With the explosion of social media there is now far more capability in business to interact and engage with employees than ever before. Social media opens up real opportunity; but it needs to be part of an integrated channel strategy that gives businesses the capability to reach beyond digital.
In a multi site organisation where the dominant workforce is office based social media can be the foundation of your channel strategy. It opens up opportunities to interact and build relationships in a digital environment.
Is this the death of the Intranet?
I don’t believe social media should mean the death of the Intranet – I think it could be a re-birth. An Intranet is still an incredibly valuable tool in an organisation; the common issue many businesses face is when the Intranet falls between a communications channel and an information portal or document repository.
In my view the Intranet should act as the central gateway of organisational information and communication. The best, most effective Intranets are those that provide a two tiered solution: a dynamic front end which acts as the ‘shop window’ to departments – and provides a range of channels. And a ‘team site’ back end where departments can store and view information relevant to a team audience.
Social media solutions can be built into your Intranet. Blogging tools are an out of the box feature for SharePoint. The trick is with any Intranet solutions is to build in a range of dynamic channels that give you capability to develop an internal ‘social media’ solution.
Building in webcasts and films to an Intranet solution gives you a digital environment to deliver face2face communications. By encouraging employees to build profile pages and ‘connect’ with colleagues you can build online communities. Blogging is a great way to build leadership profile and share your organisational narrative. Building in RSS feeds to your Intranet solution to share industry ideas and opinion encourages innovation.
The key to using social media as part of your Intranet solution is to find ways to build conversation. Whether that is by using discussion forums, live webcasts, dynamic feedback channels, or blog comments – building conversation into your solution is what will drive engagement.
All of these are solutions that can be built into an Intranet. An Intranet is a dynamic tool if used to its potential. Instead of being replaced by social media – an Intranet can embrace social media.
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