A more fun way to communicate an internal strategy

At the National Housing Federation, we’ve recently updated our social media strategy. As the digital world is ever changing, our strategy needs to evolve too. It clearly sets out how we use social media as an organisation and how it contributes to our business plan and brand. It identifies our audiences, evaluation methods and includes a content strategy.

It’s a simple step but for me it’s really exciting because it means we can confidently roll out plans, training and workshops to ensure digital and social is at the heart of what we do. The next challenge was going to be how to communicate the strategy internally in a way that engages colleagues from all departments. I didn’t want it to be just another email attachment they’d skim-read if we were lucky.

I discussed this with our (brilliant) internal comms expert Kerry Hill and we decided to launch the strategy as a digital toolkit navigable via our intranet. This will be a hub where staff can find our guidelines for social media, guidelines, branding and graphics and tips for more effective use of Twitter.

Sometimes you need to do something more to focus people’s attention and stimulate a certain conversation so we decided to stage an internal Social Media Week.


One of the challenges when trying to get people to take social media seriously is the assumption that it’s just a lot of people sharing what they’re eating. We decided to address this head on by kicking off the week with an offer of fruit and croissants on the Monday morning with the message that social media’s not just about what you had for breakfast!

This stimulated lots of conversations and created opportunities for our more confident users to tell others about how they use social media in their roles. There’s no one better equipped to dispel myths than a close colleague because they naturally explain things in terms we can relate to and this worked really well.

Every day, we drew on different sections of the toolkit, explaining it a bit at a time in easily consumable articles on the intranet. I think this was a more effective way to communicate it than circulating a Word doc.

On the Tuesday, Richard Darlington from IPPR (who will be no stranger to Wonk Commers) delivered a superb presentation on the psychology of social media which explored the behaviours that drive sharing of content online and how we can harness that to maximise impact. It always helps to get someone external in to discuss how they’ve made it work outside your organisation.

I had time blocked out in my diary every day to talk to staff about social media which was really useful because several staff wanted help them get to grips with Twitter or LinkedIn.

We also launched a new internal blog during Social Media Week for staff to discuss their work with the rest of the organisation. This will devolve a bit of editorial control of our intranet content and encourage a more collaborative approach to internal comms.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to be adding to the toolkit and running workshops on written content for the Web, graphics and video, and Twitter for different teams – and I can’t wait!

Digital Officer at the National Housing Federation

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