Digital Insights: Should you be using an internal social network at your organisation?

AbbyWright-Parkes

When a social media giant such as Facebook announces a new feature or service, the world tends to sit up and take notice. Therefore, last week’s global rebrand and relaunch of Facebook Workplace (formerly known as Facebook at Work) was big news. I have blogged before about James Murphy from RICS talking at PARN’s social media conference about how they successfully use Yammer. So for this post I am wanted to look at internal social networks and how they could benefit your organisation.

Why use an internal social network?

I think there are some good benefits to using an internal social network (or enterprise social network as it is also known):

  • It helps to streamline your organisations communications. You can keep longer messages for email, and shorter messages can be shared via the social network.
  • It offers a new way for employees to engage. Internal social networks can inject a bit of fun into the workplace and encourage staff to share news that they wouldn’t normally email around.
  • Younger employees, in particular, might prefer to use instant messaging. Ofcom reports that the average adult spends 19% of their time instant messaging, but this figure rises to 35% for 16-24 year olds.
  • Internal social networks are also useful as a way of developing communication across different offices and sites, creating a sense of togetherness and cutting through departmental silos.

I just wanted to look at a couple of options for internal social networks, should you be thinking about using one:

  1. Facebook Workplace

Facebook has been busy ‘road-testing’ Workplace over the past year with as many as 1000 organisations across the world, from multinationals to non-profit organisations. As much as anything, this encapsulates Facebook’s own tagline for its product: ‘For Everyone, Around the World’.

Its familiarity (as workplace-awpso many of us are already Facebook users) is a clear strength. Lots of Facebook features are available in Workplace: newsfeed, messages and events. Importantly I think for users, the system is designed so that personal accounts are separate, and information is not shared between a Workplace and a personal Facebook page. Workplace news feeds do not get clogged up with adverts either. There is a cost per active user, which starts from US$3 per month, per user.

 

  1. Yammer

Yammer is a well-established internal network which is owned by Microsoft. It offers seamless integration to Office 365 as well as apps for iPhone and Android. Content, from photos to PDFs, is easily shared via Yammer feeds (known as ‘yams’). Public and private groups can be set up and the Yammer Team’s emphasis on business teamwork is exemplified by their helpful support guides. It is free as long as you have a valid company email domain.

  1. Slack

Slack is, first and foremost, a messaging app. But it’s a messaging app with fantastic capabilities. Ease of communication between team members is its core purpose. Open channels can be created for all within a team to see, and private channels for smaller groups and a direct messaging function are also available for one-to-one contact. Files can be dragged, dropped and shared and Slack syncs seamlessly with various apps, including Google Drive. It has a cost per user which starts from US$8 a month.

What do you think? Will you be looking at an internal social network for your organisation?

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