There’s no doubt about it – enterprise social network platforms are taking off – big time!

Although they’ve been around in one form or another for over ten years now, it’s only in the past few years that businesses have started to sit up and take notice. 

A McKinsey report revealed that there is over one trillion dollars worth of value to be unlocked by using social networking technology over the next few decades. The same report suggests that organisations can benefit from social networks in the following ways:

  • 25% less time spent on emails 
  • 35% less time searching for information 
  • 20-25% improvement in knowledge worker productivity

Also, the latest projections suggest that enterprise social network platforms will experience double digit growth up to 2026 and beyond.

If the Covid-19 crisis has taught us anything, it’s highlighted the importance of being able to connect employees and colleagues in a way that doesn’t solely rely on in-person meetings and online conferences. People want to interact on personal and human levels too. 

In this blog post we’ll discuss why now is the perfect time to invest in an enterprise social network platform, and the benefits of doing so.

The value of enterprise social network platforms

OK, so we know that they are becoming more and more popular, and according to the experts they are unlocking immense value for the businesses that embrace them. But where exactly does that value come from and how can it be focused to increase a company’s bottom line?

Communication

Good enterprise social network platforms allow direct communication between all levels and departments of a business. You’re not limited to who you share an office, or even a floor with when you communicate via the network. Increased communication means that critical company messages can be spread quickly, ideas can be shared, and a sense of belonging and community created. 

Collaboration

The social nature of enterprise social network platforms means that they can open the door to improved collaboration. Using the communication channels mentioned above, people can work together to solve problems and overcome challenges across the company, regardless of level, status or position. In fact, when they are done right, enterprise social media networks can help the entire organisation to work as a team, rather than separate and distinct groups.

Innovation

This is the icing on the cake of an effective enterprise social network. In this day and age, most companies need to be agile and innovative to stay afloat and remain competitive. When you combine easier and faster communication, with increased collaboration the result is innovation. You will empower people to think outside of the box, work on ideas together and combine their creative powers to drive innovation.

If you want to find out what works best for you, then here’s our guide to the best community software available to you.

How to build a strong and lively enterprise social network

If you are considering using an enterprise social network platform, or you already have one and want to improve its performance, the following 5 steps will help you on your way.

1. Decide on the purpose of your network

You need to define what success looks like for your social network. Without a clear purpose, the network is likely to either fizzle out as people return to their traditional methods of communication, or will become a place for trivial “water-cooler” chat and little else. 

Some common goals for an enterprise social network are:

  • Increased collaboration 
  • Information sharing
  • Move away from email
  • Transparency
  • Improved employee satisfaction / happiness
  • Improved efficiency and productivity.

2. Set out a strategy

Now you need to decide how you’re going to achieve your goals. This is the time to choose the right enterprise social network platform, appoint community leaders and moderators, and set out usage guidelines. You also need to decide how to increase engagement and the type of content to share.

3. Create your community

Using your chosen enterprise social network platform, you can now establish your community or community groups. As long as you’ve chosen a platform that allows you full control over design and structure, you can include features that will help you achieve your goals.

4. Fill up your community with content

The next step is to add content and resources that are valuable to your community. You should have created a content schedule in the strategy planning phase. Make sure that you encourage participation and interaction with your content. Ask questions, ask for feedback, and make sure the door is open for everyone within the organisation to contribute. Competitions and rewards will also help to increase participation and keep people engaged.

5. Measure the success of your network

Your enterprise social network platform should allow you full access and control of your data. Platforms such as Disciple also provide analysis and insight tools, which help you to evaluate success. Use this data to help you make decisions and take your network in the right direction. 

Final words

In recent years, many big companies have been waking up to the fact that enterprise social networks platforms are going to be a major part of future success, as they encourage innovation and collaboration across boundaries. 

Small to medium-sized enterprises are jumping on board now too, as the technology is becoming much more affordable, and the benefits are many. Now is the time to start building your social network, as it will help to create a lively, innovative and appealing workplace.

If you’re feeling inspired to create a successful enterprise social network, get started with Disciple’s enterprise social network software.