In 2017, 68% of organisations had an internal social network. Here are our tips for creating your own.
In 2022, 58.4 %of the world's population will regularly use personal social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. This figure shows the profound digitisation of our societies, which also concerns companies.
In order to improve their internal communication, many organizations are adopting a corporate social network (CSN) such as Microsoft Yammer or Workplace by Meta. Already in 2017, 68% of organizations, across all sectors, were using an internal social networking platform.
What is the purpose of this tool? To efficiently disseminate information within the organization, but also to encourage interaction between colleagues, facilitate collaborative work, consolidate the corporate culture and increase employee commitment. A tempting program.
Do you also want to set up a corporate social network? Discover our advice on how to create your internal social networking platform.
1. What is an internal social networking platform?
Before getting to the heart of the matter, let us briefly recall what an internal social network is, what its uses are and who its users are.
Internal social networking platform: definition and uses
An internal social networking platform, or Company Social Network (CSN), is a collaborative communication tool that can only be used by employees of a company. This type of software, often in SaaS, is inspired by public social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest. It is used to facilitate communication within the organization.
An internal social networking platform is not a professional social network like LinkedIn. It is rather a space for exchange and "networking" accessible only to the employees of a company, even if certain tools allow the occasional addition of guests (clients, service providers, consultants, freelancers, etc.).
An internal social network is not an intranet either. A CSN leaves plenty of room for bottom-up and cross-functional communication and co-creation. Users can not only react to publications, like and comment on them, but also distribute content to other members of the community.
In a word, this type of tool blurs hierarchical barriers and allows organizational silos to be overcome. It connects employees to each other, regardless of their location, strengthening cohesion, mutual aid and collective intelligence.
Who are the users of an internal social network?
Internal social networks can be used in any type of structure: companies, administrations (such as the CPAM- Social Security) or even associations.
85% of CAC companies have an internal social network. But Corporate Social Networks are also present in SMEs where they make interactions more fluid, particularly in a context of massive teleworking.
Widely adopted by startups in the Tech sector, Corporate Social Networks are also appealing to companies in more traditional sectors. Companies specializing in retail, such as Leroy Merlin or Leclerc, for example, appreciate them for their ability to reconnect field teams with each other and with the head office.
2. Which internal social networking platform is right for your company?
In just a few years, the range of corporate social networks has expanded greatly. It is difficult to make a choice among the a multitude of options available.
Nevertheless, two main categories of platforms can be distinguished:
"Classic" corporate social networks
Most internal social networks offer basic features such as :
- A personalized user profile allowing everyone in the company to be informed about anyone's functions, skills, contact details or even certain personality traits;
- A company directory or organization chart to quickly identify the roles and functions of everyone in the company;
- Instant messaging, chat, video conferencing and call features for group and private discussions;
- A homepage with a news feed highlighting key information and relevant publications and allowing for comments;
- The use of "tags" to prioritize information and target its distribution;
- A search engine to quickly find or retrieve content, information or skills;
- A tool for conducting surveys, quizzes or questionnaires to gather feedback, stimulate collective intelligence and engage employees;
- Project-based working groups or communities gathered around a theme or interest;
- A document-sharing feature ;
- A professional calendar or shared diary to organize work together;
- A mobile application, especially adapted for use by field teams
"Augmented" corporate social networks
Some corporate social networks are nevertheless distinguished by advanced features of various kinds:
- Internal communication, with the organization of live interactive events and their replay (Yammer and Workplace from Meta);
- Project management, with the possibility of creating Kanban boards or editing shared documents via an office tool (Yammer and Talkspirit);
- Knowledge management, with the creation of a resource library (Yammer via Office 365 and Workplace from Meta);
- Listening to employees, with the possibility of collecting and analyzing data such as the rate of engagement or the reach of publications on the platform (Yammer and Workplace from Meta).
In any case, you should choose a solution that meets the specific needs of your organization, which should be defined in consultation with your employees.
3. Create your internal social networking platform step by step
To set up an internal social network in your company, you need to follow 3 main steps:
1. Start your internal social networking project
The first step is to choose software that is adapted to the context of your company, including the needs and requirements of future stakeholders.
Get in touch with the IT department to define a security policy, the legal department to ensure that you comply with legal obligations regarding the protection of personal data, and the communications department to determine the day-to-day management of the platform.
More generally, survey your employees to find out their expectations and any fears they may have about the future platform (poor digital literacy, proliferation of tools, etc.). Their support will be essential to the success of the social network, so it is imperative to involve them in the project from the start.
2. Launch your internal social networking platform
Once you have determined your needs, put together a team and set the milestones for your project. If necessary, you can be accompanied by an integrator who will guide you through the various phases of your project: scoping, design, development, change management, deployment, training.
When a first version of your platform is deployed, have it tested by a few beta-testers to validate its use.
Next, determine the rules for using your platform. A charter for the use of the social network will make it possible to avoid excesses (inappropriate reactions, excessive connection time, etc.) and to reinforce your corporate culture. An editorial charter may also be required in order to maintain the consistency of the content published on the CSN.
Finally, create an internal communication campaign to publicize the launch of the corporate social network and explain to employees what is expected of them.
In order to facilitate the adoption of the solution by the employees, think about setting up training sessions, online tutorials, face-to-face workshops, a mentoring system, an ambassador program run by your most enthusiastic employees (first-time adopters), or an internal newsletter.
3. Manage your platform on a daily basis
Like any social network, a CSN must be carefully managed to avoid abuses or employee disinterest. To do this, make sure that governance rules are set and that clear roles are assigned to each stakeholder.
In particular, it will be necessary to determine who :
- Moderates comments and validates posts;
- Creates and publishes content;
- Relays employee publications and responds to their comments;
- Manages the security of the platform and access rights;
- Follows the evolution of the platform, according to which KPIs and according to which schedule;
Creating an internal social networking platform: conclusion
Creating an internal social networking platform for your company is first and foremost about choosing software that meets the needs of your employees and your existing work environment.
For example, the Yammer solution can be easily implemented in your Microsoft 365 Digital Workplace and can be enhanced with numerous features to meet all the needs of your organization.
The adoption of the corporate social network by your employees is another major challenge. To get your teams on board, you need to involve them in the project from the start and support them through the change process with appropriate measures (training, mentoring, etc.).
These few precautions will allow you to take advantage of all the benefits of an internal communication platform: strengthening your corporate culture, improving cohesion, developing collective intelligence, better management of projects and increasing employee commitment.
Things to remember
📌 Prepare your internal social network project
📌 Launch your internal social networking platform;
📌 Administer your platform daily with relevant content.