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Jive Talks

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Hi All -

 

As you might have seen on Jive's corporate blog - this week, we're kicking off an exciting blog series that highlights key industry trends from 2015 and predictions for 2016.

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As you know, this time of year is all about reflecting on the past year and thinking about what lies ahead for the next twelve months. Tomorrow, November 17th, we start the series of topics with: CIO/IT: Jive’s VP of Security, David Cook and VP of IT, Mike Westlund portend AWS and the future of the cloud - take a look at what they have to say and let us know what you think via comments below!

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And stay tuned for the rest of topics:

  • HR/People: Senior Director of Product Marketing, John Schneider, peers into the talent wars and user-to-user relationships
  • Marketing: Senior Director of Product Marketing and clairvoyant, Kim Celestre, talks big data and user-generated content
  • Support: Vice President of Customer Support and soothsayer, Kevin Williams, has a few things to say about attention spans and delighting customers
  • Mobile: A duo of oracles, Director of Product Marketing, Gili Guri-Mill, and VP of Products, Dilshad Simons, stir up some insights on the app vs. browser economy
  • Culture: And finally, Jive’s Strategist of Communications & Collaboration Solutions, Kathryn Everest, will behold the entire organizational ecosystem

 

Buckle up and stay tuned to our corporate blog - we have some exciting topics to discuss.

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Elisa Steele Jive's CEO, spoke today on CXOTalk about how social collaboration can create a connected workforce as well as connected customers. "At Jive, we believe in the power of human centricity and we make technology that helps people work better together" said Elisa.

 

At the heart of every company lies a passion for doing something different. For Jive, we want to change the way people work together.

 

Elisa explains that changing a company's culture is possible. First, accepting different workstyles and ways of thinking is important as is giving employees the tools to work across that spectrum. Next engage and empower employees at every level to drive a more transparent culture. Finally, work on digitizing and engaging with customers in order to really understand what their challenges are and how they perceive your brand.

 

Highlights include:

  • How collaboration technology helps build customer relationships
  • How can we transition digital technology from the personal world to the enterprise world (both internally and externally)
  • How collaboration technology can help solve business problems

 

Watch the interview now:

 

 

 

Let us know what you think!

 

For community managers, knowing the right questions to ask is the key to success. Why? If you can crack the code on what community members want and need from each other – and from the organization – then your content and conversations are much more likely to drive engagement. Plus, if you can meet your executives’ business needs through the community, then you will have a champion in your corner and some truly powerful outcomes to report.

With that in mind, we created this infographic to help community managers ask the right questions and deliver the right results.

10 Questions Every Community Manager Should Ask

We (Leader Networks) developed this infographic because the community manager role has recently stepped into the spotlight. Your business is finally waking up to the reality that you hold valuable insight into customer relationships – and that puts you at the center of customer strategy development! After all, who knows more about what the customer wants and needs than someone who interacts with them on a daily basis?

 

Your role becomes more strategic and you are no longer defined by basic metrics such as number of new members or views on recent content shares. As community manager, you will be called upon to fulfill two distinct functions. First, you will be tasked with creating a digital experience where customers are interacting with each other and your organization. Second, you must enable the community to solve a business problem or accelerate a business process online.

It’s not an easy job. However, knowing the right questions to ask is often the first step on the journey to success. We hope this infographic helps!

If you're a content publisher and use Jive, you've probably thought about whether you could make better use of Jive as a publishing platform. As the leader of Jive's technical documentation team, I've been thinking about this a long time. It's not that I don't believe in Jive for docs teams: I do! See Why Technical Documentation Needs Jive for details on how Jive helps us build technical information every day. That's why every time a customer or prospect has asked me SOOOOO, ARE YOUR DOCS IN JIVE? WHY NOT? over the years, I died a little inside. The fact is, we've been publishing in HTML webhelp, and PDF, but not in Jive. Until now.

