Archive for July, 2010

The benefits of implementing a community advocate program

July 29th, 2010

I’m in the midst of moving beyond soft launch of our one-month-old advocate program for the Jive Community, called Jive Champions. One benefit to such programs is that these members routinely share their thought leadership, expertise, and guidance within and beyond the community.

Here are just a few gems the Jive Champions have shared since we started the program.

By Jamie Pappas, Social Media Strategist, EMC

By Greg Lowe, Social Media Strategist, Alcatel-Lucent

Discussion with Claire Flanagan, Director KM and Enterprise Social Business Collaboration and Communities Strategy, CSC

By Roy Wilsker, Senior Director Technology Planning, Covidien

By Tracy Maurer, System Engineer, United Business Media

By Ted Hopton, Community Manager, United Business Media

By Jennifer Bouoni, Director Interactive Communications, Manheim

The Jive Community has so many more excellent contributors, too! A few of them should expect an email from me soon, inviting them to join the Jive Champions. 😉

Becoming a Social Business, One Process at a Time

July 13th, 2010

Originally posted on Edelman Digital

Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked with several clients to plan and implement employee- and customer-facing social business initiatives. I’ve found it ironic that, while many enterprises decide to implement social business software and encourage social business behaviors in an effort to break down silos between employees and employees, employees and customers, and employees and the social Web, they approach their implementations from a very silo’ed perspective. For example, employee-focused pilots tend to take root in a business unit, then IT and/or Employee Communications teams take over when it grows into a strategic initiative. And in the mean time, Marketing and Corporate Communications are leading a completely separate customer- and social Web-facing social business initiative. The left and right hands often don’t meet until their procurement office gets the purchase orders.

From Silos > To Strategic Focus

However, if you can somehow remove these organizational-chart blinders sooner rather than later, the big picture becomes clearer. You can focus on the full business processes you’re trying to evolve, and all of the people who need to participate in social business transformation – employees, prospects, customers, and partners. You’ll then have a better chance of identifying the “from” you wish to leave behind, and the “to” you want to become.

In my new role as Communities Program Manager at Jive, I’m responsible for infusing existing business practices with social business behaviors (among other tasks). So, we focus first on the process and who enacts it before we figure out where social business software can improve or innovate how we do business.

Here are a few business practices we’ve evolved into social business practices, categorized by how most companies are measured:

REVENUE GROWTH

Attracting Leads: From Static Website Content > To Interactive Thought Leadership

To attract more leads, we’ve augmented our static website content – case studies, whitepapers, customer webcasts, etc. – with content from influential and, well, pretty damn smart employees, customers and partners in our customer-facing Jive Community. Most of these mavens and connectors are part of our newly launched Jive Champions program. But, while the content is great, it’s the willingness of these Champions to interact that puts the zing in this particular sauce.

We routinely market this thought leadership content in the social Web. We, of course, “FaceTweetIn” it, but we also use social media monitoring to listen for and then engage folks who are interested in our or our competitors’ products and services. My colleague, Mike Fraietta, listens to 100% of the Twitter stream, plus everything else out there, ready to share our community’s thought leadership when appropriate (he’s one of our Jive Champions, so he dispenses advice and shares his experiences along the way).

I also make sure to market this content and its resulting discussions to our employees in our internal social networking software environment. Sales, Support, Services, Product Management, and our executive staff are very much plugged into our prospects and customers, which means they can propagate our thought leaders’ content in a very targeted fashion to progress a sales opportunity, or increase customer penetration.

We have another social business practice focused specifically on progressing a sales opportunity that includes integration between Salesforce.com, our employee-facing Jive SBS instance, and our customer-facing Jive SBS instance. That’s another blog post, however.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Crisis Management: From Not Knowing > To Proactive Engagement

Before we had social media monitoring capabilities, the only way we’d know about a brand-related crisis was if someone accidently stumbled across a blog post, Facebook group, or tweet. We’ve evolved that practice into listening to the social Web, and proactively engaging our prospects and customers before sentiments get too out of hand. Now, when our brand starts to take hits in the social Web or in our customer-facing community, we post the negative items in our employee community so that we can get the right eyeballs and actions on it immediately.  And, we join the negative conversation as soon as possible, offering to listen and take their feedback back to our colleagues.

I think my favorite part about this scenario, however, is that our customers have come to our rescue on our behalf, both in our customer community and in the social Web. Many of these customers are now part of our Jive Champions program.

INNOVATION

Developing Products: From Bug Tracking > To Interactive Ideation

We’ve always loved hearing from our customers about what our products need to become to make their work lives better. But, collecting their feedback through support cases, then submitting it into feature/bug tracking software where nobody but our engineers saw it didn’t leverage the collective innovation our customers could produce. We evolved this process into one that promotes interactive ideation. Customers now submit, comment, and vote on product ideas in our customer community, playing off one another’s ideas to refine what they really want. Our product managers join these discussions to ask for more clarity, run initial product plans by our customers, and learn at a glance what the top ideas – i.e., the most wanted ideas – are. They sometimes bridge specific discussions into our employee community so they can collaborate with product engineers “behind the scenes” before responding to customers.

And, just to make sure our customers know they’re being heard, our product managers periodically blog in the customer community about the status of specific ideas and how they relate to our roadmap, which I then FaceTweetIn, naturally.

None of these From > To’s would have happened if we hadn’t gained buy-in from executives, mid-level managers, and most importantly, the people enacting the practices. Here’s the engagement plan framework we used to identify, incent, empower, and engage key actors in these processes.

My next big task is to measure how all this social business activity correlates to any changes in key business metrics. That, too, is another blog post.

My Burton Group Catalyst Presentation

July 6th, 2010

I’ll be presenting the following at Burton Group Catalyst Conference in San Diego July 28 at 9:45 am Pacific, in Sapphire M room:

Design, for Community’s Sake! (Note: I specialize in lame titles.)

Overview:

No matter whether you’re implementing an online community environment for employees, contractors, business-to-business, channels, partners, prospects, customers, or all of the above, design it differently than your typical intranet, internet, or portal websites. Why? To promote continual engagement.

In this session, you’ll learn five good practices for designing an engaging community site: 1) Identify Community Characteristics, 2) Determine Member Wants, 3) Balance Corporate and Member Content, 4) Express Site Identity, and 5) Add Concierge Services.

You also learn how to avoid common pitfalls, including one-way broadcasting, over-branding, under-positioning with other applications and websites, and more.

Finally, we will discuss how to check the health of your existing community’s design. We will take requests from the audience to review existing community sites that are publicly accessible, and answer questions, such as: Is the site’s identity expressed clearly and does it reflect overall community objectives, characteristics, and its members’ wants and needs? Is there a good balance between company and member content?

While this is based on the Jive SBS Design Practices series, it applies to any community or collaborative platform, so if you’re at the conference, please stop by!