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Cisco Communities Playbook - 2013


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The Cisco Communities Playbook has been designed to give Cisco employees and contractors the tools to start and run a successful community.

It covers why communities - when structured and managed properly - can help Cisco teams engage with interested stakeholders to support the buying cycle and drive measurable results for Cisco.

Readers will be taught how to:
- Define their audience
- Organize their strategy
- Develop a content plan

Please note that this is an internal Cisco guide for our employees and contractors. Certain URLs are internal to Cisco only.

Published in: Business
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Cisco Communities Playbook - 2013

  1. 1. CiscoCommunityPlaybookYour Guide to Creating andManaging Online Communities
  2. 2. Contents Chapter 1: The Big Picture 1.1 How to Use the Playbook..................................................................................................... 2 1.2 Why Community Matters...................................................................................................... 3 1.3 How Communities Fit Into the Social Ecosystem.................................................................. 4 1.4 Is a Community Right for You?.............................................................................................. 5 1.5 Where Do You Fit In?............................................................................................................ 6 1.6 Representing the Cisco Brand.............................................................................................. 7 Chapter 2: Planning a Community 2.1 How to Plan Your Community............................................................................................... 8 2.2 Defining Your Audience and Their Content Needs................................................................ 9 2.3 Defining Community Purpose ............................................................................................ 10 2.4 Creating a Content Strategy............................................................................................... 11 2.5 A Robust and Relevant Content Calendar........................................................................... 12 2.6 Leveraging Content and Other Assets................................................................................ 13 Chapter 3: Building a Community 3.1 Components of a Community Page.................................................................................... 14 3.2 Registration and Permissions.............................................................................................. 15 3.3 Keep the Experience S.O.C.I.A.L. ...................................................................................... 16 3.4 Workflows to Ensure Success............................................................................................ 17 3.5 Campaign Integration and Product Launches..................................................................... 18 3.6 Promoting Communities via Social Media........................................................................... 19 Chapter 4: Engagement 4.1 How to Nurture a Healthy Community................................................................................. 20 4.2 Increasing Engagement Levels........................................................................................... 21 4.3 Metrics and Engagement ................................................................................................... 22 4.4 How to Manage the Troublemakers.................................................................................... 23 4.5 When to Retire a Community.............................................................................................. 24 Chapter 5: Ready to Start? Let’s Go 5.1 What Do I Do Now?............................................................................................................ 25 5.2 Community Approval Request Form .................................................................................. 26 5.3 Launch Planner .................................................................................................................. 271 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 1: The Big Picture Chapter 1: The Big Picture1.1 How to Use the PlaybookThis playbook is designed to give you the tools to start andrun a successful community. Cisco’s Global Social Media Policy: a Prior to engaging in social media on behalf of Cisco, you need to read theIt covers why communities—when structured and managed Social Media Policy Handbook. It is a company-wideproperly—can help your team engage with interested handbook available to all employees and contractors andstakeholders to support the buying cycle and drive contains guidelines for engaging with people over socialmeasurable results for Cisco. channels. For Cisco representatives working on social media channels, reading, reviewing and agreeing to theYou will be taught how to: terms outlined in this policy is mandatory. Please visit the✔✔ Define your audience Global Social Media IWE site a for further details.