 

It's with great pleasure and a lot of gratitude to Libby Taylor, Ben Walker, David Bastedo, Kevin Williams, Sid Bos, Melanie Jennings, and Leona Campbell--and especially to Suite Solutions, who provided the technology to get this done--that I can announce that we're starting to eat our own delicious Jive-brand dog food. Look right here to see the 8.0 Admin Guide in Jive format, with full Jive functionality!

 

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(That's Jiver dog Pickle demonstrating.)

 

Why Didn't We Do This Before?

Jive has made amazing progress toward supporting content authors, and we're making more all the time--we've added bulk upload, content sets, improved place curation and many other features in the last year and we're planning to ship more bulk content features in 2016. However, for documentation at scale (we publish more than 1000 topics for each version, and we know many customers have many more), we still have the following challenges, and we know some of our customers share them:

 

  • We need robust version control across many files
  • We EXTENSIVELY reuse content across versions and editions--our source is DITA XML, so we do that with a combination of branching, tagging, build-time filtering, and content referencing. There isn't currently a way to do that in Jive. We reuse content not only at the topic level, but down to the level of steps and table cells.
  • We need a hierarchical table of contents and inter-document linking that survives updates, because we have many topics and long-form content in chapters.
  • We need to be able to create multiple outputs from the same source.

 

Example:

Imagine you need to insert an identical legal notice in 45 out of 300 documents you've posted. . . somewhere in a space. Or that you need to find all the references to available bandwidth and change them by one digit--these are the kinds of updates that tech docs does routinely. In our XML editor, the first operation is a simple one-file update followed by a rebuild, and the second is a simple search-and-replace operation. Did we screw that up? Oops, let's just revert that whole change in SVN.

 

In Jive. . . search for some string in the content, open each doc individually, cut, paste, save--oh no, I missed a doc someone put in a different space. How did that happen? Wait, Legal changed the wording! I have to do it all over! Separately in each one of those 45 documents! This isn't scalable past a certain point.

 

The Solution: Write in DITA, Publish in Jive

Nope, we were not giving up our XML source--it just provides too much freedom and functionality. However, we have long thought that it would be useful to publish docs in Jive--provided we were able to write and maintain them with all that great document management functionality Jive doesn't (yet) have. This became a reality quite recently when Suite Solutions wrote a connector that transforms DITA XML content into HTML and injects it into a place in Jive--creating a hierarchical, interlinked document set complete with an auto-generated Table of Contents and breadcrumbs. It even gets automatically marked "Official"!  Voila--we create a versioned, semantically tagged source in DITA XML, and we can publish the content in three ways: as HTML5 webhelp (our regular docs at docs.jivesoftware.com), in PDF (embedded in the HTML docs for customers who like a print-like presentation), and as JIVE DOCUMENTS IN JIVE COMMUNITY, with the full Jive capability of sharing, commenting, rating, analytics, and so on.

 

Here is a sample topic screenshot. Note the breadcrumbs showing the hierarchy at the bottom. These links, as well as section TOCs, are auto-generated based on the hierarchy of our source files. You'll also see that internal cross-references are neatly converted to be links between Jive documents. You'll see version information at the top right of the file: every time we ship a new inline of Jive 8, or add a significant update, we'll overwrite each document in place, preserving any comments and other information just as if we edited and re-saved it manually instead of running a script.

 

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And here's what the nice searchable TOC page looks like. It's auto-generated from the same table of contents file we use for the HTML5 version of the 8.0 Admin docs (but here, it's expanded).

 

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How Does the Magic Happen?

A folder gets added to the DITA Open Toolkit (an open-source library we used to transform DITA XML files into living, breathing docs). This folder is integrated with the toolkit and uses custom XSLT to create a Jive-ready output. We then install an add-on in the destination community that will provide authentication access to post files using the REST API. Finally, we run a build script against the Jive Online Documentation ditamap (a hierarchical list of files that's also used to create our other documentation formats) that builds the Jive-format files from the latest content checked into our SVN repository, and posts them in the destination community.

 

So, What's the Plan?

