In Part II of the Six-Part Blog Series on Social Business Strategy, I discuss the need for starting small when attempting to get massive participation across your organization in your internal community.

 

Success with social business depends on getting widespread participation throughout your organization. There’s a paradox here - go for a big rollout and you could wind up with lackluster participation. Employees see that topics are sparse and conversations taper off before anything of value is delivered. Before you know it your social platform is a ghost town.

 

Starting small on the other hand gives you the option of delivering quality from the beginning. It’s much easier to draw people into conversations that are relevant and offer value. When you launch your social business on a small scale you have a better chance for managing the results.


Approach 1: Go Deep to Get Quality Conversations

 

conversation evangelists

One strategy for driving social adoption is to start small with a few conversations among people who are already engaged and eager to build your social intranet. This team will become your “conversation evangelists” as you roll out the platform to a wider audience.

 

Starting small lets your team establish “social norms” and conversation etiquette from the start. The good news here is that with robust moderation and proper guidelines conversational communities typically do an excellent job of self-policing. Your pilot team will be carving the first grooves that will direct the stream of conversation later on.

 

If there are compliance or liability issues in your company you can start working out best practices with your pilot team. Decide early on how to moderate topics while at the same time keeping conversation open and transparent.

 

Make sure that when you launch your social business strategy includes growth and maintenance phases. While a conversational community can be self-organizing it isn’t necessarily self-maintaining. Having a “conversational architect” involved in the later stages can help ensure that social interactions remain fresh, lively and focused on business goals at every stage.

 

Approach 2: Go Shallow for Widespread Engagement

 

shallow engagementAnother way to go small is to make your first company-wide conversations simple, light-hearted and fun. Don’t try to offer any deep knowledge management or inter-departmental collaboration at this point. Challenge employees to compete against senior leadership in a fitness challenge, a blood drive or contributions to a local charity.

 

Getting a lot of employees to contribute in a small way is a great way to generate enthusiasm. Keep an eye open for employees who naturally get involved and bring others into the conversation. These may be good recruits for “social business evangelists” with your next initiatives.

 

The key to success in social business is to have successful, engaging conversations early in the launch. Demonstrate value and get buy-in from employees. Then build on your success to move your strategy forward.

 

 

Want to know more? Read the White Paper on the Six Strategies for a Successful Social Business that will guide in building and implementing your strategy.