with one another while showing those outside the company the kind of creative thinking that was happening inside the company walls.
This effort began last year, as the leadership at Bluewolf, a company which helps other organizations utilize cloud technology and tools to enhance company processes, wanted to see how their own employees could improve their own use of social media.
Most of the consultancy’s approximately 500 employees were using Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce Chatter (Bluewolf’s internal social networking tool), and other social networks for personal and business purposes. But company leaders sensed there was more work that could be done to share ideas and break down silos between departments and offices (in addition to its eight U.S. locations, Bluewolf has offices in London, Sydney, and Melbourne as well).
“In January, we said: we have this goal of building collaboration internally and externally,” says Natasha Oxenburgh, social programs manager at Bluewolf. “Internally we looked at how can we get all of our subject matter experts sharing their knowledge so we can have access to it to solve business challenges faster. From an external marketing perspective, it was how do we unlock this knowledge and thought leadership to get it in front of our clients?”
Oxenburgh and her team began by surveying employees about their level of collaboration internally and externally, asking:
•How active they were on every major social network
•How they felt about building their personal brand via the social web
•What was holding them back
Determining that the employees needed deeper training and more incentives to utilize the social media tools available to them, Bluewolf launched #GoingSocial. The effort broke down into three parts, the first of which was the #GoingSocial portal [http://www.bluewolf.com/GoingSocial], offering tools, tips, and videos that the employees could refer to in order to learn how to “build their personal brand,” whether through creating a Pinterest profile, or building a Twitter following.
From there, employees were invited to build a “Pack Profile” that pulled in information from all their social networks including a Twitter stream and blog posts, and included a brief bio about their work and their interests.
“This is something they manage, and it gives them a platform to build their own brand that works for employee engagement, but also people externally will come here too,” says Oxenburgh. “Consulting firms are not necessarily open or friendly in this way, but we take the opposite approach — we’re not worried about employees being poached [by competitors], but about creating a workplace where people want to be.”
The third component of the #GoingSocial effort was to add gamified incentives to help keep employees engaged with their social profiles and collaborating with each other through these networks. Using the Nitro for Salesforce platform from Bunchball, Bluewolf offered individuals points for a range of social media activities, such as being active on Salesforce Chatter; sharing content through Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn; publishing a blog post; or filling out their Pack Profile.
As they earned points, employees could redeem them for tangible rewards through an online store Oxenburgh and her team created. These ranged from a quirky wolf T-shirt that is a favorite among employees and tickets to major industry events, to lunch with the company CEO.
About 10 months in, the #GoingSocial effort has proven a success for Bluewolf, which saw traffic to its blogs increase threefold. The company’s Klout score, which measures its level of social media influence, shot up from 42 to more than 45 due to the increase in content sharing between employees. There has also been a 68 percent increase in social traffic coming in to the company’s website.
“It used to be a struggle to get a couple blogs out of people,” says Oxenburgh. “But now I’ve had people from across business units reaching out more. We have a happier, more engaged workforce, with better customer value and engagement.”