Over the last few years the popularity of external social media has had a significant influence on intranet design and direction. There has been the rise of enterprise social networking, features such as Pinterest-style boards and a growth of employee blogs.
Many intranet teams are now choosing to incorporate elements of external social media on their intranet, particularly on the homepage. This includes feeds from corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as images from Instagram or Flickr.
Despite the growth and normalisation of the “social intranet” the occurrence of external social media within the intranet environment is not the norm. This may be partly because some organisations do not have an external social media presence which is worth sharing. But if they do, then adding content, a feed or a widget from external social media to the intranet can be worthwhile.
Featuring external social media on the intranet is usually carried out for a number of reasons:
- relaying marketing messages, making employees more aware about brands, campaigns and communications with customers
- displaying specific interactions with customers, increasing internal awareness of the company’s customer base
- providing a good balance to internally-facing content
- increasing awareness and encourage use of both internal and external social media by employees
- providing an opportunity to share internally-facing content submitted by employees which can also be shared externally, for example collections of photographs
- emphasising that companies are proud of employees because they are sharing stories about employees externally, for example celebrating individual achievements or CSR efforts
Recent entrants from the Intranet Innovation Awards have featured external social media from a variety of different platforms and sites. Some examples are detailed below.
Including external social media feeds
Roland Berger is a global strategy consulting firm headquartered in Germany. The company has introduced a very social intranet with a homepage which features a prominent activity stream. To counter-balance this, the homepage also includes feeds of different type of content, including the corporate Twitter account. Having both internal and external feeds helps employees to give a more complete view of what is going on in the company.
The Rugby Football Union is a UK-based professional sports association. Yammer is integrated into the experience of its SharePoint 2013 intranet with many feeds embedded on different pages, and is regarded as an integral part of internal communications. Reflecting the grassroots activity of RFU and balancing the internal social activity, the intranet news page also shows interactions on external social media with Facebook and Twitter feeds prominently displayed. Three separate RFU Twitter accounts are shown on different tabs, including one dedicated to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Featuring employee photos from social media
HarperCollins UK is a publisher employing around 1,000 people. The company’s intranet, HarperHome, has a widget which automatically scrolls through images from a corporate Flickr account. This celebrates company success by featuring pictures of books from HarperCollins UK’s output from all over the world, proudly submitted by HarperCollins employees.
Praktikertjänst is Sweden’s largest provider of private health and dental care. The company’s intranet Insikt, includes an Instagram feed on its homepage and also a dedicated page which shows any pictures with the hashtag #Praktikertjänst. All employees are free to share their pictures, helping to enhance a positive and friendly company culture.
Spotlighting employee blogs
Adobe is a global technology company. The company uses employee blogging on its intranet which was launched in 2013. Employee blogs are also used externally as a channel to interact with customers. A section of the homepage allows users to view both internal and external blogs, using a tab to toggle between the two. The parity given to both emphasizes the value Adobe places on the employee voice both internally and externally.
Find out more
For more insights, the Intranet Innovations 2014 report features 17 in-depth case studies and over 200 screenshots. This is the must-have report for intranet teams to guide their planning, and it represents incredible value.
And of course, if you have done something unusual and different with external social media on your intranet then the 2015 Intranet Innovation Awards opens for entries in April. You can sign up to be notified when it opens for business.