What Is a Social Intranet?

Bloomfire Admin
2 mins
social intranet icons on phone

A social intranet is an easy-to-use tool that incorporates social technology, powerful search, multimedia creation and sharing capabilities, and more to create a communication and collaboration hub that can be easily accessed to get work done.

Social intranets are a modern response to the traditional, legacy intranet, which doesn’t have social components such as comments, profiles, and the ability for anyone to share any kind of digital content.

Most legacy intranets are hurting. According to a study by Prescient Digital, while 80 percent of organizations have had intranets for five or more years, most employees visit their intranet only about once a month. And 75 percent of people use their intranet solely for HR purposes. To round these sad stats out, 72 percent of employees rate their internal social tools as fair to poor. Most of these intranets are hard to use, lack the social technology to make connections, and are mostly used for top-down communication of benefits and vacation days.

Companies are starting to realize they need a social intranet to compliment the cultural change that is happening within most organizations thanks to the widespread availability of technology solutions in the cloud that employees are bringing into the workplace.

What Makes a Social Intranet Different?


Social intranets differ from traditional intranets in two key ways:

  • Everyone can contribute to the conversation, either through content creation or through public comments.
  • They connect people who need information with people who have information to get work done.

According to a McKinsey study, social technologies raise the productivity of knowledge workers by as much as 25 percent. If this is true, companies that implement a social intranet successfully will gain a full extra day of productivity out of every employee.

“Successful intranets are not just places to push information; they are the centerpiece of the digital workplace – a place to get work done,” said Susan Hanley, intranet and collaboration solutions expert.

What Should a Social Intranet Include?

Now that you can answer the question, “What is a social intranet?”, the next step is to determine what to look for in a social intranet for your business. If you’re on the hunt for a social intranet, here are some important features to look for:

  • Social features like commenting, liking, Q&A, @mentions, and more
  • Integration with the software and apps your business already uses
  • Ability to create and share multimedia content, including video
  • Powerful tagging and search capability
  • Transparency in terms of who is posting, updating, and commenting
  • Private and public spaces, as well as different access levels
  • An attractive and easy-to-use mobile app to support work at any time, from any place

To learn more, check out our eBook, “The New Social Intranet: How We Collaborate in the Digital Age.” It expands on what the future holds for intranets and how to get there from here.

August 31, 2015

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