6 Tips for Success in Your Enterprise Social Network

 Enterprise social networks aren't just another tool. They're intended to be a successful, business-critical tool for your organization.

Enterprise social networks aren't just another tool. They're intended to be a successful, business-critical tool for your organization.

Enterprise social networks offer the promise of bringing your people together to help them connect on a more personal level and build relationships that create better collaboration and business outcomes. But, some employees feel like these new communication platforms aren't for their taste. How do you get them to see the new collaboration tool as an asset, and not just another tool? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Your community members may be suffering from change fatigue. Could your new tool be at the door of their inboxes, arriving as if dressed as Count Dracula – another time-sucking tool for them to use? It’s your job to convince them that it is really more like Glinda from the Wizard of Oz: welcoming, gracious, and ready to help. Much like Dorothy’s journey to Oz and with the Wizard, an enterprise social network (ESN) gives back what you put into it. As the collaboration champion and advocate for your organization, you should be the ever-present, positive face of your community, connecting employees with information, answers, colleagues, and solutions. Give employees the virtual ruby slippers they need to get them to a place of comfort.

  2. Deliver your messages like you would IRL (in real life – see what we did there?). Sometimes corporate jargon seems like a zombie chasing you through a forest, and it can be detrimental to connecting with your employees. An engaging employee community thrives on storytelling, transparency, and sincere commenting and reactions. Promote open communication and be sure to style your “formal” communications in a less jargony, more (alive) human way. The Walking Dead have no place in your network.

  3. Create sticky content in your enterprise social network. You may need to gently, yet firmly, prompt behavioral change. One way to do this is by taking popular content such as a widely-read company email communication and moving it permanently into your community.  

  4. Were your employees expecting a delicious slice of gourmet pizza, but feel like they got an apple instead? Apples are nutritious! It might be that your employees are just not aware of the amazing things a collaboration tool (or apples) can do for them. Be sure to create some fun campaigns for your employees to learn what’s in it for them, so that they can understand the value before jumping in.

  5. Are you sick of the same old conversations? Crowdsource for some new ideas. Include your employees by crowdsourcing their ideas on ways to use and improve your collaboration platform. What better way to show employees their voices are heard than to include them in the process for improving a tool you want them to adopt on a daily basis! Follow up with specific employees about their ideas, be transparent, and work together to implement the best ones. Some ideas may not be what you were looking for, and that’s OK. Openly explain why an idea isn’t feasible, and they will appreciate the honest feedback and the time you took to consider their input.

  6. Just like a garden needs weeding, so does your enterprise social network. Help employees by thoughtfully structuring and planning your enterprise social network design, curating content carefully, and not bombarding the feed with too many push communications. Be sure to show them how to personalize their notifications so they can choose the information being pushed to their attention. 

When it comes to making your enterprise social network, a successful, business-critical tool for your organization, you need to consider how each staff member wants to be treated as a human, employee, and colleague. Provide them with an environment that fosters gratitude, acknowledgement, and connection by giving them a powerful technology solution that supports a better way of working.

What are your tips for a successful enterprise social network? We'd love to hear. Comment below!