Social media isn’t a trend for the young anymore, it’s an important part of everyday life for the majority of people. In total, more than 3 billion people across the globe use social media. Nearly 90 percent of people aged 18-29 in the United States are on Facebook alone.
Using social media to share thoughts and information has already become ingrained in our society. Companies around the world have embraced this fact for years, with some taking it a step farther and developing internal social networks so that employees can effectively share information and communicate with each other. Social media won’t just change the way we live, it will change the way that we work and communicate within the workplace, and internal social platforms are a prime example of this.
In 2015, Facebook announced a new product, Workplace by Facebook, a paid social network for businesses. It has the benefit of the familiarity of Facebook, without connecting to the outside world. Since its release, it has continued to promote the service that is now used by more than 30,000 business. It’s just one of a number of different internal social platforms that are built for business use but is an indication of the importance that Facebook has placed on this issue.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits (and drawbacks) of internal social platforms for business:
Internal Social Platforms Both Old-School and New-Age
The rise of social media made some companies nervous in the beginning. In fact, it still does today. Social media gave your average person a platform to speak to thousands of people, and companies worried that these platforms could be used to speak, unrestricted, about the company. Although those policies are less common now, many companies still prohibit their employees from discussing work-related matters in a public forum. But it’s difficult to police those policies, where work friends intermingle on public networks.
For companies that want to harness the benefits of social media without exposing themselves to undue risk, internal social platforms are an excellent combination of old-school and new-age. Facebook’s platform is one-part social network, one-part slack alternative, making it a good choice as a communication tool and broader social network.
Improve Connections and Communication
Having an internal business social network can be a great way to improve communication and help employees to develop connections. This is especially true for younger employees who are used to developing new relationships through social networking sites.
The ability to have public conversations and publicly share important work documents without the fluff and noise of typical social media or email is a big benefit. It makes it easy for employees to share interesting work info with one another, and disseminate it throughout the company with much less effort.
Most business social platforms will allow you to create sub-groups or chats so your teams can have a place to share information and files with each other as well. It gives companies a simple solution for creating channels for communication at each department.
Circulate Important Documents and Data in Internal Social Platforms
When documents are shared within companies, email is typically the preferred platform. That fact probably isn’t changing anytime soon. However, there are always people that you’d wish could access files on a just-in-case basis, that don’t actually warrant an inclusion on the email. Social networks make it very easy to share and discuss files, which gives them a benefit over platforms like DropBox, which don’t provide features for discussion.
An internal social network can help companies make files available to a wide range of people, outside of the main stakeholder group. As new stakeholders are brought onto a project, they don’t need as much effort to be brought up to speed when they have access to all of the files and communication within that group.
Internal Networks Keep Important Communication from Getting Lost in the Shuffle
Have you ever remembered a conversation that you had with a colleague through email, and then had the unfortunate task of sifting through hundreds of emails with them to figure out what was said and when? An internal social network for businesses makes it easy to go back and check previous communications inside of groups and over the messaging systems on the platform. Often, the platforms will have advanced searching features and content-saving options that ensure that your teams won’t have to waste as much time sifting through old communications.
Internal Platforms Help Companies Control Public Social Presence
When employees within a company interact on platforms outside of the company’s control, the company itself has no way to control or review the information once it is deleted. It’s not like Twitter is sharing their records with individual businesses when there is a dispute on their platform.
By requiring that your employees use an intranet-based social network, the company itself can track all actions and communications to ensure that employees are staying in-line with their policies. Additionally, they can grant or remove certain privileges from employees as they see fit.
Communication Drives Organizations
Ultimately, organizations are only as good as the people within them. Having a workforce full of people that communicate well, disseminate information appropriately, and work well together is the biggest battle for managers around the world.
An internet social media network is much more than a cool tool for your employees, it’s a complete communication platform that allows them to get to know and interact with people within the company that they otherwise never would.
In order to facilitate healthy communication, you have to give your teams the right tools to communicate. Too often businesses hope that their teams will get to know each other and develop those connections, only to find that their company culture isn’t facilitating much of anything. An internal social network could be the solution to this problem, empowering employees to share and communicate across teams and channels.