Archive for March, 2010

Jive SBS Design Practices, Part 4

March 11th, 2010

The following is a result of Jive Strategic Consulting Practice’s extensive work with many large clients who have deployed Jive Social Business Software. It is Part 4 of a four-part series.

In Part 1, we explained how to use Barry’s Community Flower to determine the top three characteristics of your community.

In Part 2, we discussed the importance of identifying community members’ wants.

In Part 3, we added the characteristics to the member wants to define your community’s overall expression. Now, we’ll determine members’ activity flow through your site.

“What happens when I click that?”

Once you’ve got your first landing page designed – by the way, you should do this entire process for every important landing page throughout your community site (e.g., All Content, Your View, major spaces) – it’s time to figure out where the member is taken when they start clicking around.

It helps if you’ve used Jive SBS as an end user before you do this.

How much concierge service do members need?

First, determine the level of concierge service your community’s design needs to offer. If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel with concierge services, you’ll know what I’m talking about. These patient people help you get tickets to the theater. They walk you to the corner, and point down the street you should take. In some cases, I’ve had to ask them where the hell the elevators are. In short, they hold their guests’ hands whenever necessary.

Your design’s concierge service level should be based on members’ overall familiarity with online community and/or social networking concepts, not to mention basic technical savvy.

For example, if you’re migrating an existing community to Jive SBS, members are already familiar with online community concepts, and won’t need very much holding of their hands. But, if you’re unleashing all this social business software goodness on what one of my clients calls “the crusties” – more traditional people with vasts amounts of experience, but new to community concepts – you’ll want to ratchet up the level of concierge service.

If it helps, score your members for the following attributes. The lower the overall attribute score, the more hand-holding you need to design.

* Use Forrester’s Social Technology Profile Tool to take a wild stab at this attribute.

In my personal consulting experience, I’ve found that many have little patience for learning any new technology, especially if participation is voluntary, as so many online communities are.

If it’s not obvious in five seconds or less what they’re supposed to do and how it’s going to make their work/life easier, they leave.

How to map activity flow

1:  Identify the call to action(s) that expresses your primary characteristic.

For example, for Relationships, a call to action might be “Introduce Yourself.”

2:  Decide what happens when a member clicks the call to action.

For a savvy audience, “Introduce Yourself” might take the member to the current month’s discussion thread that asks people to introduce themselves. The member would read the thread, then click Reply to add his/her introductory comment.

For a newbie audience, “Introduce Yourself” might take the member to a space that functions as a lobby.

  • Purpose: space name is “All about Profiles”
  • Call to Action: “Complete your Profile” link that opens the member’s profile in edit mode
  • Motivation: description of the benefits of business networking and how it relates to better individual performance
  • Example: a member’s profile is featured; profile guidelines are explained; link that opens help content about how to complete a profile

3:  Decide what the member’s next step is.

Continuing the newbie route, let’s say the member clicks the link to view help information about how to complete their profile. Make sure there is a link in that content that opens their profile in edit mode.

In short, ensure that the activity flow results in the member completing the call to action.

4:  Decide how the member gets to the next call to action.

Now, how do you get the member to answer the second call, or at least give them the opportunity to do so? This is why I’m a fan of adding the top two to four calls to action in the theme. That way, no matter what nether regions of the community a member finds himself in, he can always click “Collaborate” in the theme, for example. This might take him to a lobby-type space (e.g., “About Groups”), where he can answer the Collaboration call, understand why he should do so, and see how it’s done.

You could also be a bit more obvious by creating a custom widget named, “I want to…” that’s full of verby phrases voiced from the member’s point of view. If you get a developer to create this as a plugin, the widget would be available everywhere a widget can be placed. If you don’t, just create it as a Jive document somewhere, then use the View Document widget to refer to it wherever you want.

What else?

Test it. Be that newbie. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Or, call my mom and ask if she can test it. If she can figure it out, chances are your members will, too.

Well, I hope this helps all y’all. And for those of you who have a Jive strategy session in your future, consider all of this homework.

Call to action

It would be ironic if I didn’t include one.

If you’re interested in engaging Jive Strategic Consulting, please contact your Jive Sales Executive or Services Account Manager, or contact Jive Software to learn more.

Jive SBS Design Practices, Part 3

March 10th, 2010

The following is a result of Jive Strategic Consulting Practice’s extensive work with many large clients who have deployed Jive Social Business Software. It is Part 3 of a four-part series.

In Part 1, we explained how to use Barry’s Community Flower to determine the top three characteristics of your community.

In Part 2, we discussed the importance of identifying community members’ wants.

Express it!

Now that you have your top three characteristics identified in Part 1, and list of member wants from Part 2, let’s put them together to create your community’s overall expression. Once you do this, you’ll have successfully defined the boundaries of your community design!

Define the following elements:

  • Purpose: “What’s this site all about in two seconds or less? Because that’s how much time you have my attention before I split.”
  • Calls to Action: “OK, I’m here. What do you want me to do? Use clickable verbs to make it obvious.”
  • Motivation:  “What’s in it for me if I answer your calls to action? Is it what I want?”
  • Example: “What behavior do you want me to model? Give me an example.”

This example of expressive elements is based on the top three characteristics of Relationships, Sharing, and Groups. It is for a public community.

How do you design Jive SBS based on all of this?

Finally, we start talking about the technology.

Expression elements can help you decide the following:



Your community’s Top Three Characteristics, member wants, and expressive elements can make it easier to design your site’s overall identity, and keep the design scope from creeping out of control.

