We talk a lot about how to engage external audiences using social media. But there's one audience organizations tend to overlook, even though it's one of the most important audiences of all: the one you see each day at work. You know — the boss, the folks around the water cooler, the people warming up their stinky lunches in the kitchen. Your internal audience.
What are you doing to engage them?
The bigger the organization, the more difficult it is to communicate in a uniform manner that breaks down silos instead of reinforcing them. If silos are an issue for your organization, an internal social network might help you make a huge step toward solving this problem.
So what are some of the potential benefits of setting up an internal social network?
1) Your employees can get to know one another despite their locations.
2) Your employees can list their knowledge and expertise, as well as the projects they're working on, so your departments can avoid wasting time and money on duplicated projects or outside vendors.
3) Letting your employees use the network for fun as well as work creates camaraderie and helps flatten your organization by humanizing everyone, including your upper level executives.
4) Get lots of valuable feedback and insights that will help move your company forward.
So how do you get started?
Take a look at this great list
of the many different types of internal social networks organizations are using. Options abound here, but it's important to get a well-rounded idea of what's out there based on your company's size and budget.
Of course, one of the most important things to remember is this: Internal social networks are merely tools. The real success is found in organizations dedicated to devoting resources toward making these tools work. Just like your company Facebook page or Twitter stream, internal social networks WON'T work if they aren't regularly tended with high-quality content and insightful questions that invite engagement.