When it comes to business, social networks can provide secure spaces where teams in different offices, cities, states or countries can communicate and collaborate on projects in real time. They allow people who may never meet to discuss project details, divide and conquer tasks, discuss clients’ needs, and generally come together to accomplish a common goal. As an added benefit, teams who work together regularly can also use their company’s enterprise social network to get to know one another, learn about each other’s strengths, understand how they think, and bond as a team – which will, in turn, create a stronger team that creates stronger work.
Like social networks for the general population, social media for business organizations begins with being social. They allow real-time communication, and usually include a playful element or two, like emojis that can help message recipients infer tone. But enterprise social media also offers a slew of business-appropriate features and functions that can help teams work more efficiently and effectively. Four things that your teams can benefit from the most include:
- Document Collaboration: With the power to share and discuss documents as a team, as well as the ability to edit and co-author documents directly within your social network, this feature allows teams to create more insightful, inclusive, and meaningful deliverables. It also gives teams the unique ability to edit and share items on the fly – as they’re discussed within the group.
- Internal Groups & External Collaborators: Internal groups allow your teams to create a space that's just for them – and joined by invitation only. It's a place where they can discuss work, as a team, and tackle projects and initiatives together. In addition to internal groups, some enterprise social networks allow your teams to invite outside client representatives, vendors, consultants, contractors, etc. into the space so that you can all discuss and collaborate on projects either on a limited or an on-going basis.
- Search & Discovery: Some business social networks allow users to search throughout their system for experts, conversations, and files that are relevant to their work. This can help teams reduce the about of duplicate work, use best practices, and work more efficiently. In addition to search, discovery features that allow users to stay abreast of what's happening within the company (in general) can help your teams find people, information, and groups that are relevant to them, their clients and/or their interests. Through the discovery process, users might meet mentors, and find areas for cross collaboration, etc., which can help them not only grow professionally, but improve their work.
- Seamless Integration. Regardless of how highly praised an enterprise social media solution may be, if it won't support your current tools, including your word processing and presentation programs, then it's probably not the right solution for you. After all, the point of purchasing a solution like this is to streamline communication and encourage collaboration, and if your teams have to use "tricks" in order to get your programs to work with your platform, it will cost them time and slow down your process.
In addition to the features that your team will use every day, it's the one feature that your team won't see that can truly make social networking for any business a success or failure – and that's security. With an enterprise social network that encrypts data at all times, at-rest and in-transit, and includes multi-factor authentication to enhance identity protection, you can ensure that not only is your data protected, but your employees are protected, too.