5 ways to boost SharePoint adoption with social features

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A 2016 AIIM study found that 58% of respondents said ‘SharePoint adoption’ remains a major challenge. 16 years on from its first iteration, those numbers are an obvious concern for many companies using the application. Perhaps they could learn a lesson from Facebook, who, with over 1.8 billion active users as of January 2017, is continuing to grow and be a leader in the social arena. Its revenue climbed 54% to just over $27.5 billion in 2016.

The nature of social media platforms is the driving factor behind Facebook’s continued popularity: these platforms are a means to connect people to one another, to share experiences and communicate freely. It stands to reason, then, that a social tool that integrates with SharePoint can become the catalyst to strong and continued user adoption. Using SharePoint as a platform, users can engage with each other through discussion forums to encourage innovation, information sharing and more.

Today, we’re going to explore five ways that social features can boost SharePoint adoption at your business.

 

1.    Drive conversation with forums

By creating specific forum groups and forum discussions, you can instantly create an environment for information sharing. And these discussions can be tailored to your employees’ interests or needs: enterprise-wide forums can display all your forums in a single location, or you can choose individual forums at the site collection or Team Site level. Your users can be a part of the discussions most relevant to them, while you get a bit more control on ‘who sees what’.

By giving users a place for discussion that’s relevant to them, you can organically grow a knowledge base that gives them a reason to return. Whether it’s regarding a company away day or a space to discuss new sales strategy, forums can substantially improve employee knowledge and awareness. And if you’re staff see the value in this avenue for communication and knowledge sharing, adoption of the platform will certainly increase.

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By opening your forums up to your customers, employees or partners (or all three), you create a better flow of information across your organisation. Users know they can post a question or query and it can be resolved by a colleague or employee. These improved relationships will have a positive effect on employee adoption.

 

2.    Add media and metadata

Social media networks like Facebook have surpassed text-based status updates of old. The most popular posts almost always now include media like images and video (and more recently, live video). Rich text functionalities mean this trend can carry over to the enterprise social side.

Users can add images and videos to their content, and attachments can be added from a file system, URL or SharePoint document library. These media formats are far more engaging than simple text-based posts and are therefore far more likely to improve SharePoint adoption.

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There are also more ways to keep in touch with posts or forums that are the most relevant to your users. Metadata tagging features let you add metadata tags to posts to make them more visible and easily searchable. Users can also subscribe to relevant posts from others to be kept in the loop about any further conversations or information regarding the post.

 

3.    Create personal profiles

Profiles are one of the cornerstones of social media—they give your account an identity, letting people recognise and learn more about you. In an organisation of 500 people, uploading a profile picture and bio lets people know who you are and vice versa. It’s a great way to get users feeling more connected with colleagues inside the company, in the digital sense but also when crossing paths in the office.

 

4.    Understand what’s important to employees

When clicking on a forum group, summary information will be shown for each post including the number of views, replies, ratings and the post’s details. By viewing these figures, you can gauge an idea of what kind of topics or posts are proving the most popular. Similarly, posts that are receiving a lot of engagement will gain visibility and reach you quicker. A post stating that the Sales team needs help with a new project, for example, can reach decision makers quicker so they can react sooner.

If your users can see that they are ‘being heard’, that their concerns, opinions and suggestions are being dealt with or considered, they will be more likely to return and continue to use the platform.

 

5.    Make it enjoyable with gamification

Gamification is the application of game-type mechanics into a digital experience in the hopes of better engaging users. We have an innate desire to compete and ‘play’ games, which has led to gamification making considerable strides in the social networking space.

Users that actively engage with posts, topics and the overall experience can earn rewards in the form of badges or stickers that are visible next to your SharePoint profile. Users can follow each other’s profiles to keep up to date and message privately between one another. The most frequent posters within a particular forum group are often displayed at the top to encourage user participation and boost user adoption.

 

The root of enterprise social networking

SocialSquared, from Lightning Tools, is a social networking tools that is built for SharePoint and provides users with a wide range of features and functionality to improve SharePoint adoption. SocialSquared works with all versions of SharePoint—Foundations, Server and Enterprise. Or, for users in the cloud, it can be deployed as an Office 365 Add-In.

For more information on the power of enterprise social networking, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. Or, get your own 14-day trial of SocialSquared – absolutely free!