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Enterprise Social Media – What is it and how do technical communications fit in? …

Enterprise Social Media – What is it and how do technical communications fit in?

Sherry McMenemy - STC Toronto Education Day, April 30, 2011

More in: Technology , Business
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  • On the Panasonic site, had to enter information or click through 6 layers of site navigation/faceted search, just to get to a page where it’s still not clear what my next step should be.
  • One of the wonderful things about social is that you can use it to drive people to your content. Helps to address “no one reads the docs”. Could be as simple as a forum or blog post pointing to your knowledgebase, or a comment in a community letting people know where to find the instructions they are looking for.
  • Linkedin, Twitter, RSS, Reddit, Facebook, del.icio.us, Flickr, Tumblr, digg, freindfeed, Stumbleupon, design float, vimeo, Google, Blogger and You TubeFB is now over 50% of the US population, where Twitter is only 8%. Yet Twitter is an important support channel, especially in tech-related industries.
  • You want to understand how they talk, the language they use (great for your technical vocabulary, glossary, index…)
  • + search metrics from your site or relevant communities (if you can get them)
  • Support communities where P2P support is encourage, but also where writers & support personnel can interact directly with customers, especially via informal channels.
  • Maturity model for internal communities, support communities.Sub-communities may develop at different rates.
  • Twitter + support: While it's a valuable channel, it’s usual a starting point. The max # characters is limiting and there may be extensive or sensitive information required as part of the support exchange.Good tip: squeaky wheels, if handled promptly and with sincerity, can become some of your best champions who help to build/extend your community and your support “brand”.


