Everyone likes to belong to a community, right?
Business people are no different, which explains the rise in popularity of enterprise social media networks.
Ten years ago, only a handful of (mostly big and wealthy) companies offered their employees membership to a private social network. Now, thousands of companies offer the opportunity, both large and small enterprises alike.
Why the sudden rise in popularity?
The impact of enterprise social media networks
Internal enterprise social media networks are platforms that are often added on to company intranets or as standalone community websites, to encourage communication and collaboration between employees within a company or group of companies.
There are several benefits for both employers and employees, here are just a few of the main ones:
Studies have shown that enterprise social networks increase collaboration between employees and departments, resulting in a 15% increase in productivity.
Forging stronger bonds through social networking, means that people are more likely to help each other overcome difficulties and challenges. A community effort is always going to be more successful than individual effort.
For instance, if your company hits a sales slump due to an economic downturn, you can use the social network forum to collaborate and discuss ideas on how to cut costs, streamline operations, or create new opportunities for revenue.
Honest and open workplace
Social networking encourages people to share their difficulties and to be honest about how they feel. Looking after employee welfare is a win-win situation, as you get a happier workforce, with increased loyalty and staff retention. Research shows that happier employees are more likely to feel motivated, are 31% more productive, and remain loyal to their company.
A popular benefit of enterprise social networks is that they allow people to put faces to names and gain a connection with people at different levels within the company. Live-streams with CEO’s or other managers is a good way to bridge the gap org charts and develop open communication between different parts of the business or organisation.
Emails have become the bane of most people’s lives. It’s not much fun having to clear out an overflowing inbox every day, especially when 90% of the messages are irrelevant to you. Social networks can help to eliminate this annoyance. Some companies aim for a zero-email approach, encouraging people to use the social networking tool, as messages can be more easily targeted to the right people, and it’s easier for people to scan through posts and messages, rather than sift through a traditional inbox.
As well as the practical advantages, social network forums and feeds give employees an informal place to connect with each other on a human level. This can be a major advantage for big companies with operations around the world, as it gives people the opportunity to share photos and videos of different cultural and work practices. It also allows people to communicate and communicate across geographical barriers.
How to build an effective enterprise social media network
There are plenty of different options for building an enterprise social network. You can build your own from scratch by hiring a team of developers, but this is costly. Alternatively you can use branded community website builders or enterprise social media network platforms that help you to build successful networks, quickly and affordably.
Things to consider when choosing an enterprise social network platform are:
- What features does it offer to increase communication and interaction?
- How does the platform encourage collaboration?
- How does it align with your business goals?
- Will it provide a productivity boost, and if so, how?
- What’s in it for you and your employees?
- Does the idea of using this enterprise social network platform excite you?
- Is there a mobile app version?
- Is there a free trial period or guarantee?
Once you’ve considered all of these questions, you’ll be in a great position to start building your own enterprise social media network.
Get started with Disciple’s enterprise social network software.
Maximise the ROI of your enterprise social media network
Once you’re up and running with your social network, you may be looking for ways to increase its impact.
There are several things you can do to get people more engaged with it and reaping the benefits.
The main benefit of an enterprise social network platform is the communication and interaction you get between people. This is especially useful when it happens between departments and between status levels in the company. Collaboration that happens without boundaries can create a huge positive impact on productivity and success.
For instance, a company that relies on creative input, such as a graphic design company, will benefit from increased collaboration by a boost in creativity. People from different departments can put their creative energy together to overcome challenges, work on difficult projects, or to streamline workflows.
Increase employee ownership
With a thriving enterprise social network comes the opportunity to create different levels of leadership within the community, which gives people a sense of ownership. By appointing moderators, group leaders, thought leaders, content producers, etc. within the community, everyone is given the chance to “direct the ship”. A sense of ownership and control helps to grow employee satisfaction and loyalty.
Post relevant and useful content
Posting regular content that is valuable to the members of the community will help to maintain engagement. If the content is focused on helping employees to solve problems, educate them, or enlighten them in some way, then people will keep coming back for more. Also, if you can encourage them to engage with the content by asking questions, using polls, running competitions, etc. the power and impact of the social network will expand exponentially.
Help people to grow and develop
Finally, make sure you don’t waste the potential of your enterprise social media network to promote growth and development. It’s also a great place to post professional development resources, tutorials and courses that will help your company to become an ever-growing workplace.
If you need some inspiration on how to engage your community, we wrote this handy piece on 7 strategies that you can use.
To sum things up – if you’re not offering an enterprise social media network for your employees at the moment, you’re missing out. They are proven to boost communication, collaboration and productivity, when implemented well.
If you follow the advice in this guide, you’ll have built a resource for your company that will help you to overcome the inevitable challenges that businesses face, including staff retention, maintaining productivity and growth, and encouraging innovation.
Disciple offers an enterprise social network platform that is flexible, versatile and focused on the needs of ambitious businesses. To discover how Disciple can help you to increase employee collaboration and business growth, or to request a demo, click here.