You are on a mission to find a new tool that is going to improve internal communication, boost productivity and not cost a lot of money. Perhaps you've started a group on an existing social channel like Facebook or Linkedin, and your group is starting to take off. Maybe you need another solution to host your group turned community? 

Before social media, most communication was either private and one-to-one; we wrote letters or emails or held private phone conversations. Now, Social Media is mainly devoted to groups and allows us to scale different sizes of an audience and varying degrees of privacy.

"Group communication" is something we take for granted today but is largely a modern implication of social media. When you consider it, this may be one of the most profound implications of the social media era — easy group communication and collaboration.

Social Media allows you to communicate efficiently. There are many options to choose from: write a long-form rant, post a video or meme to express a feeling or reduce your personal statement to a single emoji. This diverse set of rich Media allows for a different set of voices to express opinions and share ideas. Social Media is also easily accessible across all devices, making it an attractive option for people on the move.

people standing on their mobile phones

 

In a way, it makes sense to use Social Media as a solution to improve internal communication. It may even be where your current group is being hosted. Social media has incredible reach, it's easy to use, and for the most part, it is free. A report from 2017 showed that over 1 million people were joining social networks daily. As of 2018, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 136 minutes per day. Now, that is the average; high users were spending up to four hours and one minute per day on social media. The trend has only been rising steadily since 2012 and shows no signs of decreasing. 

It seems like a logical solution, lots of people are already on these channels, they know how to use it, they have a strong sense of familiarity and a feeling of connection using these platforms, so why move away from here? For instance, you may have noticed the marketing team are already using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. They use it to reach out to your customers, recruit new team members and post some good news, why can't they use these channels to reach you as an employee? You're checking your channels while you're at work anyway! Why not start a conversation? Social media channels are amazing tools for communicating your brand story and products to a broader audience, but how does it work sharing information in a work setting?

Social Media is a powerful tool that can help grow your business in a lot of ways. But communicating with employees is not the best.

Why Social Media doesn't always work at work

There are three solid arguments as to why popular Social Media channels don't work as a communication tool at a workplace or organization.

Online identity, work-life privacy balance

Not everyone wants their colleagues to know about their private lives. Not everything you do outside of work is up for discussion with your colleagues. If you force your employees to login to a social media channel to talk and engage about work while using their personal accounts, a boundary is being crossed. Some elements in your life should remain private from work. You should be able to offer a neutral space that is specific to your group. 

Time is wasted

Time wasting is a big red flag. It is an insidiously easy habit to fall into addictive scrolling behavior and not remain focussed on work tasks. 

Then there are issues around content. It may be evident to some about what should be shared and not shared in a work context. Some shared content can be highly offensive and posts can become nasty and not work-friendly. 

Have you read your company's online social policy? Does your organization even have one? These are essential questions to answer when using Social Media in the workplace.

Some material is for your eyes only

Company internal financial updates, your payslip, perhaps your second official warning for being late to work is not the kind of information you want to see in a group chat or posted to your wall. It's business strictly for your eyes only. Not all conversations require full transparency or a group to workshop your ideas. Sometimes, you want to share your opinion alone and privately.

 

Line of people all using mobile devices

 

#6 reasons how Community Software works differently from Social Media  

1. Own your community. Own your space. Own your data.

What you build with your community, remains yours and won't be moved around or sold to others with your knowledge. Listen to your community and feed them more about what they want to engage with. Please don't leave it as an open-source of data to be mined by your competitors or money-hungry advertising agencies. 

2. High levels of Engagement 

Within your own privately built community, there are no distractions. Just the content made and shared by your members. It is focussed, curated content that keeps your community members returning. 

3. Make your community feel at home

You decide how your online community will look and feel and the type of User Experience members will have. Don't be at the whims of decisions made by a social media giant, remain consistent and reliable for your community. If you want to make changes, be courteous and let your members know what will happen. 

4. Offer an Ad-free space to your members 

Social Media is a wasteland for constant streams of advertisements. In your online community, you can choose to make your community ad-free. Alternatively, you can sell your products directly to your community and not let the dominant players in the Ad game take your space. 

5. Manage your community with ease 

With all the flexibility you want and need within a group. Some social channels have very restricted groups and site managers are left helpless to assist their communities when things start to go wrong. With online communities, site managers have powerful administration rights that let them foster and protect the community. You can manage the outcome of any incident according to the community standards. You won't have to wait days for an 'agent' to respond to your request. 

6. The answers are within your community

It is mind-boggling how much-undiscovered talent lies within your pool of members. What can they tell you? With analytics, you can discover a lot about the unique behavior, and not just boast about a set of vanity metrics about what is popular. Listening to your community in a data-driven way can help you promote and share relevant content, and also see gaps in what content is missing. 

You were on a mission to find a tool that would improve internal communication. You should now have a better understanding of how popular Social Media channels are important tools to spread awareness of your brand and mission. It isn't a tool that is going to improve your internal communication. Perhaps you want to know more about Community Software and the benefits it promotes? See the articles below to further your research or find out more about community software with our buying guide. 

 

Further reading

Add post about Chat vs Community Software 

How do I convince my company we need an online community?

Six Questions to Ask Before Selecting Community Software