4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 25, 2013 2:52 PM by tmaurer

    How to identify the right advocates / evangelists?


      We are getting ready to start our SBS implementation project and we want to have a group of advocates / evangelists taking part in this journey.

      Any ideas how do we identify those people in the organization?

        • Re: How to identify the right advocates / evangelists?

          I found advocates in two ways and I would say it depends on the size of your company.


          My company is small enough (5,000) that I had our senior team identify 1 or 2 advocates from each department.  I asked for associates that were social media savvy, had a good report with co-workers and had time to learn.  Most of my advocates are not managers or directors, just your everyday employee. Those that agreed were granted early access to our site to begin to figure it out and their duties have been added to their performance review....it is now part of their job.


          Once we launched to the rest of the associates a few more became advocates. They were the people that naturally got it and wanted everyone else to get it and love it too. 


          I did create a private group for the advocates.  It's a place where we can try things out, where I can keep them in the loop of changes or campaigns and ask for their input on next steps.  They like to be included in the planning of where our site is going.


          Good luck, it's an exciting time.

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          • Re: How to identify the right advocates / evangelists?

            Hi Nitsan, I am sure you'll get varied answers on this, but that is good since this is not a one size fits all situation. My company is about 55k people, so at first it was a bit difficult to determine who might be interested in social media or social platforms at work. Here is what we did: For the first six months (while infrastructure was being built), we spread the word and allowed advocates to self-identify. I basically began by sending an email to the users of our wiki and told them a bit about the new platform and invited them to sign up as advocates. There were no restrictions to signing up. I then engaged folks via a community, and posed weekly questions about the new platform and features to start to get people involved. Advocates got access to a sandbox and they were invited to do some testing for us. In May, they were allowed into the platform early when we started our soft launch, to start creating content-- this is when they started to differentiate themselves in terms of their knowledge, interest, and savvy. The advocates that are most active are the ones I can depend on to help me out-- I often point folks their way when questions arise.


            We recently launched enterprise-wide, and our change management team engaged the advocates during our rollout to help train folks-- you can read about that in my response here: Ratio of advocates to community members


            Now, all that said-- if you don't have 6 months to build up to this type of approach, and would like to take a more targeted approach, I'd recommend:

            1) start with people you know and ask them to recommend others that may be social media savvy;

            2) use an existing distribution list to "announce" the coming of Jive and ask for volunteers-- you could then "screen" them through an informal interview, or maybe a short quiz about using social media, or you could friend/follow them on FB and twitter, etc, and engage with them there, if that's appropriate (this might be an indicator of their savvy or interest);

            3) if you have a recruiting program at your workplace, I'd say target any new college hires-- they will be a great assets for you and can likely engage in a reverse-mentoring program should you choose to set one up;

            4) If you have a brand, marketing, or digital program at your company, target those folks as well by asking them to be involved.


            And I wouldn't worry about having too many advocates-- so far, I've found that the ones who are not as "into it" fall by the periphery soon enough.


            Hope this helps, and good luck!

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            • Re: How to identify the right advocates / evangelists?

              I agree with the suggestions above and I would also emphasize the importance of allowing advocates to emerge versus being identified / targeted by you. (Melissa mentions this above as point #2.) Obviously, you want to be efficient and target those people who are already known to be technically proficient / savvy with social media (and with how your company works), but with large organizations -- and we are all large otherwise we wouldn't be using Jive! -- it's impossible for one person / team to find the most enthusiastic advocates. I speak from personal experience -- I was not one of the initial "evangelists" but I did learn about the beta launch of our Jive instance via an email newsletter that went out to the entire company, Fast forward a year and I am now a Community Manager!


              Once you have "signed up" your initial advocates and created a group for them as others have suggested, you can then allow other users to join that group (assuming they are enthusiastic, involved and knowledgeable) -- we've done this with success with users who were not initially identified as advocates (or who weren't yet hired when we launched). You may want to set certain requirements for membership to your advocates group, e.g., complete profile and / or a certain number of points (or something else that proves engagement).

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              • Re: How to identify the right advocates / evangelists?

                We've had varied success, and it honestly goes to show that even inside a single company it isn't one size fits all.


                We do have one division where the management team selected a group of local community managers. We hadn't expected it to be a winning proposition since they didn't "emerge", but since the role gave them extra visibility to their divisional leaders (they periodically present to the board), they have generally risen to the occasion. Not all of them necessarily understood Jive to start with, but they were motivated to learn how (and why) to use it. Instead of us pushing to train them, they came asking for help. And it has largely worked for their division, increasing the usage that we'd previously seen.


                Another division decided it made sense to have their internal comms folks have this written into their job descriptions. They are allotted a specific percentage of time per week to devote to it. Since it is part of their acknowledged role, they can be comped on it and not feel like it is extra work. Again, they didn't necessarily know how to use Jive, but they aren't reluctant to learn or to reach out.


                If we could reproduce this reliably across divisions, it would be great. I wish it was that easy.  Best of luck!