Music streaming giant Spotify can teach us a thing or two about our internal communications strategy. 

When it comes to Spotify, I gotta admit I’m a big fan.

I’m not the only one. Due to its powerful music app, and thanks to its use of data, great visual storytelling and personalized playlists, Spotify has become the number one music streaming app in the world. 

Today it has with over 90 million premium users in 61 different countries.

When a company becomes so successful, there are lessons to be learned from all angles. As I study ways to make internal comms pros better, I’ve found some great lessons from Spotify that communicators can apply to their internal communications strategy today.

Use Email To Supercharge Your Internal Comms Strategy

 

Here are 3 great internal comms lessons I learned from Spotify that should help internal communications strategy and internal comms teams up their game.

1) Make Your Internal Communications Strategy About Your Audience

internal communications strategy

Something that you will never see Spotify do is advertise their product by talking about its product. Instead their billboards and other marketing materials will focus on you the audience, highlighting your quirky behaviour on the app with humour.

As you can see from this billboard, the focus isn’t on the product, it’s on the relationship between artists and listeners, with Spotify playlists just working as a middleman.

From their playlists to their billboards, it’s evident that Spotify knows that their audience doesn’t care about complicated algorithms, they care about how other people like them use the product.

Really Get to Know Your Employees With Email Tracking

 

Almost all of their most popular playlists—Discover Weekly, Your Top Songs of 2017, Ones That Got Awayare based on the user’s own behaviour. 

Spotify updates Discover Weekly on Monday mornings, a time when people are likely less inspired or motivated to select their own music.

Similarly, internal communicators need to identify the most appropriate contexts and timing for their communications to get personal and intimate with their employees.

“You also need to create a relationship with your audience to become a part of their lives,” Alex Underwood, VP and head of global strategic partnerships & verticals at Spotify, tells Warc.

Internal communications strategy

Internal Communications Strategy Lessons:

  • Get to know your audience and feed that information back to them!
  • Everyone loves inside jokes so be tastefully funny and use references to company-wide experiences.
  • When it comes to employee newsletters, the more you feature your own employees, the more engaging it will be.
  • Instead of writing from your official corporate point of view, use language that is human and conversational.
  • When it comes to visuals, instead of using stock photography, try to use pictures from actual people in your office.

2) Personalize and Curate Your Content using User Data

internal communications strategy

That tweet makes me laugh every time. Although undoubtedly Apple Music also uses user data to suggest and curate music, Spotify is years ahead.

Spotify is the king of using data to personalize the user experience and provide content that is always 100% relevant.

Although based on a an algorithm that processes mountains of data, playlists based on my taste feel warm and caring.

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“There’s no doubt Spotify is a data-driven company and it uses the data in every part of the organization to drive decisions. It’s using that information to train the algorithms and machines to listen to music and extrapolate insights that impact its business and the experience of listeners,” explains best-selling author & keynote speaker Bernard Marr for Forbes.

Besides being a data-driven organization that analyzes every bit of user behavior, Spotify is also great at seeking direct user feedback from their music selection.

For every playlist and song Spotify suggests, users have the ability to either give a thumbs up or down. This direct feedback is the best tool for Spotify to understand their audience since users are quite literally telling them what they like and dislike.

Internal Communications Strategy Lessons:

  • Communications measurement means looking beyond open rates and collecting all the relevant data. Analyze how your employees interact with different content and you’ll be able to curate relevant content overtime.
  • Adding social reactions to your communications, you’ll be able to proactively learn what your employees crave.
  • A predictable cadence is important. Knowing that every Monday I’ll get a new playlist made just for me makes me want to use Spotify. Similarly, a predictable cadence for your internal newsletter will make people tune in more often.
  • Segmentation is part of any effective internal communications strategy. Produce content that’s 100% relevant to your employees and generate higher engagement rates.

Using tech like ContactMonkey’s Internal Comms Tool you’re also able to send responsive HTML email to your segmented distribution lists. 

3) Use Great Visuals to Tell a Story
 internal communications strategy tips

As you could tell from this post alone, I’m a big fan of the way Spotify uses visuals to tell a story. Their consistent graphic design although awe-inspiring still makes the subject or the message, whether it’s the artist or my profile picture, the center of the story.

Using bold video, images, and infographics in your internal communications strategy can work wonders to captivate your increasingly distracted audience.

According to some studies, people remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and, impressively, 80% of what they see. So get visual!

Internal Communications Strategy Lessons:

  • Use visuals to tell a story in your employee communications. Embrace the power of responsive HTML newsletters to ensure that your beautiful designs render properly.
  • Feature your employees in your visuals as well! At an individual level, you can create an employee profile section where, every week, you introduce someone in the organization. 
  • Don’t separate your written content from your visual content. Any hot tip or funny joke can be enhanced by using cool graphic design.

Embracing a Fun Internal Communications Strategy

As we’ve said in the past, achieving your objectives isn’t really hard if you pay attention to companies both in and outside your industry that are doing things right.

For me, Spotify is a role model when it comes to data, personalization, and always putting the audience at the center of the stories we tell.

Remember that no matter how good you are, no one really cares about your communications, they only care about how it affects them and how it features them so make your employee newsletters all about them!

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