  • 1. A story to start
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 2. A few observations
    Technical communication is still mostly one-way
    Technical communication is still more about process than people
    Technical communication is still more about being complete than being responsive
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 3. Enter social media
    Media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques – Wikipedia
    Any form of content or presence featuring or allowing multi-directional conversations and content development
    People + process + platforms
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 4. So what’s different?
    “Social” is about tools, but it’s also about:
    Genuine opportunities to interact with customers up close & personal
    Flexible, responsive, iterative processes
    Multidirectional, crowd-sourced content…
    Bringing people & their “job one” to the forefront
    Explicit contributions of technical content to brand, sales pipeline, support process
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 5. What can you use it for?
    Learning more about your customers
    Improve your content
    Sharing content
    Writing content
    Customer communities
    Internal communities
    Bringing people to your content
    Connecting people to other content
    Social business/social support
    Meeting customer needs
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 6. Mission statement
    Content is appropriate for users when it helps them accomplish their goals. It is perfectly appropriate for users when it makes them feel like geniuses on critically important missions, offering them precisely what they need, exactly when they need it, and in just the right form.
    --A List Apart
    The right content
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
    To the right people
    At the right time
    Via the right channels
  • 7. The 5 C’s
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
    Who, when, where?
    Technical, just-in-time
    One-stop shopping
    Internal, external
    E.g., product recall
  • 8. You are here
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
    Enterprise 2.0, Social Communications…
  • 9. Social business
    Strategy: make organizations more adaptable & responsive, increase revenues, reduce costs
    Process: when socialized, is interactive and iterative
    Community management: to ensure productivity
    Technology: the tools in the toolbox
    Community Roundtable Report, 2011
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 10. Social support
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 11. You’re not in control
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 12. Social media functions
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 13. Who the what now?
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 14. Some terms
    Enterprise/open source
    P2P (Peer to Peer)
    Viral content
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 15. Getting started
    Listen & observe
    Participate, as a member
    Find existing communities
    Be up front about your interests, and what you don’t know
    Ask questions, ask for comments
    Try things
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 16. Listen & observe
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
    Find out who is talking, and about what
    “Lurking” is okay
    Use filtering tools
    Communities, Twitter, forums, support calls, Facebook…
  • 17. Build a picture
    Typical profiles of your users
    What they talk about
    Their pain points
    Their job one
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 18. Ask questions
    That’s what your customers are doing
    Okay to ask direct questions
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 19. Engage
    Start small – ask for comments, ask for ratings
    Do something with whatever you get
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 20. Engage
    Identify yourself
    Everything is public
    • Involve others as needed
    • 21. Once you start, you need to keep going, so be ready
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 22. Keywords and hot topics
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 23. Curation = value
    Aggregate relevant content
    Save community members time & money
    Associates thought leadership to you
    You don’t have to write all original content yourself
    Via blog, feeds, links…
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 24. Curated content
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
    • Articles created by users
    • 25. Ratings indicate useful/popular content
    • 26. Excellent model for internal knowledge sharing
  • Write
    The mind shift that needs to occur:
    You don’t have to write all of the content yourself.
    This is a good thing.
     It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes faster/informal is better.
    Focus on the most value. Focus is more important than being “complete”.
    Clear hot topics – the 20% that matters
    Doesn’t mean you give up on quality or process
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 27. Crowd sourcing
    Pragmatic content
    Fast turnaround
    Very iterative
    Translations with real-world vocabularies, almost free
    Save $$
    Build community
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 28. Crowd sourcing
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 29. Corporate communities
    Open communities:
    • Anyone can post
    • 30. Anyone can say anything (though the community tends to control aggressive or inappropriate behaviour)
    • 31. Quality by consensus
    Some companies follow this model entirely
    Often "open source" associations or Web 2.0 companies
    Willing to hear & address criticism openly
    Others don’t
    Associated with more “traditional” companies
    May have regulatory or IP concerns
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 32. Corporate communities
    Fast, informal technologies can address corporate pain points
    Capitalize on "natural" behaviours
    lighter process management and overhead
    Inclusive, not top-down
    exposes knowledge and assets
    get around information silos or help to get rid of them
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 33. Social support
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 34. Internal communities
    • FASTER time-to-field - critical knowledge
    • 35. BETTER cross-functional project work & development
    • 36. BETTER customer service
    • 37. LESS time searching/waiting for an answer
    • 38. MORE cross-regional knowledge sharing
    One-stop shopping
    Global knowledge transfers
    Data management and metrics
    Project Workspaces
    “The internal forums have beenthe best way of finding importantinformation as these posts are replied to by users with field experience. Encourage use of forums would be my top priority.”
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 39. Internal forum  KB topic
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
    SSL Socket Error
    • --------------------------
    • 40. --------------------------
    • 41. --------------------------
    Anyone seen an SSL socket error on...?I saw it at Customer xyz and tried this...There is an interaction between...
    Technical contentSMEsReview
  • 42. Wiki-based release notes
    One location & template
    SMEs come to an agreement within the wiki
    No draft docs – wiki is always the “latest” information  
    Wiki’s diff feature easy to track changes
    Wiki readily available to anyone as a reference
    Final doc built once, after checklist meeting
    Next step: fully automated publishing
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 43. Communities maturity model
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 44. Measure useful things
    What (specific) content is being used? By whom? Why? What else are they using? Why? | What are the top search terms? Top terms that don’t have search matches? How much time is spent searching for stuff each week? What are people trying to DO based on these terms? | How long does it take to get content out on a hot issue? What’s the correlation between content and support tickets? | How many different people participate? Who are the top participants? | How often are conversations taking place per day? What are the patterns over time? What should you do about it? | What should you stop doing? | How many leads did content bring into the sales pipeline this month? | What’s the support diversion rate?
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 45. Common challenges
    Fall back on 1-way (comfort zone)
    Already an existing community
    Start, then stop
    Not enough communications
    Too formal, too informal
    Support is on Twitter time now
    Start with what you can handle, pay attention to metrics, and don’t be afraid to change direction
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 46. Resources
    Sherry McMenemy 2011
  • 47. Sherry McMenemy 2011
    Thank you