Currently, we only have the Jive 8 admin docs out in Community. Ben Walker has connected the typeahead search in Supportal to pop up our Jive-format documentation (along with KB articles) when you start typing a case description, which should get you to relevant docs faster! We already have showing statistics showing Support case deflection based on reading documentation articles.

 

We also recommend bookmarking the Jive 8 Community Administration Help space for easy searching. The Documentation team monitors this space and will respond to comments on documentation topics, so feel free to put your questions and comments there as well as sharing, bookmarking, and linking these docs in Community.

 

Deploying multiple versions of the same content in a Jive community is raising some questions about search, but stay tuned for more products, editions, and versions to have docs in Jive soon. Happy reading and keep on Jiving!

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We are all members of this community because we believe in and understand the power of social collaboration. We live it and breathe it everyday. I want to share this case study because it puts into measurable numbers the power of an effective digital communications strategy that leverages the corporate intranet.

We all know that people care about money. And they part with it cautiously. Which is why one energy company couldn't understand why employees were not taking advantage of their phenomenal stock option benefits. Employees could scoop up company shares at a 40% discount!

Profits at the company were excellent, international headcount was up, the bottom line for this oilfield concern was gushing - but participation in the stock option program was flatter than a dime.

Employees simply weren’t buying in.

 

5 benefits in one communication tool

The moribund stock program was troublesome for the energy company because engagement was one of its key values. The leadership felt that investing in shares made employees stakeholders and participants in their own success. The program was well-supported, with a 50-page document outlining the details of the stock program to all 35,000 staff, plus yearly refreshers. Compensation specialists were trained in its workings and features.

What the energy company discovered was that a corporate-y program binder was a poor conversationalist. Teams had been trained to talk up features, but the concerns of employees fell behind.

So the energy company spearheaded a digital education and awareness effort. They placed a 4-question, 7-language, company-wide poll on their intranet which was amplified through an email campaign. They also took their communications offline by maintaining program awareness with face-to-face meetings.  The refreshed program was rolled out in just 3 weeks.

 

 

Poll Position: A 28% bump for enrolment

shutterstock_51159553.jpgThe poll blew the doors off!

  • 1,700 new enrollments were registered
  • 950 users increased their commitment

 

By moving the stock options program information out of dusty binders and into a digital collaboration space, the energy company achieved five goals:

  1. Education - The poll educated employees on the value of the stock option program in a greatly simplified and condensed way
  2. Engagement - Employees could pose questions (and read answers) that were both anonymous and transparent to other employees
  3. Metrics - It boosted awareness across language groups and circled areas where traction was strong or weak
  4. Alignment - It put the organization’s values right on the table. Teamwork. Performance. Learning.
  5. Savings - It saved the company $20,000 in printing costs

A key takeaway here is that the energy company wasn’t foisting a disliked idea on unwilling workers. The stock option program was generous and supported. The program wasn’t the issue, just the delivery of it.

Has anyone experienced something similar -- where your company or anyone you know tried to launch an initiative and its results only skyrocketed once it was brought into a social space?

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.

This is the first 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.

 

StrategyOpsTactics.jpgA community can succeed with a great strategy even if the community management tactics are poor.

 

A community will fail if the strategy is poor – even if the tactics are great.

 

Poor engagement is largely seen as a tactical problem – not enough members, the wrong type of members, not enough content, poor technology and more. This happens because community management tactics are the most obvious influence on engagement – and the one people see. While tactics do indeed matter, community strategy has a far bigger influence on engagement and overall success.

 

Community strategy is what harnesses the motivations of the community and, if it does this well, there are few tactical barriers big enough to dissuade the community from engaging.

 

Organizations have a tough time getting this right. They tend to think mostly about what they need. Take for example, the executive who is fired up to launch a community for a new product she is championing – and interested in exploring a new approach to generate interest and support customers. At first blush, it sounds like a good opportunity for a community approach – the organization is not risking existing revenue streams with an experimental approach, a new product offers an exciting opportunity and digital communications channels are a great mechanism for sharing information and attracting interest.

 

The problem? No one cares.

 

Why? No one uses the product… yet.

