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Employee Engagement

Intranet Engagement: 10 Lessons from Social Media

Does your company have a social intranet, but you’re seeing very little social interaction in it?

Take heart, not all organizations “get” enterprise social networking right away.

When it comes to increasing engagement in a networking platform, we can learn much from social media. Marketers, communication specialists, and other experts have studied and analyzed engagement in social media  for years now.

What works in social media most likely will work in your organization’s social intranet as well. Below is a list of what we can learn from social media in terms of increasing engagement.

10 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Social Intranet

1. Use images

Images stand out from a string of posts and tend to get more shares and likes. Popular photos include photos of pets, anything funny (but realize what’s funny for you may not be funny to others), and emotional images. It’s also good to give a behind-the-scenes look at what you do. Especially in a big organization, not everybody knows what the others are doing. Take note of these guidelines on using images on your intranet.

2. Ask questions

If you want people to respond, then ask them questions. Ask what their preferences are. Either/or questions are fast and fun. For example, a simple post such as “coffee or tea?” can set off an active discussion.

Other possible question posts:
“What has been your experience with”¦?”
“How would you”¦?”
“What do you think of”¦?”

A one-question poll is easy to set up in most social intranets, including Noodle.

3. Share quotes

Quotes are big in social media. Many people share them, and you might avoid them for fear they’re over-used. But the reason quotes are so popular is because people like them and they do increase engagement. It’s easy to find good ones online or from your favorite books.

Want even greater impact? Combine a quote with an image.

4. Play a game

No need to go into full-blown gamification. Just set up a simple game on your intranet, such as:

  • Caption this – Post an intriguing photo, preferably showing employees, and ask users to respond with their own captions for it.
  • Fill in the blanks – Post an incomplete sentence for others to fill in, such as “All I want for Christmas is _____.”
  • Storytelling – Write the first sentence of a story. Ask others to write the next sentence, and the next, until you have a complete story.

Many of these games can be turned into an intranet contest, by having users vote on comments by liking them. Prizes add to the fun and don’t need to be expensive. You can expect intranet contests to increase engagement and participation, too. Read this post to get more intranet contest ideas.

5. Tell them what you want

Every post you make should have a call to action. Tell your colleagues what you want them to do. Do you want them simply to take note of it? Share with others in their department? Post a comment? Ask for the engagement, and you’ll be more likely to get it.

6. Show your personality

Be yourself. Write as you normally speak; drop the corporate-speak. Show your colleagues the person behind your posts, and they’ll be more likely to interact.

7. Be brief

Keep your posts straight, concise, and to the point. If your audience can consume your content quickly, then they’ll have time to respond to it.

8. Be consistent

Don’t actively seek engagement one week, then be completely silent the next. Regular activity is best. For example, have an intranet contest every Friday, or a meme every Monday. Consistency will make intranet users expect and anticipate the next exciting thing: “Hmmm I wonder what this week’s poll is. Let me take a look.”

9. Discover the best time to post

Experiment to find the best time to post on your intranet. Perhaps it’s early morning when employees are settling into their work. Or maybe they’re more likely to interact on the intranet on Friday afternoons. You won’t know until you try different posting times and monitor your results.

10. Cross-promote your intranet posts

People do this on social media all the time. They’ll go on Twitter to promote their Facebook post, for example. Or publish a blog post and promote it on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

You could certainly use the same strategy at work, too. Promote your most important intranet posts through email — but do this sparingly, because employees are already burdened with too many emails. If you have bulletin boards, put up a flier promoting your intranet blog or this week’s intranet contest. At meetings, invite employees to participate in the latest engagement-getting post you’ve just published.

And don’t forget to cross-link related posts within your intranet, so that one engaging intranet content will lead users to another, and another….

I hope you find these intranet engagement tips doable in your own social intranet. If you try any of them, do let me know how it goes! Share your experiences in the comments below. Or @ me on Twitter.