✔✔ Organize your strategy✔✔ Develop a content planWhen ready, we ask you to fill out the Community Approval SubjectRequest Form located at the end of the playbook. Matter Expert Look for the SME Icon throughout theAlthough tempting to jump ahead, we highly recommend you playbook for material specific to the SME through the playbook to ensure you can communicateyour community’s value to the user base and for Cisco as awhole. Take A Moment Look for the Take A Moment Icon throughout the playbook for additional thought provoking ideas.2 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 1: The Big Picture1.2 Why Community MattersIn the same way that consumers utilize user-generated reviews and independent research to consider a purchase,business buyers demonstrate the same behavior in the social What Buyers Want ✔✔ Buyers are looking for organizations similar to theirssphere, such as communities. But now the stakes are much that use the same technology that they are lookinghigher. to buy.IT buyers are usually tasked with investigating multiple ✔✔ Buyers are looking for the long-term view of howproviders prior to starting the RFP or purchase cycle. Cisco will support their organization.Communities provide IT buyers with a quick overview of ✔✔ Buyers want to understand what other companiesproduct information, customer satisfaction and company think of the technology BEFORE THEY ENGAGEengagement with their customers. This is important because WITH CISCO.IT buyers need to feel secure that they are selecting the bestproduct from the best company at the best price. “Active members using our community to interact and engage with us controlled “Fifty-five percent of Business Technology hundreds of millions of dollars in sales buyers consider “on-domain” (i.e., vendor) revenue over a 6 month period. Active support forums and discussion forums as partners of NetApp engaging in the influential information sources during their community delivered over half a billion technology adoption journeys.”1 dollars in partner owned sales revenue over the same time period.”2_______________________1. “How to Interact with Tech Community Members” Forrester Research, December 2011 ,2. Navneet Grewal, Director Digital Marketing, NetApp, Impact Interactions Research, April 20113 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 1: The Big Picture1.3 How Communities Fit Into the Social EcosystemW ith the explosive growth in social media, you may be asking, “Why have a branded community when I can While the traffic on social sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, is growing, these sites have a few drawbacks foruse Social Media instead?” Good question. marketers. Drawbacks for Marketers ✔✔ Measurement of in-depth engagement analytics is difficult. ✔✔ Buyers are looking for the long-term view of how Cisco will support their organization. ✔✔ In Business-to-Business (B2B), there are still a large number of people who want to deal with the company on a website owned and operated by the company due to privacy and trust concerns. ✔✔ Social sites fall in and out of popularity; therefore, it is important to balance the content on the social sites while keeping the corporate presence stable and up-to-date. Blogs The Social Ecosystem The Cisco social ecosystem consists of three main areas: Home Base, Outposts, Passports1 Cisco Forums Blogs Home Base Home Base are the channels owned and managed Cisco by the company. These channels are a top priority Blogs for Cisco and the primary area that creates and houses content. This is where Cisco partners and customers come to discuss and collaborate on Cisco products. Allocate 50% of time and budget here. Cisco Outposts Communities These are core third-party social channels such as Facebook and Twitter that provide the most efficient way to listen and respond to the community’s needs Blogs as well as drive traffic to Cisco-owned properties. Allocate 40% of time and budget here. Passports These channels represent Cisco’s most outer ring of social networks. They are important, but not mission critical for success. Allocate 10% of time and budget here. _______________________ 1. Based on framework by Chris Brogan4 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 1: The Big Picture1.4 Is A Community Right for You?W hen an online community is well thought out, managed and measured, the results can be significant. Success requires hard work, robust content and a dedication to your members. But, it is not right for every situation or every team. Key Questions Before Starting a Community 1. Do my community goals align with Cisco’s corporate priorities? 2. Is my target audience large enough to consume and generate content? 3. Does my team understand the endurance necessary to run a successful community? 4. Is my team resourced to work and collaborate with members? 5. Do I have a strong content pipeline for the next 90 days? 6. Have I identified KPIs that align to my business goals?If your answer to these questions is YES, then a community is right for you and you are ready to proceed. If the answer to any ofthese questions is no, you should rethink your plans.A community thrives only when both sides are engaging over content that meets both their needs. Initially, there will be moreconsumers than creators of content. This means that your team must be ready to over-contribute until the members begin tocontribute on a regular basis.5 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 1: The Big Picture Subject Matter Expert1.5 Where Do You Fit In?A well-managed community provides significant benefits Let’s take a moment to review these roles. Each community to both the company and the members. As a manager, is required to have a designated “community manager” and afuture manager or SME of a community, it is important that Subject Matter Expert (SME) assigned to understand your role in the inception, management andmeasurement of your new community. The Community Manager The Community SME ✔✔ Ensures timeliness