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This is the third in a series of three blog posts where I discuss the role of community strategy, operations and tactics - and share lessons we've learned at The Community Roundtable working with hundreds of members and clients.

 

Community tactics are what make communities hum. While a community can grow without much investment in tactics, it will grow a lot more slowly – and be much more susceptible to risk – without dedicated community management focused on day-to-day tactical activities.  The better community managers can trigger, encourage and reward the behaviors that generate value, the faster the community will grow and mature.

 

Fortunately, we now know a lot about which tactics matter the most. From the State of Community Management research over the last six years we know that the following tactics have the highest correlation to engagement rates:

  • Dedicated community management focused on content and programming, engagement, moderation, leadership support, measurement and reporting.
  • Documented shared purpose and shared value
  • Engaged organizational leaders
  • A multi-tiered community advocacy program
  • Personalized welcome processes
  • Regular community programming
  • Member involvement in community planning and decisions
  • Training for the community management team

 

We also know, from social science research, a lot about behavior change and how to trigger, change and reward it in a way that enables lasting change.  My favorite models are B.J. Fogg’s Behavior Model and Charles Duhigg’s Behavior Loop. Together they help create simple ways for community managers to encourage and reinforce the behaviors that drive value to members and the organization.

 

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We’ve used B.J. Fogg’s model as inspiration for TheCR’s Engagement Recipes – a structured way to help community managers define and plan programming that promotes valuable engagement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At The Community Roundtable, we have also identified the keystone behaviors required for any community to form and develop. TheCR’s Working Out Loud framework helps to focus engagement efforts based on the maturity of the community culture.

 

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While these are all great tactical tools, there is a lot more content, case studies, events and other resources about community tactics – at JiveWorld, here in the Jive Community, through The Community Roundtable and through a myriad of other publications, groups and events. Take advantage of all of these resources to get ideas about how to incent and reward different behaviors – and share what you’ve learned!

 

When tactics are aligned with a strategy that prioritizes the most valuable behaviors and an operational system that consistently triggers and rewards those behaviors the results are powerful – creating an environment where value is generated efficiently and engagement comes easily. 

 

However, all too often, community management is only thought of as the tactics of engagement - creating a reactive and ad hoc approach that does little to advance the community in meaningful ways for either executive stakeholders or for members. As a community manager, if you feel overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions it is often an indication that either the community strategy needs refinement or that it is time to invest in operational systems that will help you scale.

 

Strategy, operations and tactics work in concert to generate and reinforce value – creating a positive feedback loop that pulls more people in and engages them more deeply as the community matures. Make sure you have carved out time to address all three.

Let's face it, life is precious and time is short. We live in a crazy breakneck-speed world where work-life balance is tough to find. Commuting to work takes hours instead of minutes, meetings occur at every hour of the day and there are no real "days off." In my opinion, something has got to give if we are to avoid collectively losing our minds and breaking our souls. Luckily, many companies are beginning to align their corporate values and employee productivity tools to allow employees to better manage their work and their lives.

 

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Is this your view in the morning?

 

We still have a long way to go. I hear friends talk about working until midnight or commuting for three hours in one direction. I honestly don't know how they do it. I know I couldn't. You see, I'm at a time in my life when I've lost my ability to compartmentalize. It's not work... then home... then family... it's all one big squishy bucket called life. My work and my life needs to be manageable together. In fact, rather than work-life balance, what I really need is work-life integration.

 

Case in point: this morning. I woke up at the crack of dawn to make sure my teenage son was up and getting ready for school with enough time for his 7:30 am drop off. My daughter needs to get to school by 8:15 am so I had a little more time with her. My remodeling contractor and electrician were also due at my house at 8:30 and 9 am respectively. So I'd have just enough time to drop off my son, return home to answer a few emails, drop off my daughter, then return home again to meet the contractors. After that, I had a JiveWorld team meeting at 9 am, a community meeting at 10 am, a meeting with a vice president at 11 am and another meeting at 1 pm. Sprinkle in a handful of video meetings with people in Portland, Austin, San Diego, and Denver. It's pretty obvious that there was no room in my morning for an hour-long commute to Jive's Palo Alto office.

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This is the most precious moment of my day.

 

Sure, I could hand off my kid-care duties to other parents or friends. But if you have teenagers you know that getting them to actually talk to you (and not simply rely on interpreting their Instagram feeds) is GOLD. And the time that they are mostly likely to chat is when you are both slightly focused on something else, like driving to and from school. There's no way I would trade these precious moments of insight into their worlds in order to find time for a commute to the office. And while the remodeling part of my life will go away eventually, there will always be something to interrupt the flow of an 8 to 5 workday in the office.

