This week we will talk about Social Networks and how my non-profit organisation in Brisbane can benefit from them. We already talked about their external purposes for companies in general in a previous post. So I will focus a bit more on their internal benefits in this post.
I think you all know what a social network is. If you don’t well I guess you would have left this blog after reading the first line! What you may not know though is how many different social networks exists and that you can even create your own! Ning or GoingOn are good example of website that allow you to create your social network if you have very specific needs. To get an idea of how many social networks exists you can take a look at this article of Wikipedia that lists only the major active social networking websites. And there are many many more.
Why is there so many social networks, well because there are many different needs for people and companies. Lets take a quick look at very specific one to understand. Athlinks for example is a social network aimed at competitive endurance athletes. It primarily presents race results for running, swimming, cycling, triathlon mountain biking and adventure racing. It is also used as tool for athletes to connect with other competitors and enthusiasts locally. So you now understand that social networks are not only Facebook and Twitter. Most of them are much smaller but fulfil specific purposes.
Let us sum up the external benefits of social networking we talked about in a previous post. It allows your company to :
- Communicate with your customers and build relationship with them
- Make the promotion of your new products, events, services etc…
- Increase brand awareness
- Communicate quickly with stakeholders in time of crises
- Build relationship with media, bloggers etc…
When I introduced my external strategy about blogging/micro-blogging I decided to use Facebook and Twitter because I believe the main goal of my organisation is to create a strong community and a loyal following. This can only start with tools that already reach a lot of people, the most popular ones.
Let us now consider the internal benefits of social networking because I believe its not obvious for everyone that social networks starts to be more and more used inside companies! So here we are :
- Listen to employees and build relationships with them
- Promote new products, news, events etc…
- Resolve customer service issue
- Share info – increase access to expertise and resources (examples : talk about competition, industry trend and issues..)
- Communicate with employees in time of crises
- Increased staff moral
- More effective leadership
Consider this quote from Aberdeen (2008) : “Companies that use social media achieved year-over-year in employee engagment of 18% compared to 1% in those who didn’t.”
Now that you believe me about how useful social networks can be for internal purposes, let us focus on my non-profit organisation! For now they don’t use any intern social network. Let us take this as an advantage and base our strategy on the idea or creating our own social network. That way the organisation can decide precisely what features they want considering the way they use to work and the organisation structure. Considering the fact that the number of employees is relatively small, having its own customised social network can be very productive. Also they don’t require too many different features and that can reduce the time and the money required to build the social network. Every employee will know how to deal with it really quickly. As I said there are now so many tool that allow you to make your own social network, some are free and some are expensive. I would definitely go for the free options like Buddypress, Boonex Dolphin or Elgg.
If you want some more info and see some of my references go to these websites :
Hope you enjoyed reading this post! Do not hesitate to comment on it!
See you soon 😉