and quality of community content ✔✔ Answers technical questions that arise from the ✔✔ Updates content at an absolute minimum of once group a week ✔✔ Adds value by sharing real world stories, case ✔✔ Ensures all discussion posts, blog posts and studies, best practices, tips and/or “tricks-of-the comments are responded to within two business trade” to improve knowledge exchange days, even if the response simply thanks the contributor for their contribution6 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 1: The Big Picture1.6 Representing the Cisco BrandW ith stakeholders around the globe, communities play a large role in helping to build Cisco’s brand andreputation. Confidentiality When you engage with your audience, you should not disclose specific types of information such as financial andAs a leader, manager or SME of a Cisco Community, you internal-only news and events.are responsible for representing Cisco, its products andits priorities. Because you lead the community, members Align With Corporate Prioritieslook to you to establish the behavioral protocols within the In deciding if a community is right for your customer, youcommunity. need to ask yourself if your community supports the five foundational priorities of Cisco’s corporate strategy.GovernanceIt is imperative that you read and adhere to the GlobalSocial Media Handbook a that outlines protocols including Takeinformation on spam prohibition, violation of third-party A Momentguidelines and improper material usage. Before you post, think ‘Would the CEO approve of this?’ or ‘Would this be appropriate in the Annual Report’? Key Drivers of Future Intelligent Networks: Cisco’s Five Foundational Priorities 1 Leadership in the Core Routing/Switching/Services 2 Collaboration 3 Data Center/Virtualization Cloud 4 Video 5 Architectures7 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 2: Planning a Community Chapter 2: Planning a Community2.1 How to Plan Your CommunityYour community strategy starts with defining your ultimate objective. That objective must be clear, concise and measurable. Tostart, you must identify: Who What Why Target Audience Robust, Current and Relevant Content Goals and Metrics Understanding your audience, their needs Content is the main driver of social media. One of the most important objectives is to and how they consume content are the first Strong, timely and relevant content delivers define your goals. Simply indicating that steps in planning your community. Take the high engagement. If your content is not you want a certain number of members time to research your target audiences’ ti- consistent or audience appropriate, visitors in a community is not enough. Consider tles and responsibilities. will not come back. Before starting a com- the amount of content that will be created, munity, create a content strategy to ensure the key performance indicators and other Committed Resources the community stays current, fresh and pieces of data that will be benchmarked Your strategy will help determine the num- welcoming to members. for success. If there are not measurable ber of team members required to create, benchmarks, or the benchmarks seem maintain and discuss the respective con- Strong Engagement Tools unreasonable and cannot be reached, then tent. Too often people believe that a small Engagement results when members in- a community may not be the best solution. team can manage a community because teract with relevant and topical content. the members outside of the company will By providing content that members like, create most of the content and engage share and comment on, your community with each other. This is never the case in will grow organically. Communities with low B2B communities, especially at the start engagement have a tendency to die off of their offering. Team members must be quickly. committed to contributing content until the community members make contributions of their own.8 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 2: Planning a Community2.2 Defining Your Audience and Their Content NeedsY our audience is the single most important variable in the equation for community success. Understand who youraudience is and what their needs are, and you are on your Segmentation: Are your communities for anyone in the networked world? Or are you looking for the managers of IT who are considering using cloud networks? The size of theseway to creating a successful community. Misunderstand who two audiences varies greatly.your audience is and your community will never achieve theresults you project. Audience Role: What is the role of the audience? There are three distinct audiences (see chart below) to focus uponToo often, community teams define their audience too when segmenting the B2B technology audience from abroadly. But is this adequate? Probably not. These individuals marketing perspective which will then help you understandare already targeted heavily by other marketing teams, not to their content needs.mention the sales teams who call on them. If your audience is global, be cognizant of cultural differencesWhen thinking of a potential community audience, community which may come into play in your planning efforts.teams should think in two aspects: Audience Titles Needs Specifically Wants Technical IT Managers, Network Content around solutions l Technical specifications Administrators and features l User focused, detailed content related to running the product l Information on integration and maintenance issues l Invitations for beta tests and early adopter programs Business IT Directors, Line of Content around business l Statistics about