 

Some people argue that the eight hour work day is dead; that it is a product of a previous generation where light and technology and health care plans needed to be corralled together for the greatest good. It hearkens back to a time when most workers needed direct management in daily cog-tightening and conveyor belt rolling. With the advent of many new technologies, the movement to more knowledge management workers to the workforce, and increasing numbers of freelancers on the payroll, people are finding they can bring more balance to their work life by making up their own hours and managing their own careers. The focus is more on an employee's results as opposed to how many hours they spend in the office.

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I believe that Jive is leading the way in shifting the way that people work. Our company leaders value work-life integration: being able to balance life responsibilities while still getting work done. We've made that obvious with posts like Heart over Headquarters | Elisa Steele | LinkedIn and Exceptional Culture Shapes Exceptional Products. With its unique combination of culture and products, Jive employees can choose their own workstyle and the resulting differences are supported.

 

Here are three key ways that Jive's company culture makes balancing work and life possible:

 

  • Work WHERE I need to be. As mentioned above, there's little chance I can be in the office by 8 am. The only way I can optimize my time working and still be able to be there for the rest of my duties is because I can work where I need to be. What makes that possible? Besides the company culture, Jive offers a system of tools that work together to make it easy to connect, communicate and collaborate while I'm waiting to pick up my kids from school, at my desk at home or in the Palo Alto office.
  • Work WHEN I need to work. As a community manager, I need to be able to work around the clock without actually working around the clock. I'm able to address employee queries at 7 am from my Jive Chime application on my phone. Then after taking the kids to school, I can log into the Jive Community to write blog content or answer community questions. Later on the same night, I'll connect to the Jive Cloud Admin in order to update the community after most users have logged off.
  • Work HOW I need to work. You hear it every where you go, the future of everything is mobile. While I draw the line at taking video calls while driving, I do appreciate the fact that nearly everything I need to do for my job is possible on mobile. I can pop my phone in my back pocket while walking my dogs and know that people can contact me on Jive Chime for community help. Now that we are on Jive version 8, we're optimizing each place in the Jive Community to be mobile friendly, so connecting to member discussions and questions is easier than ever. And if I need an update on the latest company priorities? That's mobile as well with the Jive Daily app. Finally, if I need to find someone to answer a question, I carry the company directory in my pocket with Jive Circle.

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And yes, all of my mobile devices are pink because that's also part of my #workstyle.

 

 

My work-life integration has come a long way in the last few years. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I work for a company like Jive.

 

Do Jive's platform and tools help you to create a more balanced schedule and life for yourself? I'd love to hear how work-life balance is working out for you.

 

And for your further enjoyment, I like to call this... "Car Dancer and the Jibberjabber"

I've been at Jive for 8 years now, and every day I'm either talking with a client or seeing one of our customer implementations and have my mind blown by how Jive is being leveraged in driving key strategic initiatives.  I remember back in January, as part of community manager appreciation day, when I ran a fun contest asking for anyone who would be willing to share a screenshot of their Jive instance and one example of value, quantifiable or anecdotal, that resulted from their Jive community.  Once again, I was blown away with what was shared.  Note, if you missed that and want to see some of the shares I compiled a couple docs (internal and external examples).

 

A couple of conversations and finds in the last couple days inspired me yet again, though, to ask Jive customers this simple question -

 

At your company, what is Jive?

Here's an example from a customer (AllScripts) conversation I was in just today.  AllScripts is a company that's empowering care givers with data and insights to deliver better care. In the course of the conversation talking about Jive, it really drove home for me that at Allscripts, Jive is helping improve patient care.  Their Jive-x powered ClientConnect portal is improving the efficiency of healthcare workers, so they can spend more time with patients and less time looking for answers and information (note this is simply my own personally opinion).  Jive feels really connected to their key company goals which are highlighted with by this great video of theirs.

 

This exercise can actually be a little hard to do because Jive often times is so many things.  So I created another contest of sorts to incent you to take 3 minutes and think about what Jive is at your company.

 

Here's the game and here's the reward for following these 'game rules':

 

  1. Use 4 words or less to describe what Jive is
    • So 'Jive is' + 4 or fewer words.  No taking the easy route of saying 'Jive is our community'.   Meaning, for this game it's less about what Jive technically is and instead, it's more about what in your opinion is one of the key values that Jive is bringing to your company.  So a value-oriented Jive statement.
    • In the above example, the orange bolded text is the 'what is Jive' statement.
  2. Then give a 'tweet-worth' of the how.
    • In the above example, the sentence after the orange bolded text is 'the how' or 'why'.

 

If you do the above, a $10 gift card is coming your way.  If you really want to impress though, add a screen shot to your post and because I love seeing our customers share screenshots I'll make it a $15 gift card.  And I'm upping my game on the gift card front because you'll be able to use it at Starbucks or like 30+ other places.