 

You can almost hear the crickets even before the community is launched.

 

So is it futile? Absolutely not. However, the existing strategy is likely to fail because it’s oriented around making the organization successful, instead of making its potential customer successful. There is no shared value. That means there is no reason for the customer to invest in it – and no motivation to engage.

 

What if instead, the community strategy focused on the problem solved by the new product? It’s a subtle but critical shift in orientation. It’s an approach that not only interests potential customers but it will also interest potential partners, analysts and media – making the community a place that hosts all sorts of discussions about the problem set, including conversations about how the new product addresses the problem. If it’s an important problem, potential customers are motivated to participate. The strategy defines a shared value – solving a problem – that both the organization and potential customers have a vested interest in solving.

 

The lack of a compelling community strategy is often the reason communities fail – the online environment and enterprise social networks are littered with dead spaces that failed to thrive because people confused having a place to meet with having a good reason to meet.

 

So, how can you build a community strategy that works?

 

Understand your target members.

  1. Understand the community environment and what competes for members’ time and attention.
  2. Define the shared purpose, shared value and business model that will support your strategy.
  3. Build a community roadmap that articulates how you will approach your community building.
  4. Recruit a member advisory board to get feedback.
  5. Review your community strategy, business model, roadmap and programming calendar with the advisory board and revise as needed until they are excited.

 

You may be able to skip some of these steps if you feel like you have sufficient insight into your key potential members and the environment in which the community will exist. However, getting feedback and ensuring there is excitement is a critical - and often missed – step.

 

Ensuring excitement is, in fact, a litmus test for a good community strategy. If you cannot find five potential members who are legitimately excited or intrigued about the prospect of the community, you need to revisit the community strategy and roadmap. No one wants to come to a party that lacks energy – the same is true for communities. This may create an inconvenient truth for executives or delay your community launch but getting it right will pay long-term dividends.

 

If the community’s shared purpose and value are compelling and the business model is structured to generate more value for members than they contribute, they will come back to engage again and again – and everyone will get more value out of the community than they invest into it.

I was excited for the opportunity to interview Alban Rampon, Enterprise Community Manager for the ARM Connected Community, as he is someone who is quite active in the Jive Community. Alban's WorkType profiles of Connector and Energizer made our interaction super smooth and extremely positive! Alban, I think your WorkTypes are right on! Thanks so much for being active in the Jive Community and for sharing a bit about yourself.

 

Leigh: Where do you work?

Alban: Hello Leigh, I work for ARM in Cambridge, UK. Not many people know us, but almost everyone is using our technology! Like a songwriter, we are commissioned to create the blueprints for chips. Then, for each song sold, we get royalties. For us to succeed, our partners have to succeed as the initial license fee is not enough to cover the R&D costs. Our community includes companies from every part of the ecosystem: semiconductor, operating system, mobile apps, etc. The chips are used in everything from vacuum cleaners, hard drives, mobile phones, tablets, cars and even in space. ARM Connected Community Partners List gives all companies who wish to publicly acknowledge enabling/using ARM technology.

 

Leigh: How would you describe your current job?
Alban: I am building relationships, connecting people and companies. I am the global community manager and community strategist and I'm delighted to have been invited to be a Jive Champion too.

Leigh: Hooray! Thanks for being a part of our Jive Champion program, Alban!

 

Leigh: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what was your WorkType?

Alban: Of course, I tried it as soon as the program was announced! My primary type is Connector and secondary is Energizer. I feel they are good matches. I tried the test a few times and I always get those two, even if the order sometimes differs.

 

Leigh: What was your favorite part of attending JiveWorld14?
Alban: Meeting the people I have been working with all year. I find the event exceptionally well organized. If you are working with online communities, I believe you should attend the event even if you're not yet a customer.
8114_Jiveworld_Avatar_0029f.jpg

Leigh: So how do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.)?
Alban: We have an external support, partner, thought leadership and private collaboration community. We want to make the most of the platform!

