Managers engage, so do we as ‘community’ champions
Having a community or network (intranet or social network) is one thing, growing it and building trust is quite another. Engagement of users, be they employees or customers is vital for the strategy to be sustainable and successful. Remember the 90:9:1 rule, our goal must be to beat this.
As organizations become more geographically diverse, having the ability to share knowledge, communicate and network is a competitive advantage. Using networks, forums and channels effectively as communication strategies can support both internal and external people. Interestingly the same principles apply, however we seem to focus better on customers than we do employees in this matter.
Below are some ideas and tips that I like to follow, to ensure that I have a healthy and growing community. These can be used for networks for customers and employees.
- Listen – you have to listen to your users and potential users. Don’t ignore the important things your members have to say to you
- Respond – Ignore users of your service at you peril, especially when they care enough to take the time and energy to tell you what they think
- Follow up – When an employee asks you a question or leaves a fantastic comment, don’t just leave them hanging. Tell them that you’ll get back to them shortly – and then do. If your members get no response from you or the rest of the community, then why would they come back?
- Update content – There is nothing worse that your content looking months old and out of date, it makes the community feel abandoned
- Nurture your champions, advocates and top contributors – An important factor in creating an engaged community is to ensure that you nurture and reward the top contributors on your site or space.
- Demonstrate action – You should be regularly reporting back to the community with updates on what’s happening, which of their suggestions have been acted on, which ideas are the most popular etc.
- Be personable – The managers and communicators of any community should be a person first, not a corporate front.
- Re-engage – It’s very common for members to become busy, forget to visit your community, and become disengaged. Send out a regular newsletter or other appropriate communication (Twitter/ yammer?), you can let people know what’s happening and is a great way to gently remind people that you’re still there
- Engage other social networking sites & channels – Depending on your member base, it’s likely that they regularly visit sites such as these, and shouldn’t be ignored or expected that people will always remember to come to you
- Be open and authentic – people understand when they’ve made an unreasonable request, and by openly explaining why you are unable to act on some ideas builds respect and loyalty among your user base.
- Remember – you are all one community, help people to ‘own’ the platform. If they feel the platform is ‘theirs’ they will commit more time and energy
Ok so I started out by saying there would be 10.. you have an 11th – justa little added value… ;)