Getting it right first from the start – articles, documents and data

One of the biggest obstacles to the success of a social intranet launch and adoption of the channel is the inability for the end-user to upload content correctly. There is nothing worse or more time-consuming for an intranet manager than constantly being asked ‘how to’ especially when the solution is very simple. In truth this is through poor planning from the IM. Better communications around the launch can bridge the knowledge gap, but there are other ways to create clear understanding in the end-user;

Document important processes and instruction manuals and make these available to all. These document don’t have to be text heavy. The best instructions I’ve seen are visual and fun. Think Ikea instructions – but better. Ideally these documents would be sent to every end-use in the business, if cost is an issue downloads are fine.

Offer training throughout the launch period. Hands-on training beats and instruction manuals every day. Offer both online training for end-users and face to face sessions. I would suggest running a theme through these session rather than adopting the ‘drop-in’ approach and run the sessions with a story taking the end-user from point a to point b. Capture these sessions and add these to a help section on the intranet.

Use forums and a dedicated area on the platform to offer help. If you can catalogue questions,  discussions and training sessions online do so and make them as social as possible. You will find there are users in the business who are wiling to share their knowledge and help others.

Write an FAQ page and stick the link in as many pages as possible. In some cases this reduce non-essential questions by up to 20%.

If you put these channels in place you should have capable end-users who are equipped to use a social intranet efficiently.

If you have anymore to add just add them to the comments below…

 

Disrupt our Hospitals

Due to a family illness I spent the end of last week in a hospital in the UK. I’m still shocked at the communication tools on offer both for staff and for patients, I understand there is no money in the country let alone the NHS to fund such improvements in ”the patient experience, but surely there is enough research into the ‘healing powers’ of community, interaction and engagement for individuals who are suffering and going through a difficult period.

I’ll focus on the patients on the wards I walked through first, these were normal wards you see in every hospital, being in the Cotswolds it probably wasn’t as bad as I’ve seen (Royal Sussex, I’m looking at you), but the level of boredom on the patient’s faces was unbelievable. Not surprising really given that they could only really read the Daily Mail or The Sun or stare at the other patients. Surely it’s in the longer term best interest for everyone to keep these patients occupied and engaged in the outside world whilst they are in the ward. Yes, ok they are supposed to be resting but no-one will force any mass participation of online activity. So what am I suggesting, here goes;

Specially designed Terminals which offer internet access, software which enables the patient to learn about their issues (what is going on and what will need to be done in the future), a sort of opt-in social network enabling patients to find others who have similar issues and start the building or integrating into a support network after they leave the hospital. Even something as basic as finding other patients with similar interests would surely go along way to keep spirits up.

Cost is prohibitive, but I’d really like to see a study on recovery period and interactions and communications over a set period.

The other side is why-oh-why aren’t Nurses and Doctors walking around with ipads continually logged onto patient database which is updated immediately, after every visit, consultation or change in the patient? We endured the nightmare of watching our relative move wards only to find out the Nurses on the second ward didn’t actually know the full extent of her problems. This would not have been the case had the staff been empowered with technology and not tied up carrying clipboards and notes around with them.

Given that the last national NHS digital implementation went something like 11 million over budget and was delivered 2 years late I’m not holding my breath for any change any time soon.

10 tips on how to drive adoption on your social intranet

  1. Identify the purpose of the platform against a business need. Drill down what the platform is actually for and structure your strategy accordingly
  2. Plan content on the basis of the business need/goal. Plan relevant content and link it to what is going on in the business at that time. This gives users ideal discussion topics
  3. Plan how you are are going to curate content – give feedback to authors early on their posts and make sure standards are clearly explained
  4. Write guidelines and as much support material as possible. Think of the lowest denominator when doing so
  5. Identify early adopters within the audience and start the dialogue early. Gather feedback from them and listen to what they say
  6. Identify Champions/Maverns and Rock stars, engage them and work with them to build a community around them
  7. But don’t forget the little guy. Ensure communications and adoption techniques are reaching everyone
  8. Reward and incentivise  emerging users and promote great content from users
  9. Make sure the content is delivered through words, visuals, video and podcast – everyone is different and everyone chooses to process information in different ways
  10. Use ‘nudge’ techniques encourage leaders to comment on articles and engage in what is being shared.

Related article

How to build a social intranet

The importance of narrative

I have a friend, a very good friend, we share the same outlook on life, we
both work in the digital industry and we both share a passion for sport,
technology and generally interesting stuff. We get on well. To us, life is
one long conversation, we think nothing of sending an email with nothing
in the subject field and just a URL in the message field, we use iPhones to
send photos and SMSs of interesting things to each other without really
having a set dialogue and we use Skype to connect and share during the
day.

Nothing abnormal there you might think. Perhaps you are right but what
I find interesting is our ability to build a narrative around our everyday
lives through multiple platforms. What I find even more interesting is
how we can actually maintain two different conversations on two different
platforms simultaneously, even if the mood is darker on one platform and
jolly on the other platform.

The ability to build narrative is important nowadays especially for
communicators; audiences and messaging have become so fragmented that
there has to be a story behind the communication, the narrative builds a
sense of inclusion to the audience or in my friends and I’s case both of us.
Most importantly it connects us to the bigger picture – the story behind the
messages.

