An Enterprise Social Network: Good, Bad, or Whatever?

Most marketers don’t think about enterprise social networks. Enterprise isn’t even in the vocabulary of most modern-day marketers, and a social network was a term used when referring to Friendster and Yahoo! 360.

Why this matters:

It matters because enterprise social networks are tools that can be used to facilitate internal collaboration and engagement.

Today, brands spend a lot of time figuring out the next “big thing” to reach consumers. Is it TikTok, Instagram Stories, or the metaverse? Very rarely are they thinking internally about enterprise social media and the benefits of making such investments?

I know, it’s boring. Investing in a platform for enterprise social networking will not make headlines. You won’t win any awards, either. And it’s a lot of work.

But there are many benefits to using enterprise social media for your business, including improved team communication, increased productivity, and enhanced teamwork. This blog post will discuss the top 5 benefits of enterprise social media, but first, let’s define it.

What is Enterprise Social Media?

Enterprise social media uses online platforms and communities to facilitate collaboration and knowledge-sharing within an organization. This can help enterprise brands in various ways, from improving internal communication to driving innovation and boosting employee engagement.

By creating spaces where employees can ask questions, share ideas, and network with each other, enterprise social media can transform how companies do business and drive real results for their bottom line.

This is certainly hard to measure, but one thing is for sure. When teams can work together and communicate using various technologies, they can do amazing work.

Whether it’s through company blogs, discussion forums, project management software, crowdsourced knowledge databases, or other collaboration tools, this emerging technology can transform the way businesses operate at every level. And as more and more companies are starting to recognize its potential, we are likely to see even more significant investment in enterprise social media in the years ahead.

I still can’t believe it’s 2022, and we’re still having this conversation. Of course, most of these enterprise social media communities have been around for 15+ years. But still, many have yet to make that investment or leverage all the features that come with the software.

Examples of Enterprise Social Network Sites

Enterprise social network sites are communities designed for use by businesses and other organizations. They typically provide a platform for all stakeholders to collaborate. This includes employees, contractors, partners, and even customers.

Standard features of enterprise social network sites include messaging, video calls, discussion forums, blogs, and file-sharing. In addition, enterprise social network sites can be used for various purposes, such as meetings, sharing information and best practices, coordinating work tasks, and building relationships with customers and partners. Some popular enterprise social network sites include cloud-based platforms like Workplace from Meta, Google Workplace, Salesforce Chatter, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.

There are hundreds of other internal social media platforms on the market, too, with many of them positioning themselves as project management software, collaboration tools, and instant messaging.

What are the 5 Benefits of Enterprise Social Networks?

While every company is different and on its own social media journey, internally and externally, the following are five benefits you can expect if you adopt enterprise social networking.

1. An Enterprise Social Network Can Employee Productivity

Using social networks in the workplace allows employees to quickly and easily share ideas and information with remote teams. This benefit has shown increased value and has been naturally accelerated due to the pandemic. However, many brands that were early adopters of enterprise social networking tools have enjoyed this benefit for many years and continue to do so.

The top 5 use cases of enterprise social networks

Team members can also collaborate on projects and tasks, leading to higher-quality deliverables, better tracking and project management, and more efficient workstreams.

In addition, enterprise social networking can help to eliminate the need for lengthy internal email chains and meetings. When used properly, these collaboration tools can increase employee productivity across all business units and job functions.

2. Communication and Collaboration Are Key Outcomes of an Internal Social Network

Enterprise social networking platforms can facilitate communication and collaboration between employees.

The adoption and innovation of enterprise social media platforms have improved communication and collaboration. Perhaps most notably, it has given employees a more direct way to connect in real time.

In the past, communication between employees was often hampered by traditional hierarchical structures like emails and voicemails. No one listens to voicemails anymore, emails could get lost in inboxes, and mission-critical messages could be missed altogether.

Employees can quickly connect and share information in real time with enterprise social media, regardless of their location or department. This has led to a more open and effective form of communication within large enterprise brands, which has improved collaboration.

