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An enterprise social network (ESN) is a private network that facilitates communication and collaboration with members of your organization. It’s not only a vehicle of company-specific information but also a tool for improving employee engagement and team dynamics.

This is especially critical in the era of remote work. Creating your community using enterprise social networking software will enhance all your inter-organizational communication and networking. However, to maximize its power, you first need to understand the key features and benefits of an ESN.

Discover what they are and why they matter in this comprehensive overview of enterprise social networks.

What is an enterprise social network (ESN)?

An enterprise social network is a private social network accessible only to members of your organization. Much like social media, enterprise social networks allow members to connect online, sharing news and content.

Many businesses have social media accounts for disseminating information about the company to a wider audience. However, while the focus of enterprise social networks is the same–company-centered news and content–it’s designed for the company.

Unlike a company’s social media accounts, the end game isn’t marketing, but rather engagement, to forge a deeper connection between employees and the organization. An ESN allows social and informal communication for better team building on a company-wide communication network.

What is enterprise social networking?

Enterprise social networking describes how employees connect online. It’s the use of social media and networking technologies for communication, knowledge sharing, and collaboration.

Work activities are more commonly discussed, but there’s often a more lighthearted social aspect as well. Your industry and work environment will determine the style of your enterprise social networking.

enterprise social network

What are the benefits of enterprise social networking tools?

ESN tools offer a range of benefits for both employees and the company as a whole. Let’s look at the main advantages:

Enhanced communication and collaboration

The main benefits of enterprise social networking are communication and collaboration, and this includes informal conversations among team members.

Teams may be planning a retirement celebration event for a colleague, remembering a teammate’s work anniversary, or discussing the need for an office coffee machine. They could be collaborating on a project, and using the ESN for less formal project management.

Regardless of the topic, if it has to do with the company, you want to make it easier to discuss. To facilitate this, you can use the groups feature on Aluminate and create an unlimited number of groups where employees can brainstorm and exchange ideas.

An ESN is a central communication platform that will allow you to do that while complementing your unique corporate culture.

Easier knowledge-sharing and mentoring

Enterprise social networks enable essential knowledge sharing and mentoring in a more relaxed manner than traditional work emails and memos.

Because younger employees are likely to regularly use public social media platforms, they respond well to an enterprise social platform. This makes it suitable for mentoring younger (and less experienced) new hires. Our community pages allow junior members to browse profiles and discover their perfect mentors.

A centralized knowledge repository also serves as a digital library for all members of your team. There’s no need for revisiting onboarding tutorials or requesting archived training materials. They can access what they need when they need it, in a cloud-based knowledge repository. The digital library feature on the Aluminate platform for enterprises is a good example of this.

ESNs are also useful for sharing content relevant to your industry with your team. In an advertising agency, for example, this could include sharing new advertisements from competing agencies to use as inspiration.

enterprise social network

Increased employee engagement

When used to its full potential, this software can be a tool for increased employee engagement. It is designed for workplace communication, but the same communication tools that allow team collaboration and business processes can meet multiple needs.

A mentor can explain the company’s culture to a new team member. Managers can use these tools to encourage employees. An ESN will improve communication for the entire workforce while increasing engagement.

An internal social network with a communication hub where teammates can discuss similar business interests, but also enjoy spontaneous conversations, is the key to employee engagement. All the employees have an opportunity to have their voices heard.

That is why everyone on our platform has their own, detailed profile. It’s how team members can find their best match for direct conversations about shared common interests.

Smoother onboarding processes

If there’s one area of task management that could always do with some help, it’s the onboarding of new hires. A smooth onboarding process will elevate the new employee’s view of the organization while saving your onboarding team valuable time.

Fortunately, an ESN is ideal for the communication necessary for onboarding. It also acts as a virtual  ‘meet and greet’ space with their new colleagues.

8 key features of enterprise social networks

Top enterprise social networking software, like the kind you’ll find at Aluminati, offers the following key features.

1. Activity streams

A digital dashboard allows you to monitor all activity streams, so you can stay up-to-date with everything that matters to your team. You’ll also know at a glance if they’re finding the communication and collaboration tools useful and easy to use.

2. Profiles and directories

Individual profiles and member directories in enterprise social network software make it easy for all your employees to stay in touch with other team members.

If your organization follows a hybrid or remote work model, profiles and directories are especially useful to keep your team in touch with one another. Your remote employees’ geographical distance will be no barrier to workplace social interaction, and they’ll always be aware of all the relevant information.

enterprise social network

3. Groups and communities

Your enterprise social media platform is one big community but also consists of smaller communities within that larger group. This usually mirrors the departmental divisions in your organization, although not in all cases.

Enterprise social networking capabilities are most effective when they can be scaled. Tools for creating multiple groups and communities on the platform allow your software to adapt to your growing organization.

4. Messaging and chat

Messaging and chat features mimic the less formal tone of social media, within the formal corporate environment.

However, far from breaking protocol or going against the company’s corporate culture, it enhances it. Internal communications via team-only chat and messaging features enable more effective and relatable peer-to-peer communication.

5. File sharing and collaboration

Better collaboration drives innovation and problem-solving. It reduces the risk of task duplication as everyone knows what other members are doing.

Enterprise social networking software enhances document management and inter-departmental collaborative efforts with quick and simple file-sharing capabilities.

6. Integration with other online community platforms

It takes time to move between various communication, collaboration, productivity, and management platforms. This problem is easily resolved when your enterprise social networking software has integration capabilities.

ESNs also integrate with email systems, document and project management tools, and CRM software, to name a few. This ensures a streamlined workflow and coherent task management processes.

The top enterprise social software integrates seamlessly with other popular online community platform tools. With Aluminati’s social network sync capabilities, you can track your ESN members’ LinkedIn and Facebook data (subject to them giving their consent to sharing data).

7. Analytics and reporting

No enterprise social networking software is truly versatile without the added features of analytics and reporting. These tools can track user engagement, content reach, and interactions within the platform.

By analyzing these metrics, you can gauge how effective your ESN is for your team. Analytics can help you identify your top contributors, measure campaign success, and assess user satisfaction. With this information, you can continuously improve your ESN processes.

enterprise social network

8. Notifications and alerts

A focus on employee engagement, open communication and feedback, and robust business community connections are all traits of a strong corporate culture. However, the corporate environment is generally filled with constant activity, due to its high-pressure decision-making.

It can be a challenge remembering to check in team messaging on the enterprise social network platform. The best enterprise social networks solve this problem with customizable notifications and alerts. Members will never miss an important interaction again.

Level up your enterprise social networking with Aluminati

Enterprise social networks bring together the best of corporate networking and social media interaction.

It allows teams within your organization the freedom to communicate, collaborate, and network in a manner that most appeals to them. Yet it maintains the security and professionalism that the corporate world demands.

Aluminati has the software you need for creating and maintaining your enterprise social network. Are you ready to level up your team’s communication and collaboration? Request a demo today!