The story-behind-the-messages. This is ultimate goal for every
communicator, getting the audience to ‘get’ the bigger picture. Using
narrative is a great way to do this – if the narrative is right then every
message should resonate with the reader, if the narrative is wrong,
messages will be misinterpreted and potentially distrusted. Building
the brand narrative takes time and like a personal narrative, takes a lot
of commitment and understanding from both parties. There is no right
or wrong way to getting the right narrative in a corporate context, it’s a
question of building trust and rapport.

I mentioned earlier that my friend and I communicate constantly and
build up narrative through a variety of platforms; Skype, iPhones, etc.
This has enabled us to reach a point of understanding, trust and a sense
of ‘getting it’ as we are now free to communicate anywhere and everywhere.
This is my mind is fundamental to bringing the narrative to life and

bringing it into real-time relevancy. The key here for communicators
is to adopt as many methods as possible to build the storyline, amplify
events, allow senior teams to communicate how they feel most comfortable
and empower everyone with the tools to engage and watch how greater
understanding and more effective communications can take place simply
by having a strong narrative in place.

Further reading: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/03/using_stories_as_a_tool_of_per.html

Looking after the community – how I deal with UG content

As part of the communications strategy for the website I manage we decided that we simply must build a community on Facebook –  from a branding perspective and a social commerce perspective (we have added a commerce plugin to our page) it looks like the ideal channel to build our community and engage with new audiences – easy.

The initial content which we uploaded was fundamentally a bit of broadcast about news products and ranges, mixed in with valuable content such as buying guides and how to guides. I wanted to get to the point where if we posted new material on our Facebook page our ‘Likes’ (ers) will engage in debate and comment to start creating earned media content for us. I essentially wanted our Likes (ers) to be writing our content and creating links for us.

How did we go about this? Simple, I offered an incentive start the ball rolling.  A competition was launched in which the ‘Likers’ (I’m fed up of writing Liker (ers)) post anecdotes about days they wished they had a taken a Duvet day and stayed at home under the duvet. The winning post, chosen by us, would win a duvet – simple. I then promoted the competition using Facebook adverts and via Twitter.

I started to receive posts on ‘Likers’ about spilling coffee over colleagues and such, but I also received posts which I was a little uncomfortable with on our page, posts describing bodily functions etc. I was put in a conundrum; as an advocate of Social Media I wanted to keep the posts live – after all this is what our community want to share and to be honest they weren’t offensive. Or, as a Brand leader to I protect the brand and remove all of this content? I have kept my own counsel on this but have decided to keep the posts up. If I receive complaints or they offend anyone then I’ll review the situation. My rationale is that it would go against I believe is right about Social Media and the move towards open and transparent brand communications. I want to encourage openness and feedback from our customers and our community as well. If I start removing inoffensive content which isn’t ‘On-brand’ and approved I’ll lose any trust from community. I hope most communicators feels the same.

The would be the same if a ‘Liker’ or a customer posted negative content about our products or service. I’d hope that we’d be able to resolve the situation in public and move on, leaving both the user happy with the experience and a public trail of how good our brand is at dealing with complaints and issues.

It might be a good idea to bullet point my thoughts on user-generated content and how to handle the unexpected;

  1. Like a boy scout – be prepared
  2. Have Social Media guidelines ready for everyone
  3. Think be you act on any content – always take a look at all potentials avenues
  4. Engage with the User don’t just delete comment and not find out more about the users motives
  5. Amplify succesful interactions

Most importantly remember if customers fans are not posting negative content about you in your environment, they sure as hell will be in an environment you may not know about.

Notes from #a4uexpo

The good thing about being a cross discipline communicator is that you get to see the best of both internal and external communication practices. Today I was a delegate at the affiliate marketing (now called performance marketing) conference a4uexpo in London.

It was a great day and confirmed my previous thoughts that every communicator should experience a different discipline to really put ‘thinking’ into perspective and to create a greater understanding of communications across the board.

I learnt (and re-learnt) more than i can remember today but here are my highlights from some great sessions.

Session 1 – Launching a brand a fiercely competitive market
Traffic sources Q1 – 80% PPC, 15% Organic, 5% email
Focus – Building links and optimising
Traffic sources Q2 60% PPC 25% Organic, 10% email, 5% other
Focus – Competitors, landing page optimisation
For affiliates differentiate the landing page with reviews and video. Content is still king even from data feeds.
Put offers into Meta descriptions – this takes away the PPC activity and reduced costs. It was the most eye-catching meta description.

Session 2 Analytics
Try to take out sections from the Google funnel
Try Yoast
Only measure what you need and segregate data
Measure sections/categories rather than whole site
Group channels ie Facebook and Twitter as Social Media

Session 3 – linkto Video
Jeager catwalk video online on homepage;play video click on model’s clothes and be taken to basket with that item in. Shopping straight from video.
Content is becoming bigger than the channel
Facebook video takeover – PR from great videos

Session 4 – Online in 2020
Fragmented landscape
Middle ground between search (Google) and content (Facebook)
Payments from Facebook accounts
Less privacy concerns
Content worth more than mediums – look out for XFactor TV
Affiliates need to be fleet of foot and move quickly to capture customers
Communications = disruption open API’s and transparency

Session 5 – Link building
Never buy a link based on PR (pagerank)
Buy links from reputable agencies – Doh!
Constantly update content
Build links to different sections
Watch competition – they are watching you
Control inward links by creting own external content on different IP’s