14 Replies Latest reply: Sep 30, 2011 2:28 PM by disaacs RSS

    Best method to seed organic community growth

    john ridings

      Hi everyone. I am helping launch an internal community. Launch is a few weeks away. I doubt "build it and they will come" is going to work effectively. What are a couple "best practices" to ensure awareness about community function and capability? I believe a community approach is very culture driven. How can I "seed" a community culture? Thanks for your feedback. john r

        • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
          mdcrocker

          Hi,

          We were (and still are) very low key in our marketing of the internal community.  What has worked is shifting internal communications and executive communications to the community.  On the intranet, we then link to the content.  We also have the executive communications point folks to the community as the place to go to ask questions.  Get organization to setup and use the community instead of email to collect and respond to suggestions, issues, etc.  may sure they promote the usage in their presentations.

           

          The key is to get the community integrated into the work flow so that using it is how we get work done instead of in addition to doing work.

           

          Mike

          • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
            sbrown

            I agree totally with Mike's suggestion (particularly integration), but for us that's a challenge because our entire enterprise is not yet on the platform, so linking from our intranet to content on Jive would only work for those that have access. We have taken a few different approaches and they seem to be working rather well;

            1. Executive sponsorship is important, but not enough. They MUST also participate.

            2. Our execs are now posting a quarterly newsletter that pertains only to this community. It is their only way of reader ship.

            3. Our execs are running fun contests that, while does pertain to the work they do, generates a lot of interest, conversation and excitement. There will be awards as well.

            4. We had our production team produce a slick video that interviewed a few of us, execs included, where we discussed the whats, whys and hows. The video was viewable worldwide.

             

            When your users actually SEE the execs not only participating, but encouraging, your adoption rates will begin to go up.

            • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
              Jem Janik

              For every group or space you have - fake it.  Get the people who are excited about your community and willing to post when there is nothing there and ask them via backchannels to post.  If you group is about Q&A ask someone to post a questions and someone else to answer.  If it's about sharing materials and giving feedback ask two people to share something and another two people to come comment.  It's kinda cheating, but then when new people join the community they will already see the expected behaviors for your calls to action.

                • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
                  Tracy Maurer

                  And although what Jem is suggestiong may feel like cheating, if you do it in such a way that it answers real-world questions, or posts content that people would be reading in the community anyway, then it really isn't cheating. It is about setting it up with valuable content, just like you would with an old-fashioned intranet. You wouldn't expect people to visit that if there was one blog post from the CEO and two HR documents - you need content!

                    • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
                      sbrown

                      Agreed. As Community Manager fror my strategic business unit, I challenged people to step up to the plate and 'Ask a question'. I rewarded the first few with a small token. I asked that they post the question relative to the communities business. It worked, people stepped up, and there were great conversations. I think the comfort level grew as well. What I noticed however was that it seemed as if people may be "afraid" to rate the answer as 'Correct' for fear that perhaps it's actually not. We'll see how that goes...

                       

                      Hey Jem.. looking forward to seeing you at JiveWorld! We met last year up in Boston and on that cool Harbor cruise..  c ya!

                  • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
                    john ridings

                    Thanks everyone. These are all very helpful points. A good friend of mine used to say, "if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying". I will certainly impress upon the leadership team their role in adoption. If I meld together jemjanik and sbrown inputs, the exec team would be the seed posters. I also really like the video approach. Bitly recently published a tidbit that video links have the longest half life of all content links. People like to see, not read I suppose. The old picture is worth a thousand words rule.

                      • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth

                        Hi John, some really good stuff here - we definitely found seeding content to be helpful. Nothing wrong with helping things along a bit!

                         

                        We have the 'recent activity' widget on our homepage and I've also noticed a 'virtuous circle' effect, where people tend to reply to content that's appearing in the widget, which then puts the replies in that widget and it gets more replies... you see where I'm going with this!

                         

                        The other thing that I think really helps is having some advocates or champions in different bits of the business who can answer questions that people may have. Sometimes people are reluctant to post a 'how do I' question in a public forum because they think it's a silly question, but they might be more comfortable asking someone that they know.

                         

                        Good luck with your launch.

                        • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
                          mdcrocker

                          Hi,

                          One “AH HA” that we got on video is that not all the folk have headphones and with the cubicles, video is not seen as  useful.  We are looking at adding the 3 main points on the video page so that folks who can not view it at least get the main ideas.

                           

                          The Jive video module will start playing automatically when you hit the page, which is a pain.

                          Mike

                          • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
                            Tracy Maurer

                            Gonna chime in here with something from another thread. Keep in mind that sometimes video in the workplace doesn't work as well as it does at home, due to cubicles and a lack of headsets for all employees. Just something to keep in mind, especially since I know video hasn't taken off for us like we assumed it would.

                          • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
                            ChristopherHall

                            While this might not be a "best method" per se, I think it’s a valuable visual to consider when planning your seed content.

                             

                            Some context: I've been spending the past few weeks preparing for our November Jive launch here at Liberty Mutual. I've modified Game Theory and Gamification taken from video game design philosophy and applied it to social business collaboration:

                             

                             

                            Seeding Content 2.png

                            As you seed more content over time, members will eventually gain the impression that activity and content is organic and that their peers are participating, thereby reducing and doubt they had around "social acceptance." We have to understand that a majority of the current workforce has little to no experience with social networking. Seeding content in increasing increments will simulate organic growth. Avoid presenting all of your seed content at launch or in quarterly offerings.

                             

                            Uploaded the Wrong Picture! Correct is now visible. Message was edited by: Chris Hall

                            • Re: Best method to seed organic community growth
                              disaacs

                              There are some good responses here.  We are in the middle of our launch. We are doing some marketing such as company newspaper, company close circuit news channel, posters and promotional items. I have also begun a "road show" where I am holding interactive presentations across our enterprise.  But outside of those typical methods one method that is working for me is to do some customize presentations. For example, I searched through our company's intranet and made a few lists:

                               

                              Organizations that appear to be the most web saavy

                              Organizations that appear to be require the most collaboration

                              Top Five Executive Bloggers

                              Top Ten Potential Employee Bloggers

                               

                              I actually made these lists and I spend my time connecting with these organizations and people and sharing the benefits of Jive.  I noticed an employee in one of our business units had started a simple webpage to engage employees in the process of process improvements.  I reached out to that employee and his management - they are now considering how to leverage our social media platform.  I discovered that one of our directors had a personal blog and twitter account. I approached him and he is on board with our internal Jive platform and is one of my strong champions.