Enterprise Social Networking: Definition & Tools

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Enterprise social networking is a combination of tools designed to enhance communication and business processes. In this lesson, you'll learn more about ESN and some popular resources changing the way businesses operate.

A Nationwide ESN

When the insurance company Nationwide was looking for a solution to some internal productivity issues it was having, the executives in the company turned to social networking.

No, not the type of social networking you might be thinking of, the one filled with cat pictures and memes. But, this was a different type of social networking made exclusively for businesses that can help with everything from productivity to efficiency to customer service.

It's a concept known as enterprise social networking and Nationwide's one-time chief information officer called it ''the core of the ecosystem that lets us collaborate.'' Something that garners that type of praise is definitely worth looking at further. So, let's do it. This lesson is all about enterprise social networking, from defining it to looks at tools dedicated to corporate feedback, interaction, content sharing and collaboration.

What is Enterprise Social Networking?

Enterprise social networking is when an organization uses social media and other programs and technology, particularly internally, to streamline communication and collaboration among its employees. It might remind you of traditional social media in many ways with its newsfeed, status updates, ability to ''follow'' other users and sharing capabilities, but make no mistake, this is a tool for more efficient work, not wasting time.

Many social networking tools also allow users to create and share lists of assignments, create calendars and subscribe to updates involving people or topics of interest to them.

Companies like Nationwide, IBM and Zappos are implementing not only external social networking tools like Facebook to communicate with its customers, but internal programs to help facilitate better communication between its thousands of employees in different areas of the world.

The former CEO at Telstra, a telecommunications firm in Australia, used enterprise social networking to solicit input and feedback on technologies the company should get rid of. He earned more than 700 replies.

Social Networking Tools

So, what types of social networking tools are businesses finding most useful? Here are a few popular options and their most effective uses.

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