I woke up to a hyperactive phone this morning. It was vibrating incessantly because an internal crowdsourcing initiative launched overnight for me (during the day in Asia). They generated about 700 ideas in the first 7 hours! Exciting to see the high level of interest. It will be interesting to review the positive outcomes and lessons to learn from this latest deployment.
Launching and maintaining an internal social network at The McGraw-Hill Companies has been an exciting learning experience. In my “The Life of a Community Manager” series, I will highlight key aspects that have been central in my experience as a community manager.
That satisfaction of giving joy to others is available to all community managers almost every day. How? In the form of content. Our team realized that people were producing lots of great business content. Functional tips, market insights, competitive intelligence, lessons learned and the list goes on. They were taking time to write it and I was reading it, but the people that may benefit the most from it weren’t always finding it.
So I took on the (ahem unofficial ahem) role of Chief Content Curator. In doing so, it was my duty to give air to the great content that users were generating and to give credit and exposure to the thought leaders that were producing it. So we reserved a space on our homepage that was for user-generated content. The only rules were that it needed to be original (at least part of it), informative and compelling. I would browse for content 2-3 times a week and would post 5-7 items (blog posts, discussions, documents) that best fit the criteria. This turned out to be a great move.
Content creators loved it! They were trying to boost their readership anyway. By putting their pieces right on the homepage, their readership would double, triple and quadruple. And in many cases, this sparked meaningful conversations about important business issues.
Employees loved it! Those who like to be in the know or are passionate about a given issue or company news were able to stay informed more easily. The intellectual exchange and the ability to find people and content that matters to them.
We loved it! Using employee-generated content and surfacing it prominently on our Intranet homepage made the site even more relevant and functional for employees that were adjusting to social functionality as the core of their intranet.
Each time I update this, I tag the “contributors” in my status to alert them that their content is on the homepage.
I think there are three things that community managers can do to give the gift of content to the members of their community:
Last Tuesday at around 4:45 p.m., I looked down at my iPhone. The battery indicator was at 16 percent, begging to be recharged. I had tweeted, taken notes, added contacts, snapped pics and even checked back into the office a couple of times. And then we hit the bar for some informal networking.
Fortunately, the preceding
excuse for Jive to pay for drinks half-day session with Jive users based in the northeast was actually productive. Lots of users shared their insights, challenges, successes and lessons learned in a dynamic, energetic format that deftly blended presentation and participation. The result was a highly engaging and productive half-day session of Jive users. As I replay the event in my mind, there are 5 things that stick out as important lessons to remember whether you are presiding over a mature community or are still working to gain the internal OK to pursue such an option:
Just like my iPhone, when we as social evangelists do what we are supposed to do, our battery may get drained. The nearly empty battery can be written on our tired brows or well-used, stained coffee mug on our desks. That’s why gatherings like this are important. We can connect with each other and recharge each other to lead our organizations into increasing levels of productivity and innovation. I look forward to helping employees achieve goals, measuring effectiveness and sharing stories and great content. And I look forward to being plugged in at a future gathering to regain my strength.