2 Replies Latest reply on Nov 10, 2011 5:45 PM by LeahOBP

    Building a community of contributors


      Thanks Grant Costello for asking the question about starting a blog here in the business space - we're both keen to get a discussion underway about engaging people in the companies where we have implemented our Jive community - so, as recommended, we'll start a discussion instead - be keen for the champions to add in here.


      Some Context


      Our community is called the ON2net and it is the space where we engage our client companies, empower them to source their tools and resources and excite them about their progress and the possibilities.  We have around 12 different companies currently utilising the ON2net for this purpose - and growing!  The focus is on having a tool to help share stories, ideas and best practice for implementing change, and to encourage leaders to explore how they can better collaborate within the business.  We want it to be the first space they go to when they are needing to find something on how to bring about change or build their internal culture.  For us, it's about shaping conversations.    It doesn't replace face to face conversations, but it enhances them and enables these conversations to live longer within the organisation we're working with.


      The Challenge


      During Jive11 we spoke with several internal community managers or leaders who were looking for ways to encourage greater participation in their community.  Of course, many of the communities have different purposes for why they exist and what the company wants to use them for, however, most are seeking an underlying objective of greater collaboration, sharing ideas and improving communication.


      The key question we hear most from people is:  how do you build peoples engagement to the tool (Jive) and get them to be active users?


      We're sure that you all have great experience in this area, and we know it might vary from client to client - but we're keen to start off a thread, share some experiences and hear from others.


      The Question


      Does this sound like a thread that would be of interest to others?  If so, we'll post some of our findings in the next few days.


      Starter for 10


      Here are a couple of recent insights we've gained from our clients and our experience - and my apologies if it feels like I'm teaching 'egg sucking' - I'm just going off some of the conversations we had at Jive11


      • Get started early.  We know that there are lots of things that need to be rejigged and adjusted with implementing Jive but the key thing is to get it up and running, and available for key people to use.  Your champions need time to explore it and understand how they will use it actively before advocating it to others.  We had our system up and running in 8 days.  It wasn't pretty but it was functional and allow the key people to play with it and begin to understand where it fits.  Now, as the 'super users' we're very familiar with the tool and love every new enhancement which we can explain with passion to our clients.
      • Start with working on the culture and communication.  Jive is a great tool - but just because its there, doesn't mean people will use it.  We found if we spend some time up front with people helping them explore what they would like by way of better communication and sharing, then when we show them Jive - its the answer to their needs. One client we have had recently - with a demographic that was deemed to be not aligned with social business platforms, has turned out to be our most successful and highest contributing user.  Why  - we built the need first, and answered it with the tool.
      • Actively manage the contribution in the early days.  Even if you have to stage it with some important people - C level managers.  Identify the influencers in the organisation and sit alongside them to help them contribute.    We put a huge effort into linking to other parts of the site, connecting whats happening in the business, patting people on the back, seeding other ideas.  Your community manager is vital.  We assign a person to each client, but we all have the responsibility to contribute to get the threads going.
      • Give users something to go to the site for.  We understand that some sites are purely conversation threads, but we use content as a way to encourage people to visit.  We drip feed content on a regular basis to ensure users find it of value so will visit more in the future.


      Really keen to hear other people ideas and perspectives.


        • Re: Building a community of contributors

          Hi Leah,


          That's great information above, so thank you. I do have a question for you though. I am about 6 months in my role as Community Manager and Jive was already in place for a year before I came aboard my particular team. Part of the problem we're facing, is that when transitioning to Jive from the existing platform, we (group at the time) was focused more on a quick transition of content than coaching to the audience. Unfortunately, because of this our audience was not coached in the early stages and buy-in from that group dropped. Now we're trying to backtrack and start over when our audience has their mind made up due to our lack of coaching early on.


          Do you have any suggestions how to rebuild that rapor and how to get our audience vested back into our site?


          Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



            • Re: Building a community of contributors

              Hi Kristen

              Yep, it's always easy in hindsight to see what could have been done but you no doubt made the decision to focus on the transition of the content for a good reason at the time.  Actually, it's important to have the content there, as that is a big draw card for people.  Not really knowing what you're trying to achieve from your site, or how you want people to use it, or if it is internal or external but here's a couple of suggestions:


              • You're still relatively new as the Community Manager so have the opportunity to use this as a reason to go out to your audience and get some opinion/feedback about what they want from the site.  You could outline your vision of what a great community could be like and start to act as an on-line coach on the site.  You may even acknowledge that this hasn't been a focus, but you're dedicated to changing it.   I know its difficult when you don't get responses - for example, there have been 85 views of this post, and you're the only person who has responded - that doesn't mean others haven't found it useful - they're just not engaged enough yet to respond.
              • Not sure if you use the polls but we find these really easy ways of getting some engagement - especially if you can make them slightly fun.  The gamification session at Jive11 highlighted why this works so well.  You can run a series of questions or even quizzes to get people engaged around what they want from the site.
              • Can you get to some of your users in person?  If so, can you find some 'activists' who you can plant to start conversations and get dialogue going.  The more senior they are the better - even if you write the content for them!
              • Interesting content encourages people to the site - if they know its there.  Not sure of the settings you have for people but you can prompt them by personal emails to let them know whats been uploaded.
              • Personal messages about special interest topics - it shows you're understanding the audience needs, and looking out for things of interest - time consuming but necessary in the early parts of engagement.
              • Do you have face to face engagement events - eg regular meeting sessions, workshops etc where you can ensure your Jive site is positioned as THE place to go to for information.
              • Having smaller groups which are targeted to the interest group topic seems to work rather than one large environment (for us).  We use groups extensively and they are all have a design component so that they are easily identifiable.  You could do this by inserting an image into the formatted text widget.
              • Integrate the site into everything you do in the business where possible.  Do you use it as a central document repository as well (intranet).  The more that your site is the integration tool the better.
              • If your company is geographically distributed, this is a great way to build the collaboration - seeding questions, insights and good stories encourages participation.  Especially stories about people - they love reading about themselves.
              • Photos and images are great to load as well - they ensure people go to the site and not just read the email.
              • We track participation rates and points and publish these (for the internal users) - we track, reward and recognise contribution.  And, we provide leaders with the site contribution points for the key people.  It starts a dialogue in the business about walking the talk.  After all, the business has invested in the site, they want to maximise the ROI.


              Hope that's helpful.