A Twitter conversation with one of the social media experts I follow, Luis Angel Mendaña (@lugarzen) made me realize I had to learn much more about the role social media is playing in the evolution of internal business platforms. What follows was the first sentence I read about it on the Internet: “Heavy use of social tools has a statistically significant correlation to profitability” (Michael Chui, senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute).

The financial company BBVA developed last year an internal platform based on questions and answers: employees could ask their manager whatever they wanted to know. First two weeks, this special social network worked really good, getting the participation of over 3,000 employees. This company was the first one in Spain to develop a successful Internal Social Media system (ISM).

Nowadays, two-thirds of big companies surveyed use social media tools such as social networks or blogs, according to a survey by McKinsey & Co. In addition, about 90% said they have reached at least one measurable business benefit.

What social internal systems are used the most?

In a basic level, Facebook (or a similar system) is a very good solution for big companies. Almost one billion people already know how to use it. According to Forrester Research,  software sales that help run corporate social networks will grow 61% a year and reach a $6.4 billion business by 2016. Despite this, the more used platforms are still blogs, although internal social networks are growing really fast.

Internal Social Media Infographic

Source: www.gagenmacdonald.com

What’s the impact of an effective ISM system? 

The most important benefits or advantages that companies that use of ISM systems have reported are the following:

– They help employees to know and share corporate thoughts.

– Employees will be more likely to stay working for the company.

– Reduce the negative sentiment against the corporate hierarchy: everyone, from managers to interns, are in a similar level on social networks.

– Help internal conversations and improve working relationships among employees.

– An ISM can be a source of ideas and opinions. Sometimes, managers do not realize what good ideas could their employees have to improve business.

– It is easier to extend resources among employees, such as tutorials, hand-books….

– It will increase your awarenes: whoelse could talk better about your company than your employees?  They can be your best brand ambassadors.

How to develop an Internal Social Media Campaign

An internal social media strategy must follow very similar steps to an external one:

  1. Identify and prioritize corporate goals.
  2. Make a “map” of your actual Internal Communication System. What’s missing? What part has worked better? What should be either removed or added?
  3. Be aware of your company’s technical limitations. If it is a small business, you won’t probably have access to the software to develop internal social networks. It won’t be needed either. A blog with open comments should be more than enough. If this is the platform you are thinking of right now, ensure you add all social pluggins, in order to make participation and shares easier.
  4. Give your employees a social media training.
  5. Content: Try to engage your employees via your content. Make participation easier. Ask questions. Give them the information they are expecting.
  6. Measure and modify your strategy according to results.

Some Internal Social Media platform examples

We have already talked in the beginning about how BBVA developed its own Internal Social Media system. Let me give you the links to the information and details about this and other similar projects:

An internal social network designed to generate internal dialogue, capture key employee concerns and issues, and serve as a general barometer of organizational mood.

  • MoMA – Google’s Intranet

Although it mostly works as a huge database, where any employee can find the details about their colleagues, it also indexes the whole company information, like its history, products or even reviews.

It is a kind of internal blog to give employees information about the company, encouraging them to take part.

This tool can be used by employees for social networking purposes as well as documents sharing. Microsoft has been always worried about internal communication and pay special attention to it. This social network is proof of that. Have a look at how amazing it is!

Of course, we all know that the development of these tools are only within the reach of big companies, but what about the business applications Google offers from its app store? Check them out and let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Have you integrated an Internal Social Media campaign in your global strategy? What system do you use? Give us your opinion on the comments below or via our fan pageon Facebook!

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Fuentes: Marketing BlogScoopUSA TodayBBVA Social Media BlogZyncroLatest Google System Blog