growth and efficiency Business Executives results l Case Studies of similar companies or industry examples Learning IT Managers, Network Collaboration with and learnings l Updates on Cisco certifications to broaden Administrators, Individual from other users and experts career opportunities Contributors l Wants to contribute to others’ learning Take A Moment Take a moment to define the ideal member for your community: ✔✔ What is their role at their company? ✔✔ What information would be most helpful to help them do their job well? ✔✔ How frequently are they currently interacting with your brand? ✔✔ What content would aid them in a buying decision?9 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 2: Planning a Community Subject Matter Expert2.3 Defining Community PurposeO nce you have established your audience, you are ready to begin defining your community’s purpose. Understanding what your audience is looking for, such as information to help with a business issue (purchase, support, research, etc.), is criticalin determining your community’s purpose and content. Review the chart below to help you determine what community type bestfits the needs of your audience. Category Sample Notes on Category Objectives Engagement Example Definition User Primary focus is driving 1. Build audience through High. Daily moderation Public Collaboration a Engagement customers, partners and planned content and is expected to keep Community Cisco SMEs to share interactive features conversations relevant. issues, best practices 2. Utilize internal SMEs to Asking questions of au- and experiences related engage and promote dience is key. to product and solutions, category products implementation, and 3. Recruit external mem- management. bers to help engage and build vibrancy in responses Document Primary focus is storing 1. Develop a consistent Low. Little conversation Partner: Design Zone Repository documents and driving and trusted repository takes places in these and CVD a audience to upload and of current documents communities. read documents such on specific product as white papers or col- information lateral. 2. Update frequently Primary focus is driving Training 1. Instruct on various new High. Some training Partner: Borderless audience to review Community technologies communities function as Networks a training materials and 2. Assess skills merely repositories for provide Q/A that elimi- 3. Certification programs training documents even nates need for travel. though the Q/A is an important piece of the puzzle. Event-Focused Primary focus is Announce and invite High during event time. March 2012 Cisco Community expanding attendance target audience to attend Event-focused commu- Collaboration Virtual at offline events an event or drive views nities will see a spike in Experience a (mostly product-launch of presentations engagement during the focused) by providing event. An archive date relatively low-cost online should be set prior to attendance. launch so the community is not allowed to become stagnant.10 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 2: Planning a Community2.4 Creating a Content StrategyC ommunities run on content. Whether the content is company-created or user-generated, without strongcontent, most communities fail. When planning your Here are the must haves for any new community: ✔✔ Starter content for the first six weeks. This can include:community, you must build a content strategy that meets the a. Starter discussion topics (seed posts from SMEs or theneeds of your audience, yet is able to be modified over time community manager)to drive the desired behaviors within your community and b. Blog postsattract engaged users who create additional content. Contentthat is valuable, exclusive and compelling will help your c. Videoscommunity become a daily destination. d. Documents for downloadingWhen building your content strategy, take into account your ✔✔ Content that is strongly focused on members’ rolesaudience segmentation and size. The needs of your audience (business, IT, admin)will guide your content. There are many styles of contentavailable to deliver your message and with a little creativity,you can help your community stand out from the competition. Preferred Types of Content by Audience Business Audiences Technical Audiences Customer Thought Success Stories Leadership Network Design Industry Research Events Product Analysis Product Launches Case Studies Training11 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 2: Planning a Community2.5 A Robust and Relevant Content CalendarP erhaps the two most important terms when creating a content strategy are endurance and flexibility. manager. Content has a shelf life and despite the fact that some new members will seek out older content, most members will seek out new content over old. That is whyEndurance many members do not search the discussion forums prior toYou should have a content calendar to organize your asking their questions.information flows by topic, date, feature and supporting As a community manager, your content strategy must evolveoutreach used to convey the content. This calendar should to gauge how long your content is valued by the at a minimum 90 days into the future and be continuously You learn this by tracking page views and engagement forupdated. The endurance level needed to launch a community each asset over time. After a couple of months, you’ll noticeis very high and needs consistent updating from the the average length of time an asset remains fresh and whensponsoring organization until the community begins to mature it goes stale. More importantly, you’ll also see