Welcome back to our 6 Strategies to Revitalize Your Community blog series. Today we’ll tackle a perennial favorite of community managers everywhere: how to get your executives engaged.
Getting leaders engaged is a very important aspect of keeping employees engaged in your community. In fact, in a survey we ran a few years ago of more than 400 Jive customers, senior leaders acting as role models was one of the top three success factors for community adoption. This makes sense: if executives aren’t supporting your space and using Jive, it’s hard to make a case that it’s valuable enough for employees to spend their time on.
Let’s see how engaged executives really are “in the wild” of current Jive communities. In our six strategies for revitalizing your community webinar, we asked attendees whether their execs were engaged. The results:
Not too bad. More than three-quarters of participants have at least some engagement from their leadership, which is a great place to start.
Getting leaders engaged doesn’t have to be a big process and, more importantly, doesn’t have to require much from the executives themselves. Start simply. Identify even one executive to whom you can clearly communicate the value and utility of the platform. That person can help motivate other members of the leadership team. One-on-one training or reverse mentoring works well. Most executives don’t like to sit in a room with a group of people for a training or watch a webinar, so a little hand-holding goes a long way to meeting your goals.
You can reach out to others in your community for help with engaging your leadership as well. Remember that awesome advocate network that you built? Ask those advocates for help, especially if they have existing relationships with execs. Executive assistants can be a huge asset too. Get them trained on Jive so they can work with their boss on the basics, like logging in and completing their profile, or assist them with writing and posting updates.
When you’re getting started, don’t ask for much: leaders can simply like, comment on, or share a post, thank someone, or post a status update if you use them. In the latter case, give them concrete ideas for things they can talk about; a conference they’re attending, whether they’re speaking and what about, what they’re up to on any given day. Between Facebook and LinkedIn, most people are used to liking things and posting updates, so this shouldn’t be much to ask - but it goes a long way in demonstrating engagement to your employees.
If you’d like to get your executives blogging, they often need a helping hand. You can suggest topics or even do the writing. The Ghost Blogging tool is an excellent way to write something on behalf of an executive and post it under their name. That way, the exec can hopefully still answer questions and respond to comments without someone doing it for them.
Best case scenario, of course, your leaders are doing their own writing, or at least their own posting. If you have a large leadership team and/or folks who are reticent to post every week or so, create a “Leadership Corner” where every member of the team contributes based on your schedule or content calendar. Let’s say you have eight leaders. If you spread it out between them, each executive would only need to post every two months - and again, you can help with topics and editing as need be.
Executives are notoriously competitive. Highlighting the success you achieve with one leader can be a powerful incentive to get the others to join in. For instance, you could create a special private Rewards quest just for leadership. I’ve also seen a customer take it public with a “Leader Leaderboard” so that everyone at the organization could see who was the most engaged and the most active. They report that climbing the leaderboard was incredibly motivating for the leaders to be more active in the community.
How else can executives get engaged? They can run a town hall meeting, ask-me-anything sessions, or idea jams within Jive. In a town hall, for example, you can have a place where people can ask questions between and during the meeting and where the questions are answered at the end. The recording of the town hall meeting can also live in that place once it’s complete.
With ask-me-anything sessions, a leader agrees to be online for a certain hour on a certain day and people can come to the group and ask their questions. Like it sounds, the leader agrees to answer, either by writing down their responses or in a live conversation. Idea jams can happen around any idea, but I like it when the exec is the one who pushes the idea out there and asks everyone else to contribute their feedback.
Hopefully these ideas will make it easier to engage your executives in your Jive community. For more ways to revitalize your community, check out the other posts in this six-part series:
- Optimizing for mobile
- Improving search
- Recruiting and maintaining an advocate network
- Personalizing your communities
- Sharing your successes