Why Nobody’s Using Your Corporate Social Network – And How to Fix it


Original post by Lars Hyland, totaralms.com

September 7

We’ve said it before: Social Learning in the enterprise is more about behaviours than technology. You can have a great platform in place, but without the right motivations, all you’ll have is tumbleweed blowing through it. Now the Altimeter Group, as cited in Harvard Business Review is backing this up with some damning research on the use of Social Networks in the enterprise.

In a recent article, they note that the Enterprise Social Network landscape is littered with failed deployments. The headline figure is less than 50% of implementations have what you’d consider an active user base. That’s a lot of wasted deployment effort.

What’s stopping these Social Networks from working? In HBR’s view, it’s all about leadership. Leaders need to set the tone by being visible in the networks, showing that they’re listening and taking action, and sharing their own insights and experiences. They recommend three steps to drive use of your Enterprise Social Network:

  1. Listen at scale: Show that you take feedback in your social network seriously. If your employees are saying that something is broken, let them know you’re listening.
  2. Share to shape: Use the network to share stories. Show that you’re open and authentic in how you communicate. Set the tone.
  3. Engage to transform: Show that you as a leader will use the social network to ask big questions. Make it the place to be if you want to be in on the key discussions, and ‘close the loop digitally’ – resolve matters inside the social network, not in other channels.

Your leaders are the key — are they ready to be social?

As the HBR article puts it: “Collaboration depends on trust, and it’s crucial for leaders to learn how to do this in the digital era.” Our Social Learning Guides provide some ideas for helping leaders to build trust and credibility on enterprise social networks. Here are some steps they can take:

  1. Build a reputation as someone who engages: Just being there, responding, showing that you are present and take the network seriously t is the first step. As Woody Allen put it, 90% of success is showing up.
  2. Be authentic – find your social voice: Networks like Totara Social aren’t the place for corporate speak. Find the right way to engage with people that reflects an open, welcoming tone. It’s not broadcast, it’s a conversation.
  3. Curate valuable content: Build a reputation as someone who shares useful, relevant content. You need to do this with care – it’s about quality not quantity when it comes to sharing .
  4. Share your best stories: Social Enterprise Networks are great places to work out loud. Be open and honest – share what you learned, the mistakes you made on the way, and what you’re working on next. That will build credibility and trust, and inspire others to follow that openness.
  5. Volunteer and be helpful: Above all, be someone who gets involved and helps others, offering advice, offering to collaborate, sharing insights. Show people that caring and helping is the way to lead in your Social Networks.

You can find a lot more detail on how to build an effective Enterprise Social Network in our free four-part guide to social learning.

And while it’s not all about the tools – it’s vital to choose the right one. Totara Social is our feature rich, Open Source Enterprise Social Network. What’s more, it’s available as a cloud based solution too, so it’s even easier to deploy and get going. Find out more here.