The answer to this question depends to a great extent on what sort of organisation is asking it.
First, take a network for staff only – call it an Internal Private Social Network. The benefits to the organisation, which in this case means the employers, are likely to be a more efficient organisation with higher morale. The network allows employees to communicate with each other, to ask who has faced a particular problem before and how they dealt with it, to swap advice on organisation and to warn of emerging threats.
Then we have the Private Members’ Group. These people are more likely to have an interest in the same thing – it might be growing daffodils, raising an individual breed of dog, looking after children with a particular disability or sharing pictures of cats (non-cat-lovers might be astounded at the number of cat photographs posted on Facebook every day).
Whatever it is that brings the members together, all of them will benefit from shared knowledge and the opportunity to meet people (virtually or, on occasion, in the flesh) as well as the knowledge that, however obscure their interest may seem, they are not alone in pursuing it.
These things lead to higher levels of recruitment to the interest group and better member retention. They also provide opportunities to improve the group’s revenue by offering products for sale while at the same time obtaining better prices through volume discounts so that members benefit at the same time.
A number of groups have grown out of all recognition simply because of online membership promotion. Added to that is the kudos that comes from being known online as THE go-to body for a particular interest group or industry – any organisation failing to take advantage of social networking should recognise that a competitor may steal a march on them and become pre-eminent. Not joining in is simply not an option.
Using Blendapps means not having to accept the straitjacket into which Facebook and other giants want to place everyone. Get in touch so that we can talk about this further. There is also the option to host your on network to be safe, but then you might get in touch with a hosting provider like internetvikings.com.