which typesand members begin to contribute information on a regular of content are of interest to your community members. Thisbasis. allows you to tailor the content strategy to further meet theirFlexibility needs.You may need to alter your initial content strategy once you Using an organized, flexible approach to your content—basedsee how the members are interacting with the content. This is upon the members’ needs as much as the organization’swhy measurement becomes so important to the community needs—will help your community succeed. The 50-40-10 Rule Your content should be 50% Cisco specific, 40% industry related, and 10% brand personality and humanity. Industry (40%) Sample post: “Fifty percent of CIOs expect to operate applications viaCisco (50%) the cloud by 2015.”Sample post:“Clients are seeing resultsfrom our Cloud EnablementServices. Download thecase study now.” Personal (10%) Sample post: “My head is in the cloud today, happy Friday everyone. Doing anything fun?”12 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 2: Planning a Community2.6 Leveraging Content and Other AssetsA n area where many community managers struggle is content creation. With a mantra of keeping content fresh, interesting and engaging, a constant flow of great content can seem difficult to produce. Here are a few of ideas thatcan help the savvy community team in their content strategies and tactical approaches. Engage Members Once you identify your top members in the community, ask them if they would like to guest blog for a week or two. Utilize the more knowledgeable external members in an “Ask the Expert” event in the community. Engage Embed Social Content Va t Link to Valuable Content ed Conten Bring social content into the community by luab Add keynote presentations, industry embedding videos from YouTube, adding le Cont reports by analysts (excerpt only with a excerpts from third party blogs (with link to the actual site and full attribution to attribution), use a screenshot of a good the company and analyst) and Cisco- Tweet to start a conversation, embed or created documentation or solution briefs. mb link to an industry presentation on et SlideShare, etc. E Old t er Contne Leverage Older Content Bring content back to the front of the community and add commen- tary to update the content with either new information or a different perspective. In communities, older content that is still useful sometimes gets buried.13 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 3: Building a Community Chapter 3: Building a Community3.1 Components of a Community PageCisco Communities offer a variety of customizable layouts and widgets to community administrators.To access the customizable widgets, navigate to the Cisco Communities home page and login. Once logged in, visit acommunity where you have administrator permissions. Next to the Overview tab, click “customize.” You will then see thefollowing options:On the left-hand side are the layouts available to communitymanagers. To keep the layouts consistent across all CiscoCommunities, it is recommended you use the two sided andone major column layout (highlighted in screenshot).To the right of the layouts is a section dedicated to widgets.Widgets are page components that can be added tothe community page. Widgets are broken down intofour categories focusing on content, places, people andmiscellaneous other widgets. Each of these widgets can bedragged from the category area and dropped anywhere ontothe community page.For a more comprehensive list of widgets and their features,visit the community manager’s help resource center a. Quick Tips Decide on the Widgets You Need Building Up HTML When you first login to your new community, you will notice Some of the widgets that you run into will be HTML-based. that you have many choices on how to design your community. If you’re not familiar with HTML, check out the code snippet Just because you have a treasure of resources however, does library a to get started. This is found in the community not mean that you need to go overboard. Choose only the manager’s help resource center a on widgets you need and start designing your community. From the basic paragraph tags to the more advanced table code, the library has everything you need to get started and create great content.14 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 3: Building a Community Subject Matter Expert3.2 Registration and PermissionsC isco Communities are open to both guests and registered users.Registered Users Guest UsersRegistration and login leverages Cisco’s Single Sign On Guest users have limited access to the communities andprocess. Users who have a ID will be able to login depending on the particular community, may be unable toto the communities without having to create a new account. view, post or comment within the community. To take full advantage of the communities, it is encouraged that all usersRegistered users are categorized into one of four register.designations:✔✔ Cisco employees and contractors have access to most public and private communities. SMEs and community managers typically fall into this category.✔✔ Partners are Cisco partners. Partners have access to the Custom Permissions public and partner communities. Custom permissions can be set for communities. This is✔✔ SMARTnet Users are customers who have registered for common for private communities such as user groups and the SMARTnet support service. They have access to the early adopter programs. public communities.