Adoption of enterprise social networks and the creation of genuine employee communities occurs at the junction of what I like to call the three C’s of Community Management - Content, Conversation, Community. Each one requires the former to succeed and the three of them in succession creates the perfect storm for social communities to thrive. There are numerous ways you can seed content in the community as a catalyst for conversation and one of my favorite ways is to create a culture of asking questions – where employees ask questions and they get answers fast. This triggers the positive experience employees need in order to come back and ask again. But before we get into questions and answers, let’s wind back the clock.
The Academy Awards
A couple of years ago I was listening to a talk by John Heinsen who at the time was doing the social media for the Oscars. What a cool gig I remember thinking, slightly star-struck by the idea of someone having such an awesome job. Wow-factor aside, it was in this talk that I was first introduced to the three C’s as a concept. I mean, I guess it’s something I’d always known having worked with employee communities for a number of years prior and leading the charge on the enterprise adoption of community and collaboration tools at AMP in Sydney, Australia. But having John lay it out the way he did, really caused the penny to drop.
Great content is useful content.
The “content is King” debate has been going on since Bill Gates told us that’s where he thought most of the money on the Internet was going to be made (that was way back in 1996). In terms of enterprise social and collaboration communities, quality content remains the core driver of success because without it, a community cannot occur. When you strip back most of the social use cases to their bare bones, they really depend on great content. This can be documents to collaborate on, corporate communications or executive messages, employee engagement, rewards and recognition, expertise discovery, and my favorite, also the subject of this blog post - questions. In enterprise social networking, content can really be anything that is useful to your organization. And although this can vary from department to department, by physical location, or employee role – the beauty of community is that it brings the people in these branches together with a positive, tangible outcome after they participate.
Shifting the Middle Majority
Getting your people to use the collaboration network – and particularly the middle majority of your workers – should be a long term objective and requires ongoing attention, training, and dedication. There’s a ton of strategies that can be employed to help you get there, but overall what is important is content. One of the first things I have always taught employees who were new to the concept of collaboration in communities is how to get their questions answered. This is a great content strategy – shift help and support to the social network. Questions and answers is one of my favorite use cases, and a number one strategy for creating the positive experience employees need to bring them back for more. Questions create conversation, which in turn builds community. And since Sitrion Social can intelligently route your question to the right person using hashtags, Ask Me About keywords, and suggested communities you get an answer much faster than if you were to go search for the right person(s) to ask.
Mobility in the Future of Intelligent Answers
Imagine you are on the road, about to see a client, and you require some information from the team back at HQ. In Sitrion Social, questions are treated differently than stream posts – they get a higher priority. After being analyzed for certain keywords, they get automatically routed to experts based on social activity and profile information. Having the ability to ask a question from anywhere on your mobile device and get answers on-the-fly can have a huge impact. One of our clients saved lots of mone by getting an answer to a critical question in one day instead of the four days it usually takes. Instead of a trial and error approach to find the issue, the line manager in this case asked a question in the stream. A colleague who faced the same issue on a different continent, shared a solution. All within minutes.
Learn how Sitrion is helping organizations all around the world be more successful by deploying employee mobility and collaboration tools - check out our page on Boosting Social Adoption with Mobile.
Have you had success with having your employees ask questions as a content strategy to create community? I’d love to hear them here on Twitter or on Engage.