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Updated by Mark Jones on Jul 20, 2016
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Mark Jones Mark Jones
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10 (+1) ways to use SharePoint for Internal Communications

This list offers 10 effective ways to use SharePoint for internal communications. Say no to email!!

Source: https://www.collaboris.com/solutions/internal-communications

1

Discussion Board

Discussion Board

The discussion board allows staff to discuss subjects relating to their work. As with many things in SharePoint, the discussion board is going to be perfectly suitable for many situations, however, if you want other features such as voting, multiple forums, pinning, moving topics then take a look at 'Social Squared'.

2

Wiki Pages

Wiki Pages

From a default page : "Wikiwiki means quick in Hawaiian. A wiki library is a document library in which users can easily edit any page. The library grows organically by linking existing pages together or by creating links to new pages. If a user finds a link to an uncreated page, he or she can follow the link and create the page.

In business environments, a wiki library provides a low-maintenance way to record knowledge. Information that is usually traded in e-mail messages, gleaned from hallway conversations, or written on paper can instead be recorded in a wiki library, in context with similar knowledge.

Other example uses of wiki libraries include brainstorming ideas, collaborating on designs, creating an instruction guide, gathering data from the field, tracking call center knowledge, and building an encyclopedia of knowledge."

There you have it :)

3

Announcements List

Announcements List

The SharePoint Announcement List is a special type of list that lets you create an announcement with an expiry date. To present the announcements to staff you can place the Announcement List on the the landing page of your Intranet.

As the Announcement List is just a custom SharePoint list it can be searched with in-built Search or added to any site pages you feel appropriate.

4

Survey

Survey

Most effective internal communication techniques will not only allow you send out messages (as in the form of news, announcements) but to also garner feedback from staff. For this the SharePoint Survey is a good candidate.

To improve the out of the box Survey even further then consider using DocSurvey SharePoint. This product allows quizzes to be constructed and attached to documents allowing to ascertain if staff understand your messaging.

5

Yammer

Yammer

Yammer is often coined as the Facebook for Enterprise. It's got a very similar feature set but allows you get a social network for your org in no time at all. It was actually bought by MS a couple of years back so it's taking a bit of time to get it fully integrated under the Office 365 umbrella. The cool thing is that you can now swap out the SharePoint newsfeed with the Yammer one. The not so cool is that you are forced to make a decision on whether to stay with SP social features (with the knowledge they will probably be gone) or to use it now.

Either way as a comms tool it's pretty neat and you should give it some serious thought.

6

Content Tagging

Content Tagging

SharePoint offers the ability to tag content, which then allows staff to navigate SharePoint by those tags. This is very similar to the hashtag idea that's so prolific in Twitter. The Tag Cloud (as shown in the picture) is a very nice visual representation that can be placed onto a site page. The most popular tags are larger. After you click on a tag in the cloud it will take you to a page that allows you:

  • to view the content that has been tagged.
  • to follow a tag (which then causes it to appear in your Newsfeed)
  • to add notes about that particular tag.
  • to view people who are following the tag.
7

SharePoint Alerts

SharePoint Alerts

SharePoint has a pretty robust Alerting mechanism built in that allows a person to be notified when content is changed by them or someone else. In addition to this the frequency and type of alert can be specified. For important documents, announcements this is a good way to keep people up to speed with what's changing.

However, this does result in yet even more emails going out to staff!

8

SharePoint Community Site Template

SharePoint Community Site Template

The Community Site Template is new to SharePoint 2013 and is a special type of site that serves as a mini social network around a given subject. The community site offers the following features:

  • Gamification - Award members points for completing tasks such as contributing.
  • Discussion - installs with a forum pre-installed with the ability to create categories.
  • Members view and activity view - see how active the site and members are.

Have Yammer? If your organisation has Yammer I think Yammer groups are a much richer option that the community site, although the gamification features aren't present.

9

Use Video in SharePoint

Use Video in SharePoint

If you believe all the surveys that have been conducted .. Video is supposedly one of the most effective techniques at getting a message across. I am no expert, but I know from personal experience, I like to watch not read. We also added a 45 second video about DocRead on our home page and that doubled our download rate. (I am convinced ;)).

Anyway, SharePoint can show video very easily. It's as simple as adding a web part to a wiki or publishing page. Check out my blog post on "how to add a video to a web page in 5 steps"

SharePoint 2013 also improved the story even further as it's a breeze to show off video with thumbnails from your library. Have a read of this.

Please note... If you are serious about using video then it's probably advisable that you don't store them all in SharePoint otherwise this could hamper your performance. Suggestion would be to go with a CDN, Youtube or Vimeo and stream them from there..

10

SharePoint Blog

SharePoint Blog

SharePoint also offers a type of site template called a 'blog'. A blog site template allows you to create and manage your posts, comments and categories. However, (as with other OOTB features) when compared to other blogging engines (e.g Wordpress) it's not half as powerful or flexible. It has certainly improved in SharePoint 2013 but you can still only choose from 3 types of layouts.

It's also still too limited if you want to expose blog content on other sites.

BONUS - DocRead and DocSurvey

DocRead and DocSurvey for SharePoint are add-ons to SharePoint that allow you to do the following process.

  • Create a document, video, announcement, or any list item in SharePoint.
  • Assign the document to be sent to a SharePoint Group, AD Group, Global Audience or set of users.
  • Specify a deadline to read and confirm by.
  • Create and assign a quiz and assign it to the document.
  • Sit back and relax.

Each user is then created a 'Reading Task' to read the document, pass the test (optional) and accept your terms. A Web Part can be placed onto any SharePoint site page so it's immediately obvious what they need to read with the most urgent at the top. The web part can be scoped to the entire farm so regardless of where the document originates from it's all viewable in one reading list.

disclaimer - I work for the company that develop these apps but they make such a great internal communications tool it's worthy of a mention :)

  • I have spent many many hours working as a SharePoint Developer Architect and Consultant for lots of organisations in the UK such as the NHS, Tarmac, O2, Lloyds of London, Lloyds TSB, BT etc.

    More recently, I spend all my time either marketing or developing DocRead for SharePoint. Strange mix I know, but I still love to develop so I always make sure I keep my hand in.

    When I am not telling the world about DocRead, I am very active in the SharePoint community and am one of the co-founders of the SharePoint-Community.net. I also moderate the 2nd largest SharePoint group on LinkedIn.

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