We have advocates organized into two groups; Engage (the name of our instance) Advocates and Friends of Engage. The latter is asked to help spread the word and add their expertise to a group called Get Help With Anything. The former are the ones I consult about sensitive issues, help me develop documentation and help test the upgrades. Rewards for Friends are easier because they have less experience. So, sharing my time and knowledge suffices as a way of thanking them. Engage Advocates are a much more savvy crowd. So, I have to personalize. Does someone want a recommendation on LinkedIn? Maybe another wants me to follow their group acting as a friendly user. Basically, I am subject to them coming to me and telling what they need; which can only be done with a smaller group of advocates.
This was a topic that came up in the most recent UK User Group when discussing driving adoption .
We recently founded an advocate group with ambassadors from across all departments to encourage engagement. We gave them a refresher on Jive basics, described the objectives for our instance, the roles and purpose of the advocates, best practices and covered WIIFM.
Our next step is having them create individual goals for their spaces so that they really own it! We will be using the CM reports to measure how effective their efforts have been. Luckily our HR team has agreed to allow people use their new responsibilities as community ambassadors toward their performance reviews. This along with the fact the skills gained look nice on a CV have been our main incentives. Giving stats on views and showing how "Jive has impact" also helps people feel empowered.
If anyone has suggestion on how to train advocates on managing spaces that would be great. Dina Vekaria-Patel, you mentioned your team has done this. Could you shed some light?
Hi Jasmine - I'd be keen too to have additional support / resources managing groups and space owners -
I've found that since moving to 7, and having Overview vs Activity pages, changes in the management tools, and one really buggy Showcase Members widget, many of my good, well trained advocates (space and group owners), are now feeling lost and disoriented.
I can give you two sides to the story as I was asked to be an advocate and was for a year, before I joined the Neo (our Jive instance) team.
I was sent a personal invitation by the head of the Neo team, which made it feel really important and valuable. The email outlined what an advocate is, what my role in this programme will be, what i'm expected to provide on a monthly or quarterly basis and most importantly, what the Neo team are going to give me in return for my time. They cherry picked me and all the other advocates based on how we demonstrated proficiency and continued engagement and collaboration within the community. The programme was an opportunity for me to showcase my expertise and network with other advocates. The other important bit, it was something that I could add to my performance review. They picked me because:
- I showed regular and continued engagement in Neo.
- I had a complete profile, which wasn't the norm back then.
- I joined and participated in at least several open, work-oriented groups.
- I frequently participated in discussions about any topic, giving my insight, voicing my opinion and concerns.
- I helped answer questions and assisted my colleagues in the community and more...
You can tailor the criteria you use to recruit your advocates, based on the behaviours of your community. Remember that your existing advocates can recommend other potential advocates.
Then came my part in all of this, I had to bring about substantial change in one or more of the following areas:
- Profile completion
- Group membership and engagement
- Increase Neo adoption by posting projects, calendars, ideas, documents, etc. on Neo
- Support Neo initiatives
- Reduction in email by posting content on Neo instead
- Use Neo to save the business time and / or money or helped demonstrate how Neo adds business value
In order to keep the Champion program effective, the Neo team reviewed the programme on a regular basis. They understood that an advocates job role / requirements may change and that, over time, the advocate may find themselves unable to devote time to the program. If this is the case, we were allowed to opt out and if possible, suggest a local replacement. This meant, i didn't feel pressured or tied down, it all felt really flexible and free. Because of this level of participation, the Neo team needed to ensure the advocates manager knew about their involvement with the program and ensure proper support was given by the manager as well as the Neo team.
Advocates had ongoing activities:
- Training: Offer training / workshops to colleagues (from novices to super users) including helping users set up and customise (business-related) groups. Also assist users on an individual basis, when needed, in posting / community etiquette.
- Helping identify where Neo can be used locally, e.g, an email newsletter that could be posted on Neo; the introduction of a new system that could use Neo as a "home base" for questions / issues / manuals; identifying local individuals / departments that would be crucial to Neo adoption, e.g., the corporate communications or HR teams.
- Assisting with intranet migrations.
- Supporting new users by liking content, responding to discussion questions / status updates, emailing / private messaging them (when appropriate), etc.
- Guest blogging: be willing to contribute to the Neo Champion blog.
- Attend Monthly calls: update other Champions on local activities / challenges.
- Suggest potential Neo Rock Stars
Advocates also had optional activity:
- Moderation: Answering questions / reviewing answers / forwarding questions as needed.
