Corporate social media is the use of social media websites and social media marketing techniques by and within corporations, ranging from small businesses and tiny entrepreneurial startups to mid-size businesses to huge multinational firms. In the 2010s, an increasing number of corporations, across most industries, have adopted the use of social media either within in the workplace, for employees, as part of an Intranet or using the publicly-available Internet. As a result, corporate use of social networking and micro blogging sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, has substantially increased.
According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, “Fifty-eight percent of companies are currently engaged in social networks like Facebook, microblogs like Twitter, and sharing multimedia on platforms such as YouTube.” The Harvard Business Review cites an additional 21% of companies as being in the process of implementing a formal social media initiative. The 2014 HBR report indicates 79% of companies have or will have social media initiatives in place. This percentage is an increase over a similar 2010 report that indicated that two-thirds of companies had or would have social media initiatives in place.
Corporate Social Networking (CSN) technology is changing the way relationships are formed and strengthened in business environments, and, therefore, is changing the way business is conducted. In the past, employees built relationships by working in close proximity or sharing information over the proverbial water cooler. As organizational structures evolve, disperse, and separate geographically, individuals have begun to initiate, extend, and manage their network of professional relationships through social, Web 2.0 technologies.
Online social networking within the enterprise increases the density of connections among individuals to drive business value. A Corporate Social Network is a collection of social networks, among which affinity groups of employees and other constituents learn about each other and interact through their own, individual profiles. Employees and other constituents may be members of multiple networks within the Corporate Social Network, requiring that their profiles be portable and able to collect and amalgamate information from that individual’s interactions and knowledge sharing among all of the corporate networks to which he or she has access. These networks are secure and private, open only to those constituencies identified by the enterprise, and they provide role-based access to people and information which are controlled by the enterprise, as well as varying levels of privileges for network administrators.
The connections fostered through Corporate or Enterprise Social Networks are anchored in affinity and beneficial to individual members through the people and information they are able to find, creating connections and knowledge capital that become attached to their profile and visible to other network members. Corporate Social Networks are used primarily to build trust and share knowledge on a peer-to-peer basis, as opposed to through documents that are subject to information obsolescence. Network members share knowledge in real-time, in effect creating a living knowledge map within the enterprise network. Today’s corporate environment is unique and dynamic; organizations are globally dispersed, high value is placed on knowledge, and requirements for innovation are ever growing. Companies that thrive in this environment are finding ways to connect their people through Corporate Social Networking.
Collaboration solutions are aimed to provide this platform to the organizations by leveraging the Web 2.0 concepts and design. The basic idea involves building a platform that acts as a meeting place for geographically separate employees to share their thoughts, views and get their questions answered. It’s an informal mechanism that not only makes it easy for an individual to learn new concepts, but also a reference platform that is available for a longer period that be referred to as and when required. Web 2.0 concepts like Blogs, Wikis, Discussion forums, Personalization, Targeted search and podcasting can be leveraged extensively to build such platforms.