 

Leigh: What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?
Alban: I use a PC with Windows and Linux. I've wanted to try a Mac to brand a mobile app for our community with analytics and URL pre-configured... I just haven't found the time yet.

Leigh: Tell us what you use for your mobile device?
Alban: I'm always on mobile and use an iPhone, an iPad and an Android smartphone . A community never closes.

Leigh: You got that right!

KeepCalm_JoinARMConnectedCommunity.jpg

 

Leigh: Pick one word that best describes how you work.
Alban: I work on interruptions... except when I have my headphones on which means "please wait, your call is important to me..."
Leigh: So true! I think a lot of people work on interruptions, but you're one of the first to own it! Also, I like your strategy for limiting them.

 

Leigh: How do you stay organized? What's your favorite to-do list manager?
Alban: I love Wunderlist. They have been doing many integrations with other tools as well which is quite nice. I use it both at the office and at home, on all platforms... Give it a try, it's free.

Leigh: What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?
Alban: I used to think it was clinical, until I looked at a picture of it . I tend to have what I need to do or need to think about on my desk. Also, I use a white board with notes to prioritize what I have to do. That's the best way I found to make sure I remember everyone/everything. I am so organized at the office that I don't like scheduling anything in my holidays.

AlbanRampon_ARMGlobalCommunityManager.jpeg

 

Leigh: What do you listen to while you work?
Alban: I work in a noisy office with many people on the phone. When I need to focus, I put on my headphones with electronic music. I recommend deadmau5 and Daft Punk to guarantee isolation from ambient distraction!

Leigh: Totally agree that ambient distraction helps ensure isolation.

 

Leigh: Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Alban: I am definitely an extrovert. However, I do enjoy thinking time alone very much too. If you ask, everyone will definitely say an extrovert though.

Leigh: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?
Alban: "Document on your community..." Most likely from The John Schwiller. Let me explain why! Everything you do in your emails is NOT scalable and needs to be repeated each time you have a new team member. Document once in your community and everyone will be able to help you. It's been useful so many times and it makes it so easy to on-board community members.

It was great getting to know you, Alban. Thanks so much for sharing tips that help you work most effectively. Does anyone have any questions for Alban?

In Part IV of the Six-Part Blog Series on Social Business Strategy, I discuss the importance of having a clear vision of what success means and how to measure it.

 

In order for your social business launch to be successful, you need to have a clear picture of what success means. In the beginning stages success can be measured by participation. As your community matures look for other ways to measure success - the number of topics covered, reductions in the numbers of meetings, reductions in email usage.

 

The Importance of “Small Victories”

 

Small victories

Early in the game it’s important to have a number of “small wins” to build enthusiasm and help your team see the value of the program. These early success stories are essential for helping senior leadership see the value of social initiatives.

 

Social growth is an important key performance indicator for social intranets. Are your initiatives helping people move from passive consumption to participation? Are you encouraging participants to become contributors and social intranet evangelists?

 

It’s important to make it clear to employees what success means. Most people are hesitant to dive into online conversations, especially in the workplace where they are concerned about saying the wrong thing. Give them “low hanging fruit” so that they can engage in a safe, fun way.

 

Ranking and Liking - Easy Ways to Get Involved

 

In one organization readers were invited to “get their toes wet” by simply ranking online content. People who participated by clicking stars were thanked for the contribution. In a short period of time participants began to feel comfortable enough to initiate conversations around the articles they ranked.

 

Scheduling “just for fun” topics is a good way to provide a low barrier for entry and helping employees get over their hesitations about contributing. “Tell us about your best customer experience,” or “who is your workplace mentor?” are easy ways to help employees move from readers to participants to contributors.

 

It’s OK to Feel a Little Weird

 

Meaningful online conversations

In the roll-out phase interactions may sometimes feel forced, awkward or inconsequential. There needs to be an attitude of exploration and permission to try new things. The product sponsor and implementation leaders should touch base regularly with key participants to discover what is working and where improvements can be made.

 

Social business is dynamic. It grows and changes as participants find new ways to create value with the system. Your vision for success needs to be flexible and will change over time.

 

 

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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