Social technology has revolutionized the way in which people interact and the social network phenomenon has invaded our lives in more ways than one. Many people in the corporate sector are beginning to recognize the benefits of sharing information instantaneously and are developing private social networking platforms for their employees to do so.
There are many benefits associated with integrating social media into corporate culture, especially one that is created, maintained and utilized for the company and by the company. Here are a couple of reasons how it could work for you:
Collaboration leads to more innovation
Collaborative knowledge sharing has been shown to help increase teamwork and to help aid employees in developing innovative ideas. When all products, services, and ideas are located in a single space, open to individuals to consider, creative muscles are flexed and the development of innovative ideas increase. An internal social platform is a great place for all of this information to reside. It also allows employees the opportunity to engage with one another about these products, services, and/or ideas, aiding in team building, employee communication, and collaboration. Which brings me to my next point.
Thank you to University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the photo.
Collaborate, Communicate, and Connect
Internal social platforms help employees connect and contribute to help facilitate proper communication and allow for more efficient an effective work. When dealing with a large-scale global company, communication is key to decreasing time, maximizing efficiency, and of course saving money. If a multi-national corporation funds research to better their products and/or services, then communicating that research to other individuals in the company is crucial to prevent redundancy of that research. This also reduces time needed to find information on product/services/ideas within the company itself or having to find an outside expert, when typically most large multinational companies have their own on hand, again, saving time and money.
Thank you Sociable Blog for the image.
Most companies know what it means to brand, but most often the focus is on external branding; getting consumers, outside people or other businesses, trust, dependence, and use of your company. However, internal branding is not typically a focus of large multi-national companies. An internal social platform provides an environment that can encourage discussion of company goals, vision, and purpose and can allow conversation surrounding these topics to slide across silos in the company; i.e. engineers have the capability to discuss a product with the sales team, informing them on specifics of the product and answering any questions they might have about the development of the product.
Important implementation rules for an effective social platform:
- It is important to train individuals on use of the social platform. They must understand what is allowed to be uploaded, how to interact with one another, and to what extent the platform will be used. Time well spent on gathering, sharing, and engaging on topics relevant to the company and to products, services, and ideas the company provides is imperative for the above-mentioned reasons, but laying strict guidelines for usage will help prevent employees using the platform for other reasons. It could be beneficial to have a meeting to discuss usage and to have an individual or hand full of individuals to monitor the site and to make sure that employees are using it correctly.
- Engagement is also very important. Developing the dialogue for the site is just as important as rules, after all, what company wants to develop a site that won’t be used? Making sure that employees are engaging properly with one another is what allows the communication channels to flow openly. When a question is asked, answer it. When a video is posted, comment on it. This type of engagement is crucial to get a social platform self-sustaining; once employees see that the platform is useful for their inquiries and for their idea sharing, they will take it upon themselves to engage, but if there is no example of how to do this properly, it may never get done.
- Incorporating a leadership role for individuals who do engage, and do so properly, may be an avenue your company wants to take. This helps motivate employees to begin engaging, and once they see others doing it, they too will want to take part. Many large social network platforms have implemented these types of ‘rankings;’ allowing those more engaged to receive ‘likes’ or ‘thumbs-up.’ LEED User, a social networking platform used by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professionals, allows individuals to ‘thumbs-up’ other participants who engage with worthwhile commentary and who provide credible answers to questions. This encourages new users to engage and also helps build credibility of the employees/patrons using the internal platform, creating a leadership role within the community.
Of course, these rules of social media etiquette apply to public social media platforms, as well. Good luck and we hope you find that your cyber friends can be just as important as your "real" friends. It has become that way for us.
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