Does this sound familiar? When you start talking about “social business” or “social collaboration” at work, some of your colleagues freeze in their tracks, because they don’t understand the language and the technology. Often they’re people with years of expertise, who are knowledgeable about their work and aren’t accustomed to feeling uninformed.


It’s like asking someone who has never sailed to put in the battens and hoist. They don’t understand the terms and don’t have the motivation to learn them because they’ve never sailed. Instead, it’s better to ask them if they’d like to cool off, relax, and enjoy the beautiful view from the harbor.

Community managers play an important role as translators, motivating people in language that they understand before introducing new ways of doing business. Here are some approaches you can take to help people who are new to social tools understand them:

Social technologies and processes for internal use

Social Tool Use Case



Blog for executives and subject matter experts

Be more productive, interact with a lot more people, and repeat yourself less.

Cuts duplicate effort, improves personal relationships, and provides faster action and reaction times. Improves communication and employee alignment to company strategy and goals

Discussion board for project status updates

Reduce email clutter and time lost managing it; centralize information so it's easy to find even after employees leave.

Saves up to two hours per day per person not having to manage project-related email, and increases knowledge capture and visibility.

Wiki for review cycles

Cut down on time wasted finding the current version of documents and editing the wrong versions.

Provides faster feedback and ensures you're always contributing to the most current information. Cuts wasted effort.

Microblog for work updates among teams

Reduce or eliminate project status meetings while staying more aware of project status.

Saves up to four hours per person per week in time previously spent in meetings.

Internal social network that centralizes employee profiles and includes tags and expertise fields.

More easily find subject experts in your organization.

Reduces duplicate work, increases innovation, and cuts time spent looking for information.

Online chat tool that lets employees ask HR questions

Lets you easily locate policies, documents, and other HR info

Centralizes more of the HR team, reduces time spent looking for HR information, and reduces HR support costs.

Social technologies and processes for external use

Social Tool Use Case



Customer support forums

Give customers a place where they can connect, create niche support documentation, and help each other

Decreases time to answers to questions, cuts number of support queries, decreases support desk costs and encourages innovative uses of products and services.

Drive word of mouth by sharing blogs, videos, podcasts, and other content on social networks

Educate the market about your product by encouraging people to share content with their connections.

Reduces cost of sales and customer churn because customer is educated before sale.

Engage influencers

Provide those most likely to drive positive results for your company with access and value.

Provides market credibility, positive market impression, and sales.

Co-innovate and crowdsource ideas

Solicit and vet ideas from and assess risks with a broader audience then you could in person.

Increases the percentage of successful new products and features, and reduces risks.

Use a community to extend the value of an event

Reach 10 times the number of attendees by enabling participants to share and discuss event content before and after.

Increases the relevance and audience for your event investment.


Are you looking for new ideas and strategies for understanding and communicating the benefits of your community? The Community Roundtable has partnered with Jive to provide a curated self-paced training course for Jive customers at 40% off of our regular price – good until the end of 2013. Community Management Fundamentals an overview of how experienced community managers think about and execute on community management, internally and externally. Throughout the course, you will have access to a private community to ask questions and network with other virtual attendees.

The course kicks off with a live call on December 19th for those that are registered by that time. Find out more and sign up here!

*Parts of this post were previously featured on Information Week