 

Here's another example from Marketo about its Marketing Nation community powered by Jive-x:

I saw the video below posted recently and, to me, it made me think - At Marketo, Jive is its Marketing Nation.  kim.celestre who leads the Jive-x part of our portfolio told me she thought of this statement about Jive at Marketo after watching the video - 'At Marketo, Jive drives marketing excellence'.  Anyway, I'm sure Scott at Marketo has his own idea of what Jive is, but hopefully this example helps get your creative juices flowing.

 

As a reminder, the your posts in here are public, so somebody might share across the social web your thoughts, and we might even like to highlight them in some way (on our site, in tweets, who knows, maybe even at Jiveworld).  Hopefully that wouldn't be any issue but just let us know if so.

You need more fun. C'mon now, we ALL need more fun.

 

Here at Jive, we bring the fun in so many ways. From excessive cat gifs, to beer all the time, from wacky bikes to office gorillas. We love to express ourselves.

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This guy has an awesome workstyle.

 

For me, my workstyle is all about working where I need to be. I wear all of the hats: mom, breadwinner, homeowner, chauffeur, community manager, cook, stylist and dog walker. If it needs to get done, I'm there to do it. But that means I need to be all over the place to pull it off. Work needs to be where I AM, not the other way around.

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I work in the car and on the train.

 

Jive lets me wear all of the hats and get it done where and when I need to. In fact, we are launching a campaign to bring awareness to this important topic. Check out our new Workstyle web site and see all of the ways that Jive supports how people get work done. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want more Jive.

 

Here's my #workstyle video snippet. 

 

 

Join the #workstyle movement today!

How? Share your own workstyle pictures or videos on your favorite social channel with the hashtag #workstyle.

 

The Workstyle Movement is happening. Visit our  web site to explore workstyle resources and events. You can see the other Jive employee videos as they are posted to social at the bottom of the page. You can join in by taking pictures or videos that show off your personality and way of working, then posting them on your social channels and tagging them #workstyle.

 

Come be a part of the #workstyle movement!

In Part Six of the Series on Social Business Strategy, I'll discuss the need to think optimistically by planning for adoption and growth of your social business.

 

Adoption and growth of social business

There’s a funny thing about in-house product launches - you spend an awful lot of time planning for “what if's”. What if people don’t participate? What if people say the wrong things? What if people hate it and never come back?

 

You might get so caught up in planning contingencies that you miss the most exciting “what if” of them all - what if people love it? What happens when you get more participation than you expected? What do you do when people ask for more?


Factor Success into Your Social Business Plan

 

We’ve seen a lot more winners than failures when it comes to social business launches. That’s why we think it is just as important to plan for the second phase of your launch as it is to plan for the first. Once you’ve had your initial adoption and growth of social business, you have a small window to capture the enthusiasm of your workforce.

 

Next Step - Go a Little Deeper

 

If you are following the “start small” strategy then your next step is to go a little deeper. If you started with a single department pilot program, now is the time to bring another department onboard. Or, if you started with a widespread “fun and breezy” conversation, now is the time to take the conversation to the next level. To get the best value from a social intranet, every part of the business must eventually be able to join the conversation. Instead of being seen as just another channel for communication, social becomes part of the culture. Social is where documents are accessed. Social is how real work gets done.

 

Take One Step at a Time for Manageable Results

 

Adoption and growth of social business

Don’t feel that you have to open up the firehose and get your entire business library integrated into the social intranet overnight. Let your employees guide you by identifying the types of things they need for the daily work.

 

Be sure to include management and team leaders when you do your planning to ensure that you have their buy-in along the way. Managers may need to see evidence that the program is generating value for other teams before they feel comfortable letting their employees engage in social activities during company time. As you bring more people into the system plan on having more meta-conversations, conversations about conversations. Invite teams to share openly, critique freely and suggest alternatives. Once this kind of dialog becomes spontaneous you know that you are achieving success.

 

Identify Key Performance Indicators

 

When a business becomes social it is easier for managers and senior business leaders to keep their fingers on the pulse of the organization. Activities can be quantified because they have data and metrics attached to them. Information is more accessible and less likely to be trapped in a data silo because now it is visible across the company. When you launch your social business you are at the beginning of a process that will drive engagement, productivity and profit. While much of the benefit of a social business platform comes from emergent behavior - social activities you couldn’t foresee and plan for - you do need a strategy to get the ball rolling.

 

 

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

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This is the second in a series of three blog posts where I discuss the role of community strategy, operations and tactics - and share lessons we've learned at The Community Roundtable working with hundreds of members and clients.

