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General Adoption Techniques for Social Media and Community

Puzzle We’re having an interesting discussion on adoption techniques and how to get relatively anti-social people engaged in social media and communities in our EMC|ONE community, and I thought I’d share my thoughts and response here with you, as well.

What have you found that is helpful to getting folks on-board and engaged in using social media? Any tips or tricks that work well for you? Please share them!

Here are some things that consistently work for me in our communities in helping folks to put the pieces together:

  • Identify business goals and the tools that will meet them: Don’t over-saturate with tools. The more tools you introduce, the more uncomfortable it will be for people already being asked to go outside their comfort zone. Start small with a few tools and demonstrate how to use them and their value, and then add as more tools are requested.
  • Keep it simple, welcoming and easy-to-use: The worst thing a community can be is difficult to navigate, difficult to access, and difficult to use. And it's critical to remember that just because it might be easy for us to use, it certainly doesn't mean that it's going to be easy for everyone else to use. When building a community, keep it's audience in mind and look at things from their perspective. Better yet - ask them what's working and what's not and make changes accordingly.
  • Provide tools and resources that help people get started: Don't assume that people will know what to do with a community, how they should use it, what they can or can't do and even how to get started. Start at the very beginning and remember what it was like when you were starting out exploring social media. What would have been helpful to you? Chances are good it will be helpful to others.
  • Approach community as an experiment: Flexibility is key when starting or managing a community. Don't be rigid in your expectations of its members or use cases for the community. Ask the community what they want, learn from them, and change accordingly. And above all - make sure the community members know they are valued and that you listen to them.
  • Combine business and social discussions, albeit unevenly: Typically, at EMC, we strive for an 80/20 mix, recognizing that they fuel each other. Just as people "socialize" in in-person meetings before they get started, so too, is it reasonable to expect that they'd want to do so in their online community. That is the very reason we have social "places: on EMC|ONE and why all other successful communities have them, as well - people want a place they can go to "get away from it all" and just get to know one another, without having to "work" or filter out the work-related stuff.
  • Fear of participation is normal: You must address it. What is causing the fear? Is it a lack of knowledge about the tools? Is it a lack of confidence about subject matter expertise? Is it a fear of being "wrong" in front of others? You'll need to understand the underlying cause of the fear in order to address it. Just remember that it's normal and don't make the person feel out of place by questioning it in an inappropriate setting or way.
  • Let the community manage the community: At the end of the day, one of the greatest and most rewarding things you can do is listen to the community and act on their requests, their needs, their expectations. It will not only build a relationship of trust and understanding, but these things will keep the members coming back.
  • Don’t underestimate the need for training on these tools: Just because it's easy for us doesn't mean it's easy for others. Training should always, always be a part of any successful community. And different options for training - in-person, webex, lunch-n-learn, online, CBT, should be included to address all learning styles.
  • Seek out opportunities to present value: Perhaps one hesitation is a perceived lack of value in these tools. Collect use cases and highlight them to all members as examples of what the potential is. And remember, the use cases vary from person to person, so you're going to need a fairly robust library of them to reach the critical mass of your audience. Don't overpromise what the community can do, either. Be realistic when identifying and presenting the value proposition and make sure you can demonstrate it.
  • Set expectations/guidelines for use: Members want to know what they can do with the tool. Focus on the positive things they can do and achieve. Don't give them a list of all of the things they cannot do right out of the gate. Instead, take it case-by-case and address any items of concern as they come up, and then put them into your best practices. Trust people to do the right thing.
  • Model the behaviors you wish to see: One of the best ways to demonstrate to your members what they can do is by doing it yourself. Model the behaviors, use cases, actions that they can take and demonstrate in real life what they can do with the tool, how they can interact with others, and what they can accomplish. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

 

Please share your thoughts or commentary on what I've shared, and also what has or hasn't worked for you? And, how have you dealt with that?

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Jamie

Blog: www.jamiepappas.com

Twitter: twitter.com/jamiepappas

 

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