Employees, clients gain from enterprise social networks

Most PR pros know to use social media platforms to engage the public, but many are also finding ways to use them to communicate with colleagues and clients.

Most PR pros know to use social media platforms to engage the public, but many are also finding ways to use them to communicate with colleagues and clients.

Al Comeaux, SVP of corporate communications at Sabre Holdings, a travel retailer and technology provider, helped his company build an enterprise social network, allowing his colleagues to share and distribute internal information behind a corporate firewall.

“We use [online community platform] Cubeless like Facebook, but with employee-only access,” he says. “While the network allows employees to engage socially, it mostly serves to foster collaborative problem solving.

“It can be also used at an agency where you have different people working in various regions on various accounts,” he explains. “Sometimes you don't know who has what information in their heads.”

Comeaux adds that these networks help agencies stay organized about clients by offering an easy way to access collective information.

“For example, once a client gives [his or her] agency some information, they don't like to have to repeat it,” he says.

Another enterprise social network, Socialtext, allows users to communicate via wikis, social networking, and Twitter-style feeds.

Jennifer Lindsay, director of digital services and social media evangelist at Eastwick Communications, says the agency recently used the platform to communicate during a multifaceted client event.

Unlike a shared corporate server, internal social networks are generally user-friendly and have social components that keep employees engaged. This can be especially useful for internal wikis, Lindsay adds.

“Sometimes people are scared of wikis because they look too technical,” she says. “But [Socialtext] isn't too technical or clunky; it's really an efficient way... to access information that is already out there.”

Key points:
Enterprise social networks offer privacy firewalls for internal comms

Social features on enterprise social networks help team members engage

Internal wikis can foster collaboration among account teams

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