Remote work isn’t just for start-ups or roaming sales time. Over the past two years, the number of jobs on LinkedIn advertising flexible or remote work options jumped by 78 percent.

It’s no surprise. Hiring remote workers saves companies and employees money. But are they more productive? Some say yes. The Global Workplace Analytics Costs & Benefits Survey says that they could even be as much as 40 percent more productive than those who commute to their desks.

But that productivity isn’t spontaneous. It comes about because tools like social media collaboration allow workers to get things done more efficiently – wherever they are.

How can you use collaboration tools among your remote team? Here’s what you need to know.

Why Is Social Media Collaboration Important?

As people work from their homes or remote locations, it’s essential to keep them connected not just to their work but to the organization.

Social media collaboration tools offer several benefits that mimic the experience of being co-located.

For example, they give managers easy ways to stay connected and increase the accessibility of senior team members.

Social media also allows distributed teams to share ideas, problem-solve, and provide feedback internally without prompting from management or the need to schedule a hangout or meeting.

These attributes offer more than the collaborative work elements found on OKRs software or other project management tools. These are a chance for teams to connect, bond, and lead – without having to watch their co-workers eat lunch from across the desk.

Remember, even if you don’t work in the same place, you do work together. Improved working relationships correlate to improved morale, which means you can hire for growth rather than replace burnt-out employees.

What Kind of Strategies Should You Use on Social Media?

Social media collaboration isn’t a matter of setting up a Slack account and telling employees to “go to town.” There’s still strategy involved if you want it to work well.

First, you need to encourage engagement with the tool as a place to not only ask questions but collaborate and be present.

You can encourage teams to use social media to show personality, ask questions, address problems, and celebrate success.

Second, you need to create a culture of accountability. A Slack channel can be a gift, or it can become a toxic place overnight. You should set some ground rules, put out a style guide, and actively enforce it when necessary.

Third, dedicate time to showing people how it works. Your remote team might be brilliant, but they also might not have time to figure out how every button works. Pay them to learn the tools of engagement, and you’ll find they are more likely to engage with it productively.

How Will You Inspire Your Remote Teams?

Social media collaboration empowers remote teams in ways that aren’t possible on conference calls and annual meetings.

However, as with all great tools, you need to use it wisely. A strategy that encourages engagement starts at the top, and it will help your team feel like they’re friends without forcing them to spend eight hours in a room together.