The Internal Communications sector has made quite a lot of noise about continuing professional development, or CPD. The argument goes that Internal Communications specialists must take responsibility for their own development, and seek opportunities to learn and to grow.
While no one is going to hand you a big folder every year and say “read this or you can’t work in the industry anymore”, continuous learning is definitely A Good Idea (capitalize, underline, italicize for added emphasis). But you don’t have to spend a mint on a diploma or head out to every Internal Communications event under the sun – you can keep up with Internal Communications ideas and best practices by checking in with Twitter regularly.
The Internal Communications community is very active on social media, with Twitter and LinkedIn the platforms of choice. Anyone who’s ever used Twitter, though, will know it can be a total minefield – all those opinions and links and photos and videos constantly streaming through your feed are impossible to keep up with unless you have a system, or some help. (Don’t get us started on Twitter’s feed now defaulting to “top tweets” rather than a chronological feed because, honestly, you don’t have enough time to hear our thoughts on that.)
So, here’s the solution: get out your favourite social listening platform - Twitter’s own (free) Tweet Deck is nice - or build some Twitter lists, and make a regular appointment with yourself to scroll through and get involved in the discussions. It’s not just a way to keep yourself informed of Internal Communications best practices, but also a way to make your own name in the profession and become known as an Internal Communications specialist.
To start with, follow these hashtags to keep up with Internal Communications ideas.
The all-encompassing industry hashtag
Let’s start with the absolute basics: #InternalComms, and to a lesser extent #IC, is the go-to hashtag for the Internal Communications sector. Any social media platform will no doubt have people using #internalcomms to tag their posts, and it’s a great starting point for any new follower of the profession. The volume, though, will be huge, so you might want to set aside a bit longer to keep up with these discussions, or to make your check-ins a daily occurrence. See also: #employeeengagement and #employeeexperience.
The community hashtag
Internal Communications specialists are such a warm and friendly bunch in real life, and that spills over into digital discussions. You’ll find plenty of communities on social media that will welcome you with open arms, like these ones.
#CommsChat is Europe’s most popular comms conversation.
#ICBookClub, created and managed by CIPR Inside, will bring you great book recommendations – and you can build your network by discussing those books at dedicated times on Twitter.
#ICnewbies is a fantastic community for those new to the Internal Communications profession, largely fed by the very helpful Dan Holden and his Horizon Comms community.
#CommsHero is another huge Twitter community made up of all sorts of communicators, not just IC-ers; it’s a celebration of the people who work in the profession, so another one for building your network.
#theICcitizen is a movement founded by Martin Flegg, with its own manifesto and everything; he aims to encourage all Internal Communications specialists to invest in themselves and others through continuous learning.
The Internal Communications technology hashtag
It’s not *that* surprising that a technology platform would be a good place to get information on technology, but here we go: if you want to know how others are using technology in the workplace, try searching for that platform’s name in Twitter. For example, a search for #intranet will show how others are encouraging intranet adoption. Likewise, #DigitalWorkplace and #DigitalEmployeeExperience bring a wealth of Internal Communications ideas on how employees can harness technology for greater productivity and collaboration.
Mental health and wellbeing hashtags
As employee engagement gave way to a greater employee experience at work, it was inevitable that mental health and wellbeing would enter the conversation. You’ll find companies, agencies and campaigns that have their own hashtags, but here are a few to start with.
#WeMatterAtWork - the IoIC’s campaign of the same name, with its slogan of “share what makes you feel”, seeks to highlight how Internal Communications have the power to transform organisational performance and working lives by helping people feel connected, engaged and purposeful.
#TheJoyOfWork features conversations around Bruce Daisley’s book of the same name, with people talking about how to fix work culture and fall in love with your job again.
#MentalHealthAtWork is the no-frills industry-wide conversation about improving and encouraging discussions of mental health in the workplace.
Check for event hashtags
Those Internal Communications specialists love a good conference – no, seriously, it seems like every other day there’s a live discussion going on for something related to the profession. That’s why Twitter can be such an important tool for the Internal Communicator. So much going on, so much to learn.
If you follow agency accounts you’ll see they develop their own hashtags for events - tags like #abthinks and #SequelPresents can bring some top notch Internal Communications ideas to the table.
The big industry-wide conferences are absolute goldmines, too – recently we’ve had #IOIClive19 from the Institute of Internal Communications 2-day conference, #smileexpo19 focussing on the digital workplace and how technology can help bolster your strategy, and #iabc19 from the International Association of Business Communicators.
The CIPR Inside Committee has plenty going on, too: #InsideEvent denotes a CIPR Inside event, and they’re currently running the #InsideStoryAwards, so that’s a fresh hashtag to follow.
Awards can be good tags to follow, too, though you’ll need to wade through all the happy snaps of glammed-up comms managers in fancy ballrooms to find out who’s won for Internal Communications best practices. Recently we’ve had the #ICEawards from Communicate Magazine’s Internal Communications & Engagement Awards, but there’s always an awards do going on somewhere, so try searching for “#internalcomms + awards” if you’re keen to see the dinner options.
If you haven’t already, read over our Internal Communications 101 guide, which looks at the ins and outs of the sector, and download Mike Klein’s reports on the Present and Future of Internal Communications. When you’re up to speed, let us know what you think the next phase of Internal Communications looks like - use hashtag #IC2point0 (that’s a zero on the end) and let’s work together to make the profession more strategic, more tech-savvy, and more focussed on business outcomes than random tactics.