According to the Nielsen Norman Group, a third of large US and UK organisations now have social intranets. Each employee has their own profile page, with a timeline and people finder, as well as opportunities to author their own content on the fly and like and share pages.

It’s all part of the corporate drive to persuade employees to bring more of themselves to work, take risks, bond with other employees outside their department and spend less time in meetings. Of course, social content authored on the company’s time needs some guidance to work well.  Here are 5 simple rules to bear in mind.

1. Own what you say

Social intranets tend to govern themselves so long as each piece of content is owned by someone and there are no anonymous contributions. When everyone can see the comment someone has posted – and everyone has the ability to like it or comment on it themselves – then the author of the post is much more likely to behave responsibly. That’s why trolls love fake names.

2. Stay on brand

Any content published on your social intranet – whether it’s an HR policy or a throwaway line – should reflect your organisation’s tone of voice. At the same time, you can expect that tone to be a bit more informal and conversational on a social intranet. Is the f-word acceptable? What about non-work related conversations? Is it okay to talk about last night’s telly? You need to spell it out.

3. Share your knowledge

One of the great benefits of social intranets is that they enable in-depth knowledge to be spread more widely across your organisation. Employees with subject-matter knowledge or technical expertise suddenly find that they only have to answer a question once on their timeline for it to be curated and made available as an FAQ. One user who tags content improves search for everyone else as well as themselves.

As Jakob Nielsen says, “Even a few active contributors can add substantial value to the entire organization.” Read Nielsen on social intranets

4. Be open to criticism

All feedback is valuable. Officially authored content can often be improved – or, at the very least, meaningfully contextualised – by comments from users. User-generated content should be included in search results and regularly harvested and packaged on your intranet in order to promote the idea of collective knowledge. At the same time, you need to promote a ‘no blame’ culture where personal remarks and negative comments are avoided.

5. Promote yourself

Once users have got a few likes and followers, then they begin to get a sense of how they can use the social intranet to raise their profile across your organisation. People already know how important it is to network on social media sites when they’re looking for a job. But social networking is becoming increasingly necessary for career development once people are in a job. And young talent certainly expects it.

Getting people to create content regularly is an effective way for them to raise their company profile. Find out how to create a content culture in your company.