If it doesn’t fit with your characteristics, member wants, or expressive elements, it doesn’t belong in your community.

What’s next?

In part 4, we’ll discuss how to map all this design goodness to Jive SBS capabilities.

Jive SBS Design Practices, Part 2

March 9th, 2010

The following is a result of Jive Strategic Consulting Practice’s extensive work with many large clients who have deployed Jive Social Business Software. It is Part 2 of a four-part series.

In Part 1, we explained how to use Barry’s Community Flower to determine the top three characteristics of your community. Next, we determine your community members’ wants.

“I want to…”

People often forget to identify the needs/wants/objectives of their community’s members. Not doing so results in yet another cold, lifeless website instead of a potentially thriving community.

For an example of how to avoid this, see this reference to Groundswell‘s case study about Proctor & Gamble’s BeingGirl site, in which the authors describe how P&G created a community to enable teenage girls to talk about teenage girl things, rather than tampons and menstrual pads – oh, I’m sorry, um, “feminine hygiene products” – can’t forget to sanitize biology for mass consumption, ha ha! I digress. Where was I?


To be thorough, you may want to do this next exercise for every persona that will interact in your community, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just lump them all together for now.

If you’re designing primarily an employee community, think about what your fellow colleagues want to get out of it, keeping the Top Three Characteristics identified in Part 1 in mind. If you’re designing primarily a public community, think about what members – both customers/partners/prospects/developers and employees – want to get out of it.

BIG HINT: “What will members get in my community that they can’t get anywhere else?”

Here are examples for an employee community:

  • Find across all of ACME people who can help me get my work done (Relationships)
  • Tap into ACME’s broad collective experience to help me be more innovative in my work (Groups)
  • Give back – help others I may not know yet get work done (Sharing)

And for a public community:

  • Find education and marketing information that will help me sell more of ACME’s products (Content)
  • Build relationships with other ACME customers (Relationships)
  • Learn from ACME’s customers about what it’s like to be an ACME customer (Conversations)
  • Find what others are doing with ACME solutions and services (Sharing)
  • Tap in to ACME’s expertise (Groups)
But, they can get this somewhere else!

Especially in the case of employee communities, the “I want to…” examples above are seemingly already satisfied by existing collaboration and networking applications. I’m not going to get into the colossal chasm that all too frequently exists between what the business really wants and what IT forces them to use, but I’ll just pull a Dr. Phil here and say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

Usability – and all-employee access – matters. But, that’s a whole other blog post.

As for public communities, probably the top reasons potential members will participate – what they can’t get anywhere else – are access to your company’s “official” information and more importantly, your employees. However, if your people are already interacting with your customers/prospects/partners on third-party message boards or in Facebook or LinkedIn groups or Twitter or whatever, you’ll obviously need to entice those employees to stop doing that as much there, and start doing it in your community more (assuming this jibes with one of your top three characteristics).

Then, all those other social media interactions become engagement channels where employees can drive participation to your new community.

Now what?

Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll add the top three characteristics to these member wants to figure out how to design your Jive SBS community.

Jive SBS Design Practices, Part 1

March 8th, 2010

The following is a result of Jive Strategic Consulting Practice’s extensive work with many large clients who have deployed Jive Social Business Software. It is Part 1 of a four-part series.

It’s not about you, Corporate MarComm. It’s about we.

It’s not just another website, and yet many approach the design of their community site the same way they approached their intranet or corporate Internet site.

Which are usually all about one-way communication and passive consumption.

To avoid doing this with your community’s design, try using what we here at Jive call, “Barry’s Community Flower” to figure out what your community is all about. This thing actually grew (ha ha!) from Gene Smith’s Social Software Building Blocks (which grew from a few other frameworks), but we like to name our stuff after the peeps who bring it to our frontal lobes.

What do the petals mean?

Can you identify what the main characteristic is?

To spark your thinking, check out these communities, powered by Jive SBS.  See if you can figure out what the main characteristic is.

Identify your community’s top three characteristics

Now, pick the petal that best reflects what it is you’re trying to accomplish with your community, based on:

  1. Corporate objectives“ACME Inc. needs to get abc from the community”; and
  2. Member objectives“I really don’t care what YOU need, ACME Inc., but I want to do xyz here.” (more on this in Part 2)
How to pick your petals
  1. A facilitator draws the flower on a whiteboard/flipchart/napkin/back of her hand.
  2. Everybody gets to pick JUST ONE petal, silently. Shh.
    Note 1:
    It’s not like people are going to do ONLY that one thing, so don’t get your panties in a wad. They’re all relevant, but one has to be primary if you want an elegantly designed site.
    Note 2:
    Don’t think too much about the differences between these characteristics, as they will quickly all seem to mean the same thing, or overlap so much that you cannot make a choice.
  3. The facilitator goes around the room, asking for each person’s vote – she places a mark next to each petal that receives one.
  4. Usually, one petal will emerge as the primary community characteristic, and the next two petals that received the most votes become the two secondary ones.

Voila! You have determined the primary and two secondary characteristics of your community! Yay!

Now what?

First, make sure that your characteristics are in line with the community’s overall objectives. For example, talk/hug it out re: how “Relationships” will help meet the company’s objectives of “Driving Growth” – and make sure somebody is either taking notes or recording your conversation. Gold often emerges here.

If you simply cannot find a connection between the characteristics you’ve chosen and the objectives of your community, stick a tack in that discussion, and stay tuned for Part 2 in this series.