Intranet Social Media: Why Adoption Rates Are Low and How to Fix It
Intranet social media can be one of the most powerful tools for internal communication. Unfortunately, the adoption rate of social media within corporations is dismally low. Long story short, employees simply rarely take up internal social media. In fact, 72% of employees use intranet social media networks less than once a month. In comparison, most will use Facebook several times a day.
Why is that?
Intranet Social Media Networks are Designed by IT, not UE
The people who design intranet social media networks are usually the IT department, not the user experience department. In other words, the people who actually design the network aren’t trained in design. They’re trained in programming, networks and packets.
As a result, the user experience of the social network is invariably a lot worse than the experience of other networks like Facebook or Twitter.
The people who tend to take up intranet social media networks tend to be the early tech adopters. While that’s all fine and good, the real power of inter-office networking comes into play when most of the office is on the network, not just one small subset.
So how can you fix this? How do you get the majority of the office on an intranet social media network?
#1: The Quality of the Network
The first and most important thing is to actively manage the quality of the network itself. This should be done with a push in the beginning, but it should also be an ongoing process.
Ask your employees: What do they want from a social media network? What kind of things would they want to communicate about? What special features – Such as task management, milestones, confidential memos, filesharing – do they want?
Try to make the network as useful as possible. Also try and make it as intuitive, user friendly and enjoyable as possible.
Get your user experience and design staff involved. Creating a social media network for your staff is similar to creating one for the general public. It needs to be well designed, easy to use and intuitive. Just because they’re getting paid doesn’t mean they’re going to want to use something that’s clunky and hard to navigate.
Make sure you have a great intranet social media network first, before trying to get people on board.
#2: Market the “Product” to Your Employees
The next step is to actively cultivate your employees’ participation. This is an often overlooked step by management.
The thinking often goes that if you build it, your employees will use it. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. If your employees can’t easily see how it’ll make their job easier or make them more productive, chances are they won’t use the system at all.
To get them to use the system regularly, you need to make sure the benefits of the system are clearly spelled out to them. They need to really understand what they can get from using an intranet social media network.
Research has shown that using these social networks can lead to better communication, more innovation, fewer conflicts, more trust, more sharing of ideas, better product designs, improved sales and marketing ideas and increased revenue.
It can also lead to more innovation, reduced confusion, faster communication, more trust, better products, better sales funnels, more revenue.
It can also make your employees’ jobs easier. It can help remove the stress of going through several layers of management or stress from poor intra-office communication.
Whatever the main benefits of your social network are, make sure they’re clearly communicated to your employees.
#3: Change the Culture
In order to really get people to use the system, you need to integrate it into your culture. If your office culture is completely detached from your office social network, even if you get people to use it, the usage rate will gradually taper off.
One prime example of a company who did this well is Zappos. With Zappos, every time you come into work you’re presented with the company’s social network at the door, before you walk into your office. It’s part of the check-in process.
You get to learn about one other member of the team. You learn about their hobbies, their job title and any other information they wanted to provide. Then you go to work.
This one culture shift has made many chance meetings in the hallways possible. It also got people used to using internal social tools to communicate.
Make your internal social network part of your company’s cultural fabric. If you do so, your adoption rate will be very high.