One downfall of real-time collaboration is the notion that everyone is accessible at a moment’s notice, and the expectation to respond has become a challenge for many leaders. This can lead to information overload and decreased productivity. To combat this, many enterprise social networking sites can set ‘Do Not Disturb’ periods or schedule certain times when you will be unavailable. I use this feature all the time.

Another potential issue with real-time collaboration is that it can lead to ‘groupthink,’ where team members are so focused on achieving consensus that they lose sight of their original goals. To avoid this, you must encourage dissenting opinions and critical thinking within your team.

Despite these potential challenges, the benefits of improved communication and collaboration make enterprise social media a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes.

3. Enhanced Organizational Efficiency is Core to Enterprise Social Networking

Another benefit of enterprise social media is that it can enhance organizational efficiency. This is achieved in several ways, including helping employees to collaborate more efficiently and encouraging greater sharing of ideas and data.

By fostering better communication within and across teams, enterprise social media enables organizations to get work done more quickly and with fewer bottlenecks. In addition, it facilitates real-time collaboration, enabling remote teams to work together quickly and seamlessly, minimizing the need for face-to-face meetings or extensive “reply to all” email chains.

As a result, enterprise social media is truly a game-changer for most modern brands. It promotes best practices and innovation within the organization, but it also allows businesses to keep pace with rapidly changing trends in their industries.

However, some would argue that innovation is difficult to do remotely. I tend to agree. It’s different when team members are in a room, brainstorming, whiteboarding, and riffing off each other.

Innovation often happens when people are close to each other and can have those unplanned collisions that lead to new ideas, products, and unexpected meetings. That’s one of the reasons why I think it’s essential for businesses to have a physical space where employees can come together and collaborate.

While enterprise social media has its limits, there’s no doubt that it’s a powerful tool for enhancing organizational efficiency.

4. The Use of Social Media Can Lead to Greater Customer Engagement

Enterprise social media can also provide external benefits, including greater customer engagement. If you can improve communication using social media internally with team members and partners, it’s much easier to do the same externally with customers and influencers.

By using social media to connect with customers, influencers, and the media, brands can position themselves as responsive, agile, open, and transparent. As a result, this approach can build stronger relationships with their customers.

This can also lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat business. Additionally, companies can quickly and efficiently address customer concerns or feedback by engaging with customers on social media, leading to a more innovative social customer service strategy.

Many enterprise social networking tools have built-in CRM tools within the platform, which can help sales teams track and manage customer interactions. This is a valuable feature that can further enhance customer engagement.

5. The Adoption of Enterprise Social Media Can Reduced Costs

Enterprise social media can offer several benefits to businesses, including reduced costs. By using social media tools, companies can communicate with customers and prospects without incurring the high costs of traditional marketing channels.

In addition, social media can quickly and easily connect with employees, partners, and other stakeholders, which can help reduce travel and other associated expenses. Moreover, enterprise social media can help businesses automate processes and tasks, leading to further cost savings.

Another benefit of an enterprise social media strategy is building customer-obsessed marketing programs, especially when all stakeholders are a part of the planning process.

Enterprise Social Networking Can Power Employee Engagement

We’ve already talked about how enterprise social networking can benefit brands. It also has strong cultural advantages as well.

Employee engagement is a critical issue for any organization. Disengaged employees are less productive, less likely to stay with the company, and more likely to engage negatively with customers. Fortunately, enterprise social networking can be a powerful tool for improving engagement and collaboration for all teams.

By providing a platform for employees to connect, share information, and collaborate on projects, enterprise social networking can help create a more positive and engaged workforce. In addition, enterprise social networking can help to break down silos and improve communication between employees.

The Pitfalls of Enterprise Social Media

Yes, these do exist.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, more and more businesses are turning to social networking to connect with customers and promote their products. We already know this. And we still don’t know how the metaverse for business will wreak havoc internally.

One of the biggest pitfalls of enterprise social networking is trust and transparency. When brands invest in a platform to facilitate open communication, they must be prepared to allow employees to express themselves freely, even if it means criticism of the company.

There is also the issue of data security. Because social networking platforms are often used to share sensitive information, employees might accidentally expose confidential data if they’re not careful. To protect the security of your channels, you can do a social media audit and ensure that all the passwords are safe and accounted for.

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Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.