✔✔ Registered End Users are users who have registered but do not have one of the above three designations. They have access to the public communities.15 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 3: Building a Community3.3 Keep the Experience S.O.C.I.A.L.W hen creating the user experience for your community, it’s important to keep in mind that the experience needs to be S.O.C.I.A.L. In a community setting, it’s im- A community must be able to portant to have a brand presence grow with the needs and the size that is both open and transparent. of the audience. If you do not Be friendly with your audience. have the resources, a community Friendliness can be the difference cannot be maintained. between returning or idle users. lab le Ope ca n S Consistent LimitlessCommunities need to give people Community management re-the power to do what they can to quires commitment and con-get work done. Rules are okay, sistency. From editorial calen-but it is also important to give Ac v dars to regular check-ins with e tipeople the power to do what they the community, it’s important ti v e t uido best. to create a consistent social In ecosystem. Make sure your community members Communities can be difficult to navigate. Ensure can engage with your community by your community is intuitive to use and makes creating opportunities for users to be sense from a design perspective. Overloading active. Active members are more willing your community with widgets, for example, is not to come back and engage. a good way to design your community. Members will not want to return to a difficult to use com- munity.16 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 3: Building a Community Subject Matter Expert3.4 Workflows to Ensure SuccessC ommunities require a team effort to succeed. With a focus on meeting member needs while also promoting Cisco’s content, the team must be ready to respond to member-generated content in a quick and professional manner. Workflows havebeen developed to make the process as efficient as possible. Pre-Launch Recruit SMEs Set Expectations Develop Escalation Matrix For each main topic within the community, For the community manager, the pre-launch To make the workflow efficient, the one or more internal SMEs should be workflow includes setting expectations for community manager should build an recruited to help with the community’s both the SMEs and members upon launch. escalation matrix of their SMEs with all engagement. These SMEs should be In B2B communities, members expect their contact information prior to launch. SMEs prepared to answer the tougher questions questions to be answered. A general rule need to understand their role, but also that about Cisco products and services that are of thumb for the workflow is to allow two the community manager will handle many generated by the members. They should business days for community members to of the basic discussions by pointing the also consider being the featured expert for answer a question. Then, if there is no reply, member to content on, freeing their area and for “Ask the Expert” events a Cisco employee MUST answer or reply. the SMEs to handle only the more rigorous on their topic of expertise. discussions. Launch Leverage External SMEs Subscribe to Feeds The community manager should consider adding external Additionally, all SMEs and the community manager should utilize the community members who have demonstrated expertise within “Subscribe” feature for any discussions in which they participated to the community to the escalation matrix. In many cases, a private maintain the discussion if members continue to engage. message from the community manager will spur the external SME to step in and provide support for the team. (As a benefit, these external SMEs from the community should be recognized for their efforts.)By setting up clear workflows, the community manager not only demonstrates to the SMEs that the burden of support will notfall only on their shoulders, but that he/she will also handle the workload and recruit community members to help. This helpsalleviate the main concern of internal SMEs: that they are required to handle all the content within a community.17 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 3: Building a Community3.5 Campaign Integration and Product LaunchesD ue to their interactive nature, communities are an excellent complementary asset to utilize in both Seeding Content Seed content related to the campaign or product launch tocampaigns and product launches. There are relatively easy spur conversations for the audience who click through to yourtactics to encourage your campaign or launch audiences to community from non-community assets.interact using your online community. Tactics include:Open Q&A Environment Ask the Expert Create an “Ask the Expert” event around your campaign orDevelop your plans with your community to allow interested product launch featuring a senior level executive to attract theparties to learn more details, ask questions, attend online target audience to your, etc.Landing Page Cross Promote Feature links to the community landing page in all campaignBuild a landing page that focuses on discussions, materials (both online digital and offline print).documentation and video assets. It may be temporary, but youshould save some of the content by moving it into the maincommunity after the campaign or the product launch ends.Consistent Look and FeelIncorporate the look and feel, such as color palettes, tone andgraphics of your campaign into the community to provide acommon theme.18 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 3: Building a Community3.6 Promoting Communities via Social MediaI t is important to promote your community using multiple