- Create training and WebEx recording to share locally and with the champion group
- Host or deliver Neo Master Class sessions
The Neo Team
Once I was in the team, it was one of my roles to ensure this programme continued to run effectively. So what did we promise them:
- Monthly calls with the Neo team and other advocates - the calls covered training, sharing of best practice (including participation) and updates on ongoing bugs, fixes and improvements to Neo.
- The Champions will be the sound board for future changes, ideas and first look exclusives of new features on Neo.
- Local support where required and acknowledgement of their role through the execs in their business area.
- Neo swag for their desks and work space. This included, mugs, lanyards, mouse mats, wristbands, badges etc.
- 1:1 sessions as and when required to support them in their role as a Neo Champion.
- Mentoring and guidance in tackling some of the Neo challenges, to enable them to act as a Neo consultant for business challenges.
It wasn't perfect and we had a lot of challenges throughout. Our community is over four years old now, so the programme has now died a natural death, so to speak. The more our users starting exploring Neo and using it for themselves, the advocate programme wasn't as busy as it once used to be. At the start, having this programme had a huge impact on our users using Neo and a huge help for the Neo team, they were the wider team who could take on their business area and help engage them.
We may be four years old, but we still have work to do in engaging those who haven't jumped on communities and all they have to offer, we're thinking up new ways to engage our business and help them collaborate on Neo.
I'm a newbie to community management, Kim England, anything you would like to add, as you were the one to implement this programme.
Great post Dina, and very helpful in bringing to light what the core objectives of an advocate program should be.
We have officially kicked off our advocate program last month and already have over 300 sign-ups complete from all of the lines of business, spanning across 8 countries and over 60 cities. Our goal is to have a "connect advocate" on every team to influence, engage, and increase adoption across the organization. With the very very end-state being that EVERYONE is a Connect advocate!
We created a community that housed a sign-up sheet, it requires:
- Completed profile with picture and we asked that they add "rbc_connect_advocate" as a skill
- If they manage a community - @ mention it
- Their current point balance (which must be over 500 pts OR they have to complete the online or in-person training)
- 5 advocacy tasks that they must describe or @ mention.
For signing up they got entered in a draw to recieve one-on-one consulting time with our Connect Centre of Excellence, a special advocate badge, and their name on an Advocate Directory that is organized by line of business.
- Influence content creation and feedback in the group by releasing polls on different topics to spark discussion.
- Release monthly advocacy challenges that require them to create content such as successes or best practices. We select winners from the submissions to recieve things like Performance Points (monetary), consulting time, networking opportunities, or homepage features or shout outs in the monthly report.
- Monthly report: featured on our Connect homepage, it showcases:
- The Advocate Program at a Glance (stats and figures on who has joined and from where)
- Inside the Community (community reports metrics and top contributers of the month)
- Advocact Challenge of the Month (results - announce who won and showcase their content)
- What does the poll say? (results from the monthly poll and some quotes from the comment section)
- What's coming up next month...
- We will be doing our first round table call at the end of the month via WebEx and recording it for all the advocate to hear. It will allow people to share best practices and successes, as well as open up a Q&A so advocates can have their questions answered by each other or by the Connect CoE.
- We are currently running the program on a 3 month trial.
- It has taken off quite quickly and we see a solid future for the program; however, we need to work to make it more self sustaining as it is proving to be a large time commitment.
- How can we continue to grow the community, motivate our advocates, and reward good behaviour while lessening the amount of work for our CoE?
I thought I would give an update on how we are keeping our advocates engaged since the programme kickoff.
1. Kick off training agenda:
- The role of an advocate
- Jive best practices
- Jive internal objectives
- Basics refresher
2. Relaunch of Jive to company.
- Incentivized advocates to get their teams involved in the relaunch activities.
3. Space management agenda:
- Designing overview pages
- Widgets and space configuration
- Advocates created Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound (S.M.A.R.T) goals for their own spaces.
4. Achieving and monitoring goals agenda:
- Identified themes in advocate goals
- Recommendations and examples of how to achieve
- Discuss and choose actions
- Monitoring improvements: Space reports training
- Schedule review sessions to discuss status, effectiveness of actions, barriers, learnings and how we can support.
Having advocates create their own objectives that align with our overall goals has really helped them feel they own their space. It has also helped in finding team specific use cases we otherwise would be unaware of.
We would love to hear how others are managing their groups and keeping traction after launch!