5 Ways Enterprise Social Networking Adds Value to Businesses

13971245834_241cc81807_kBusinesses around the world began to realize the value of social media and promotion in 2011 when it was reported that more than half of all adults in the United States visited social networking sites at least once per month. Though this style of marketing had been around previously, it was not globally recognized as one of the best forms of marketing for businesses. It was a turning point for the industry, and now social media marketing is a staple in most digital marketing strategies.

However, one commercial use of social media is still largely unexplored by American businesses: enterprise social networking (ESN). Many companies are ignorant to the fact that they can use social networking technologies inside of their organizations in order to deepen employee values and expand in-house growth.

The relationships formed through ESN can become a source for value creation within an organization. Social cultures can now be formed and cultivated in the workplace, maximizing the value of businesses everywhere. Here are a few ways this has been taking place.

1. Information Sharing

This style of sharing goes beyond email in order to engage followers on a larger scale. It employs a faster, more intimate dialogue. It encourages information sharing throughout a corporate culture. It’s easy to follow activity streams and notifications through enterprise social networking software, which makes discussions more interesting and personal.

On the surface, it might look like this kind of personal interaction would actually result in reduced productivity, but the opposite is true. Allowing employees to share their thoughts and inspirations on business matters on a more personal level encourages a stronger organizational bond. This is easier to bring into corporate culture if executives drive the change.

2. Knowledge Management

Collective knowledge within an organization is a powerful tool, and ESN helps businesses to harness it. Most people don’t take the time to document their knowledge individually, and they certainly don’t share their thoughts with their bosses. ESN is essentially a platform where knowledge can be shared and recorded. This enables intelligence within an organization to grow, be improved upon, and evolve as a unit, which is highly useful for organizational growth.

3. Enterprise Transparency

ESN creates top to bottom visibility through information sharing and knowledge management. This functions as a two-way glass, in which executives can understand their employees’ knowledge base and goals, and where employees can understand what management expects from them. Achieving business goals becomes more attainable with this kind of processing.

4. Actionable Engagement

Because of the transparency, it’s easier for organizations to take action. They become more accountable and feel more responsible for their work. The result is higher follow-through rates and boosted productivity as employees choose to engage more fully with their tasks and coworkers. As mentioned previously, using an ESN platform doesn’t distract employees, but actually inspires them to act, which results in better outcomes.

5. Empowered Employees

Finally, there’s something powerful that comes with information sharing, knowledge management, transparency, and engagement. Employees begin to feel more confident and empowered as they learn the value of speaking up and working together towards a common goal. Workers begin to recognize their unique skills and how they can use them for team building purposes.

Each one of the benefits of ESN builds off of the other, creating a strong bond that organizations can use to grow and expand. Through enterprise social networking, companies begin to understand their own value and limitless potential. The result? A stronger, more productive establishment.

Larry Alton (@LarryAlton3) is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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