platforms. Using social media is an excellent way to reach abroad audience. on topic with links that guide the follower/group member/ friend back to the community where they can read or contribute.Match the Content to the Channel Highlight AnnouncementsThe rise of social media sites like Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, One of the benefits of community membership can be accessFacebook and Pinterest gives community managers another to announcements and events before they are public. Usenew way to reach new members, engage with existing these opportunities to recruit new partners or members.members and drive engagement overall. The key is to usethose sites where your audience (or potential audience) is Casual Users versus Invested Usersactive. For the B2B community, that means LinkedIn, Twitter, Research1 has shown that:YouTube and Facebook primarily. But each of these sites ✔✔ Casual users spend their time on third party sites such ashas different uses for community and you should not simply Facebook, LinkedIn and Twittersyndicate your community content on each channel; rather,create content unique for each site. ✔✔ Invested users spend their time on branded company websites and communitiesDrive Back to the Community IT buyers begin their purchase journey reading commentaryThe objective in using social media with communities is to on social media sites. When they are ready to move forwardincrease the reach of your message to new audiences with in the purchase process, they will engage on your site. Smartthe goal of driving them back to register and engage in the community managers understand and prepare for To do this, feature content that is interesting and The User Journey Users visit corporate Facebook pages for information, posts and dialogue with other followers; allows product users to collaborate globally. $ $ Home Base $ User can see what products Users follow Cisco and other and programs colleagues are industry leaders for updates, working on. links, and stories._______________________1. Business to Business Social Marketing: Community and Social Media Influence on Revenue, Impact Interactions, September 12, 2011.19 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 4: Engagement Subject Matter Expert Chapter 4: Engagement4.1 How to Nurture a Healthy CommunityDefining Engagement Track Active MembersFor many teams, engagement is defined as robust comments Best practices for nurturing the engagement level withinor discussion posts by members of the community. For a community fall back on metrics. Community managersothers, it is the number of downloads of content. The key should look at the behavior metrics with a specific focus onto understanding engagement is to relate the activities or defining active members, then tracking these members asbehaviors of members to the objectives of the community. a percentage of total visitors to the community. Depending upon the focus of the community and the definition of activeAligning Community Behavior members, the percentage should be approximately 10–12%.1Once the team understands what activities and behaviors they Support communities are much higher due to the Q&Awant to drive, there are tactics the team can use to meet their functionality of the community versus the longer discussionsobjectives. of a marketing or learning community.For example, in communities focused on discussions, the If the engagement level is lower than 12%, consider thecommunity tactics would involve driving members to read following:or watch content on the site and then discuss it with other ✔✔ Are the Cisco community manager and SME activelymembers. This is the traditional message board or article participating in discussions?commenting model of community. The content spurs ✔✔ Are follow-up questions and polls being used tomembers to create additional content. stimulate the conversation?Community managers must have the support of SMEs to build ✔✔ Are community members looking for more technicalupon existing conversations either by contributing content in support? If so, refer them to Cisco Support Communities.the discussions or by creating original content to start new ✔✔ Is the content stale or not inspiring conversations?conversations. It’s a fine line, however, between nurturingand creating. Dominate the conversations and the communitybecomes a Q&A site rather than a place where ideas areexchanged and discussed. Ignore Cisco’s role in buildingthe correct behaviors, activities and conversations and thecommunity becomes stale and uninhabited._______________________1. Business to Business Social Marketing: Community and Social Media Influence on Revenue, Impact Interactions, September 12, 2011.20 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 4: Engagement4.2 Increasing Engagement LevelsA focus on engagement is critical for the successful management of communities. At the beginning of But for marketing communities, we want user-generated content, not issue resolution. That requires asking for andthe community, engagement is more reliant on the host responding to feedback instead of relying upon the platform’scompany than on members. This is especially true with B2B rating features.communities. Over time as the community matures, memberswill begin to demonstrate more control over engagement Membership Recognitionactivities such as posting, commenting, helping each other Recognizing members for their activities in a public mannerand acting as a resource for the community manager. But often results in them engaging at higher levels. Just asthis doesn’t happen overnight and can often take years to importantly, there is a