Social Media & Influencer Marketing

How Do Companies Benefit From Internal Social Platforms?

There’s a growing movement to bring the advantages of social networks to corporations. I recently researched this topic during a social networking session with the IABC, and the findings are worth exploring further.

Business Cases for Internal Social Platforms

  1. Monitor and Drive Corporate Strategies: Internal social networks help ensure that employees, teams, and projects align with the corporate vision.
  2. Flatten Company Hierarchy: They provide a direct communication path from the CEO to the lowest-level employee and vice versa, improving transparency, trust, and empowerment.
  3. Promote Internal Networking: Employees can connect with colleagues who share common interests within and outside the company, increasing satisfaction and retention.
  4. Ideation and Idea Generation: Some companies use tools similar to Digg to promote ideas and offer rewards for innovative contributions.
  5. News and Information Sharing: Employees can easily access company news, employee news, and press releases.
  6. Resources: Internal social networks can provide access to libraries, tutorials, marketing materials, product documentation, and more.
  7. Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration: They offer wikis and shared apps to accelerate project requirements and documentation.
  8. Project-based Workforce: Employees can organize outside of physical locations, skill levels, or departments, facilitating the quick formation of virtual teams.

Company Social Network Examples

Now, let’s look at some companies that have deployed internal social networks:

  • Google Moma: Google’s Moma is more than just a search engine. It allows for the indexing and identification of human resources and digital assets. Additionally, Google has a web-based code review system called Mondrian.
  • Yahoo! Backyard: Yahoo! Backyard prominently displays its mission statement and organizes material supporting that statement for employees to access. This approach reflects Yahoo’s efforts to align its strategy with its internal resources.
  • IBM Beehive: In a large organization like IBM, the Beehive is a valuable resource for employees to locate and connect. Given IBM’s vast workforce, such a tool is crucial for internal networking.
  • Microsoft Web: Microsoft’s internal site focuses on providing resources to its employees regarding its products and services. They have also recently launched Townsquare, a social application for networking and collaboration.

You don’t need to be a large company to incorporate collaboration tools into your work processes. Regardless of size, many businesses can benefit from tools like Google Workspace, Microsoft SharePoint, or other SaaS platforms to build their internal social networks, enhancing employee communication and collaboration. These platforms offer customizable solutions for creating a social environment within the organization.

Corporate Social Networking Tools

Here’s a list of platforms that companies can use for internal social networking and communication:

  • Chanty: Chanty is a team chat and collaboration platform with features like file sharing, task management, and audio calls. It’s suitable for small to medium-sized teams.
  • Cisco Webex Teams: Cisco Webex Teams is a secure messaging and collaboration platform that offers chat, file sharing, video conferencing, and whiteboarding. It’s suitable for companies looking for a secure communication solution.
  • Flock: Flock is a team messaging and collaboration platform that offers features like chat, file sharing, and integrations. It’s designed to improve team communication and productivity.
  • Mattermost: Mattermost is an open-source, self-hosted messaging platform that offers secure and private communication for teams. It’s a good choice for companies that want complete control over their messaging infrastructure.
  • Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is part of the Microsoft 365 suite and provides a comprehensive platform for chat, video conferencing, file sharing, and collaboration. It integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft apps and services.
  • Rocket.Chat: Rocket.Chat is another open-source team chat platform that allows organizations to set up their own private messaging and collaboration environment. It offers features like video conferencing, file sharing, and integrations.
  • Ryver: Ryver is a team communication platform that combines chat, task management, and file sharing. It’s designed to streamline collaboration within organizations.
  • Slack: Slack is a widely used team collaboration platform that offers chat, file sharing, and integration with various third-party apps. It allows teams to create channels for specific projects, departments, or topics, making it easy to organize and communicate within the company.
  • Wire: Wire is a secure messaging and collaboration platform that offers end-to-end encryption. It’s designed for businesses that prioritize data security in their internal communications.
  • Workplace by Facebook: Workplace is a business-oriented platform by Facebook designed for internal communication and collaboration. It incorporates familiar social media features while maintaining privacy and security for corporate use.
  • Microsoft Viva Engage (formerly Yammer): A corporate social networking platform. It allows employees to connect, share updates, and collaborate.
  • Zoho Cliq: Zoho Cliq is part of the Zoho suite of business tools and provides real-time chat, file sharing, and integrations. It suits small to medium-sized businesses looking for a secure communication solution.

Selecting the right internal social software for your organization involves careful consideration of several critical factors. First and foremost, security features should be at the forefront of your decision-making process. Look for platforms that offer robust data encryption, access control, user authentication, and comprehensive audit logs to safeguard sensitive information.

Intranet vs. Extranet Hosted

Some companies opt for Intranet-hosted solutions rather than having access to externally hosted platforms. Intranets are typically considered more secure than extranets when properly configured and secured. Here’s why:

  1. Limited Access: Intranets are designed to be accessible only to employees within the company’s network. Access control measures, such as user authentication and role-based permissions, ensure only authorized personnel can access the intranet.
  2. Internal Focus: Intranets primarily focus on serving internal needs. They are not meant to be accessible from external networks, which reduces the potential attack surface.
  3. Security Policies: Companies can implement strict security policies and practices for their intranet environments, including regular updates and patches, intrusion detection systems, and encryption protocols.
  4. Firewall Protection: Intranets are typically behind a company’s firewall, providing additional protection against external threats.
  5. Content Filtering: Companies can implement content filtering and monitoring on their intranets to prevent unauthorized or malicious content from being accessed.

On the other hand, extranets are designed to provide limited access to external partners, vendors, or customers. While they can also be secure when adequately configured, they inherently involve external access, which can introduce additional security considerations and risks.

Privacy is another essential aspect to address. Clarify data ownership and ensure that users have control over their privacy settings. Compliance with relevant data protection regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA, should also be a priority if applicable to your organization.

Integration capabilities, including Single Sign-On (SSO) for seamless user authentication, are vital in simplifying access control and user management. Additionally, consider the platform’s compliance with security standards and certifications, demonstrating its commitment to safeguarding your data.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) support is crucial for securing data on mobile devices, and a robust data backup and recovery system should be in place to prevent data loss. User training and awareness programs are essential to educate users about security best practices.

Lastly, scalability, cost considerations, user experience, integration with other tools, vendor support and reputation, and accessibility standards should all factor into your decision-making process. By carefully evaluating these considerations, you can make an informed choice that ensures both the security and productivity of your organization’s internal communication and collaboration.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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