At Impact99, the most common question I heard was about getting buy in from executives (or as my co-panelist more accurately describe it, “getting them to open their wallets”). Personally, I think people need to look past ROI for most social channels; the cost of not having the tools is costing you innovative, creative people and drastically impacts your ability to collaborate, but that’s another post for another time.
Instead, I’d like to talk about four easy to implement strategies to get microblogging approved in your organization and drive adoption. These are quick hitters, intended to show value and impact with little to no overhead or training requirements.
- Subject Matter Expert (SME) location
Without question, most organizations struggle with knowledge management and mentoring. People are too busy, and networks are to siloed. It’s getting harder and harder to look over the cubicle wall and ask your colleague for help.
Just by setting up a few groups – HR, IT, Program Management are a few easy ones we leverage internally – you give employees access to an ever expanding network of people they most likely won’t meet in the lunch room or the elevators. Mentoring and expertise doesn’t have to be a formal process.
But by having groups and providing access to a microblogging client, an employee needing help can ask a question that can be viewed by anyone logged into the system. No one can know everything, and no one can know every one, but social tools can bring together people with shared interests or concerns fairly easily.
We set up a group to help people learn the basic skills required to use SharePoint as an internal platform. Instead of sitting in formal training or reading through pages of documents, we encouraged people to send questions to a group of “ambassadors” that were willing to answer questions.
In the screenshot below, you can see how effective the system can be. A question about SP site sizing was asked at 13:13. The answer was given ONE MINUTE LATER. Even more importantly, a follow up question was asked and the discussion was continued until a resolution was reached.
It might seem like a small win, but instead of searching sites to find the sizing/requirements documentation or waiting for another colleague to help, this team member had an answer sent directly to her in less than 60 seconds.
- Helpdesk Replacement
I know it’s frustrating to sit on hold when you have an HR or IT issue, but the reality is things go wrong and helpdesk agents are busy all the time. By creating a group like “AskHR” or “Helpdesk_Inquiries” you can filter some of the chatter to an online, evolving knowledge base.
Not every question requires a phone call, or complex solution. Often times it’s simply a matter of pointing someone in the right direction. It takes only a few seconds to tweet a link to a document or answer a query, but the bigger success is the content and conversation is stored online and completely searchable by other employees.
Instead of having to field the same question multiple times, the answer (which can be updated if process changes) is available for everyone. Instead of waiting on hold, you simply search the microblogging channel for your answer. The most viewed questions? Why not move those to the permanent F.A.Q. section and start leveraging user generated content to drive your formal documentation?
The beauty of this is you can also monitor the reduction in tickets or increase in resolutions.
Improved access to senior leaders
Most people heard about Barack almost breaking the Internet when he went on Reddit for an Ask Me Anything session. Certainly, access to the POTUS is a probably more exciting than access to a CTO or Director, but it’s a great way to open the communication channels for your employees and give people a voice.
Set up an hour session on a Friday afternoon where a senior leader will answer questions sent via microblog. Not only does it get some senior level support – honestly, senior leaders love the chance to share their thoughts – it also promotes adoption because your most engaged employees want to ask questions and pick the brains of those leading the charge.
- Promotion channel
Do you have new programs or services you want to highlight? Why not use your microblogging channel to broadcast exclusive content. At our company, we changed our philosophy and revamped our customer experience approach. Those customer metrics became the most important number we surfaced each week. We made the conscious decision to offer those metrics on the microblogging channel before any formal communication was sent out.
Bottom line, if interesting information is presented by interesting people, your team members will pay attention.
Hopefully these tips help. If you have any other ideas you’d like to share, please do! We’re always looking at ways to continue increase the reach of our tools and increasing adoption.