 

City planning has been around since well before President Washington commissioned Pierre Charles L'Enfant to lay out a new federal capital in the 1790s. Why did city planning evolve? Because letting cities grow organically caused increasing problems as they grew – making them at best hard to navigate and at worst toxic and dangerous. Living in Boston, I am at the mercy of poor city planning every time I drive downtown because it grew organically. Intentional and thoughtful city planning helps people get around and use a city successfully and safely. In the same way, good community planning proactively and assertively architects online communities to make them navigable, enjoyable and safe spaces that help people get where they want to go efficiently.

 

Designing, architecting and creating policy, governance, moderation and technology structures are the operational elements of community management. To build this community infrastructure takes skill, investment and time but is currently often taken for granted or is under-appreciated in its impact on engagement. When crafted well, community infrastructure recedes into the background and is almost hidden the way a paved sidewalk might be.

 

Because online communities are relatively new, the operational elements that support and reinforce – or inhibit – engagement are not always well understood. When operational supports do not align with the community strategy, tactics and business environment they will neutralize, inhibit or even subvert engagement.  Community architecture also has a significant impact on ease of use and the efficiency of value generation - in essence it limits community productivity . When it is ignored, it can cause what John Stepper has called the ‘grass ceiling’ – the limit to which tactical approaches can generate engagement and value.

 

So, how do you go about auditing your community for operational effectiveness?

 

  • Identify the extrinsic motivators of your community members – both within the community and in the larger environment in which the community sits. How do members get recognized, rewarded or punished for their contributions? Are the extrinsic motivators in the community at odds with the wider environment?
  • Identify the easiest behaviors in the community and in the larger environment. How do they map to member value and business value?
  • Examine the member experience – is there an orderly and easy way to navigate pathways or are members assaulted with conflicting or too many choices about how to engage?
  • Look at how easy is it for members to understand the social context and cultural norms. Do they feel safe and comfortable in the community environment?
  • Explore. Is it easy to see where people congregate to catch up? Where to go for rich subject matter expertise? How to find community leaders?
  • Look at the platform architecture. How does the configuration of spaces, groups and features align with the behaviors and information flows that will most efficiently support your community strategy?
  • Check your metrics. Are they aligned with the behaviors that most efficiently generate value?
  • Finally, look at leadership. Is it clear who is responsible for different aspects of the community – from specific groups and spaces to policies to infrastructure to content?

 

The more conflicts there are between how the community operates and how the surrounding environment operates, the harder it will be for people to understand, feel comfortable and engage. While some difference is ideal – you want to introduce and encourage a networked way of communicating and collaborating – too much will hobble the ability for the community to form.

 

Communities are great mechanisms for changing behavior – they can help shape and change cultural norms in a fluid way. However, to use them in this way requires a strong understanding of community operations – and how to incrementally adjust infrastructure, policies, management practices and governance to maintain both comfort and challenge.

 

Operations is not sexy – it’s the hard work of laying roads, training people, building bridges and establishing a police force – however, when done well, it figuratively paves the way for community success. It can be the difference between encouraging a member to hack a trail through a rain forest with a machete and asking them to walk down the street in New York City – both are possible but one is much more likely to happen.

In Part V of the Blog Series on Social Business Strategy, I will discuss the importance of filling your intranet with meaningful and relevant content that will attract people.

 

User generated content drives social communities. It's the life blood of the community and what keeps people coming back to participate in the discussion. Employees will catch on quickly to the value of your social intranet as soon as they see interesting topics and valuable information. They will be more likely to return if they can see clearly that the information and conversations are timely and relevant.

 

Depending on the scope and structure of your conversation channel this may mean “priming the pump” and loading content up front. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, ranging from repurposing existing content to bringing in contractors to help you create content appropriate to your organization.

 


Help People Share Knowledge by Identifying “Digital Sherpas”

 

User generated content

One of the key benefits of the social enterprise is the ability to take tacit knowledge - the skills and understanding of a single individual - and transform it into explicit knowledge that is available to anyone in the organization. Conversations about processes and procedures become part of the record. Meta-conversations, discussions about discussions, can help participants find the information they are looking for.

 

In the same way that early explorers reached their destinations through the help of knowledgeable local guides, look for people who can be the “Digital Sherpas” inside your organization.

 

Content creation can be done by a small team of enthusiastic experts — draw from your top communicators, subject matter experts and most personable leaders. At this point you are looking for “evangelists” who will talk-up the initiative. It’s not crucial to build an encyclopedic knowledge base in the pilot stage, just get enough substance into the first conversations to make the environment intriguing, comprehensible and useful to the next groups to come on board.

 

As your social intranet matures the community of participants will begin generating its own content. This might make some communications professionals a little nervous at first but editors soon warm up to the idea that knowledge and productivity are more important than perfect grammar. Before you know it your communications team will be free to be more strategic about how content is used within the organization.

 

 

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

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