Hey Kim - went we upgraded from 3.08 to 4.5.4 we did an e-card to all employees announcing the upgrade with a Link to our instance. If you are able to do something that allows individuals to simply click a link to get into the tool I think it will drive more traffic. You could also create some polls for quick participation once they are in or run a contest to encourage them to take a look around the tool. We have a "Seek and You Shall Find" contest running right now with prizes awarded for most correctly found answers to questions posted. Fun competition seems to drive participation with our employees. Hope this helps trigger some ideas for you.
While there are certainly things you can do to draw people into the community for the first time, remember that there is a natural adoption curve to this stuff too. Even if you can draw people into the community through slick marketing or a contest, they won't stay in unless there is a WIIFM factor, namely that their work is in the community so they have to use it. Two and a half years into our Jive adventure, our engagement efforts are almost solely focused on meeting with BUs to understand how the community can help them achieve their business outcomes. When we started having some successes there, we used those success stories to help convince other BUs that it was possible (e.g. our support organization's success has influenced our remote hosting and consulting organizations to action). I'm not saying that it's easy, but it sure does lead to the longest lasting engagement.
For a temporary bump up, contest work. Also the summer interns created a 3X increase in all my metrics. To get a more sustained increase, it needs to become part of the work process. We had a VP use a poll to get commitment to a transformation project. People started showing up in huge numbers since the VP was having Jive support send the poll results each week (who voted and what they voted).
Thanks everyone for your ideas so far. Brice - I couldn't agree more with your point about the WIIFM factor. For now we want to be able to shut down alternative staff directories so just getting people to login and update their profile is a big part of why we want to get people to visit even if it is for this purpose (would be great if they stayed as they can see what they are missing) In addition to this we are working on the success stories to help people understand how it can make a difference to their fay to day life and improve it.
Last week we also sent out an email from our Director of People instead of the information being in the bulk of the email, we included a link we are working on getting more executives to communicated in this way.