Think of your organization as a type of family. Each department has its own personality. Maybe some departments operate independently, while others are in constant contact.
No matter the personality and relationship, everyone in a family is bound by the same ties. The same can be said for a business. Everyone falls under the same brand name and are united towards the same overarching goal. So, how do you make sure that everyone stays connected and truly understands what the company is all about? With an enterprise social network.
Bringing the Brand Family Together with Enterprise Social Networks
According to Dorothéa Bozicolona-Volpe, a social media strategist and consultant who has worked with international, Fortune 500 brands, an enterprise social network enables all the departments within an organization to be more connected to the brand family.
Each department in an organization has its specific roles and responsibilities. Without any interconnection, employees may not really understand how each specific department adds to the menu of services or products that an organization offers. As a result, information sits in silos, hampering efficiency and the ability to discover solutions to common problems.
Implementing an enterprise social network can break down these barriers. In her experience helping brands successfully execute enterprise social networking initiatives, Bozicolona-Volpe has seen that these networks can help employees “very handily get the departmental information that they need and get in touch with people when they need them.” When these barriers get taken down, she notes, “It really allows people to understand that they’re working at a brand family and that they’re working toward a common goal, which is the mutual success of the organization.”
Keeping the Brand Family Intact with Enterprise Social Networks
Beyond breaking down barriers in communication, enterprise social networks can also be used to improve internal processes such as employee onboarding and retention. How so?
For starters, an enterprise social network can be used as a repository to store an organization’s digital assets about its policies and company values. In this way, Bozicolona-Volpe explains that an enterprise social network can be used “to communicate the brand voice and the brand personality of an organization from that newbie all the way up to the C-suite.” An enterprise social network can be used not only to educate new employees about the company brand, but also to provide information on employee benefits, paid holidays and so forth.
But the power of an enterprise social network also lies in its ability to allow employees in organizations both big and small to stay connected and to feel part of a workplace community. Bozicolona-Volpe says, “There have been a lot of studies that have found that when you measure the healthiness of that kind of community, it helps to retain employees because they feel closer to, connected, and more informed than they did in the more siloed organization of yesteryear.”
Best Practices to Implement an Enterprise Social Network
Once you’ve decided you need an enterprise social network, how do you successfully implement one? Bozicolona-Volpe says that having a group of evangelists within the organization can be very helpful in explaining the imperative for collaboration and enterprise-level connectivity.
This group of evangelists is often called the SBO—social business office. According to Bozicolona-Volpe, the SBO should be made up of “a person from each area or facet of the business. They can engage your employees and gain an understanding of how they interact with one another and with corporate communications to help create the right type of strategic plan to roll out the enterprise social network.”
Bozicolona-Volpe also emphasizes the need to start small. She says, “I see that sometimes large organizations try to boil the ocean. It’s really important that before you roll out an enterprise-scale network that you spend a lot of time serving the constituents, understanding what their needs are for data, information, and content, and then giving them what they want in phases.” In this way, organizations can ensure that the enterprise social network will be adopted by the employees it is meant to serve.
ROI of Enterprise Social Networks
So, once an enterprise social network is implemented, how do you get and measure your return on investment? Bozicolona-Volpe advises organizations to think of ROI as “how engaged people are, how frequently they’re coming back to share information, collaborate, and tap into that corporate brain trust.” Measurements of ROI can be taken as how often people engage in conversations, share and collaborate on projects, become onboarded using the network, and so forth. This creates a paradigm shift within the organization towards real-time collaboration and transparency, with information easily accessible across all levels of the company.
All Businesses Can Leverage the Power of Enterprise Social Networks
No matter the business vertical or size, you can benefit from using an enterprise social network. Bozicolona-Volpe says, “Larger organizations with a distributed workforce tend to really benefit from an enterprise social network because it allows people to feel very interconnected and very connected to the brand. Quite honestly, it’s also great for small businesses because they can use their enterprise social networks not only for communications within a small group of people, but also as a repository for information.”
At the heart of it, Bozicolona-Volpe sees enterprise social networks as a tool businesses can utilize for collaboration, for sharing ideas, and for maintaining the brand integrity of the organization. This can help you create a tightly integrated, collaborative brand family with a clear vision for current and future success.
About Dorothéa Bozicolona-Volpe
Dorothéa Bozicolona-Volpe is a strategic marketing executive who is fluent in 4 languages. She specializes in developing business for international brands (Fortune 500) via initiating and integrating social media and digital strategies and enterprise social networking, strategic partnerships and marketing technologies.
Dorothéa teaches marketers and business leaders how to measure, optimize and build current new media efforts to increase value and develop strong relationships between brands and fans.
Additionally, Dorothéa has appeared as a subject matter expert on CNN’s Ali Velshi show.
Some of her clients include: Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest Productions, Chrysler, Cingular Wireless (AT&T), Georgia Tech, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mercer, Jewish Family & Career Services, Ogilvy & Mather, Reader’s Digest, Qualcomm, Turner Network Television, Coca-Cola. She is an avid skateboarder who tweets to relax. You can follow Dorothéa on Twitter @SocialEspionage.