carry-over effect on other members.develop, so be patient. Membership recognition demonstrates that the voice and activities of members are very important to Cisco.To continue to elevate your engagement levels, the followingtactics are recommended: Direct ContactThought Leadership A community manager’s behind-the-scenes contacts with top members is an efficient way to drive additional engagement.In discussion-based communities, content that presents ideas By identifying and building relationships with top membersand has an opinion provides members with an opportunity to over time, the community manager has a cadre of membersengage whether they agree or disagree. to reach out to for additional content or to answer questions. This reduces the burden of work on internal SMEs whileWriting Style demonstrating to the community at large that members have aWriting for community should be short, to the point and strong role to play in the community’s success.easy to understand. The more jargon that is used, the lessmembers will engage. Sample Objectives There are other tactics as well, including seed posts, surveysFeedback on member interests, time sensitive events and polls. TheAsk the user for feedback. In support communities, the use of ability to create conversation about specific member intereststhe checkbox to demonstrate the successful resolution of an will solidify the community dynamic.issue is a powerful feedback mechanism.  21 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  23. 23. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 4: Engagement4.3 Metrics and EngagementE ngagement is the result of matching your audience’s interests to relevant content. As such, it fluctuates during the life cycle of the community. To maintain an active community, it’s important to have a firm, agreed upon measurement strategy and runmetrics on your community in order to make adjustments to enhance the community for your members.Metrics are accessed through your custom reports dashboard, which you receive as part of your community onboarding.Auditing a community means using both qualitative and quantitative metrics to understand how members are using thecommunity and what they desire from the community. Qualitative Quantitative This data helps the community team understand the needs of Measuring behavior involves ratios. The five most popular the members in order to increase the value of the community: ratios for engagement in communities are: l Type of content that is consumed the most l Page views per member l Topics that are most popular l Active member ratio l Information that members are seeking l Contributor by feature l Preferred format for the information l Depth of Thread l Customer satisfaction with the community l Sharability22 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 4: Engagement Subject Matter Expert4.4 How to Manage the TroublemakersN ot all user engagement is positive. Effective community management teams understand this and are prepared to Pricing: The community team must set up guidelines for pricing. For example, is it okay to say that a productdeal with criticism, negative user comments and other issues and installation costs “tens of thousands of dollars,” butthat run afoul of community guidelines. The key is to have an not “$45,000”? There have been times in Cisco Supportagreed upon plan for dealing with these situations congruent Community when a member quoted the price they werewith how Cisco communicates with its members. given by a reseller for used equipment. However, the bigger question is whether or not you want pricing discussionsThe good news is that in B2B communities, the community to take place in your community. This is an area for theis generally positive. We don’t see the flame wars and community team to agree upon in advance, then enforce aspersonal attacks which happen regularly in consumer-based needed. (Note—this is different than advertising for sellingcommunities. In the event that a situation like that breaks out, products. Advertising is not allowed and the post should bethe best course of action is to remove the content and send deleted with a private message to the member.)a private message to the member requesting that they refrainfrom such behavior and tone in the community.The majority of issues arise around: Take A MomentCompetitor product: The community team should not let Remember that people come to the community tothe comment go unchecked. If the comparison is an apples seek information. Negative or critical content is ato oranges comparison, state it publicly. The best way to do part of the information that members seek. Do notso is to have an external community member comment, with simply remove critical commentary. Instead, treat itthe second best option being an internal SME commenting. as an opportunity to correct falsehoods and presentIn most cases, members of the community will support this Cisco’s view as a counter to the criticism or negativeexchange of ideas and comments as transparency in action. comments. This provides a necessary balance toThe key for the community team is to not take the comments the community which is generally welcomed byas a personal attack. members.23 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  25. 25. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 4: Engagement4.5 When to Retire a CommunityD espite best efforts, sometimes communities fail. Whether the members find more value on other social outlets or community prior to sending your members. Discuss with the community manager their philosophies, registration processif it was as simple as bad timing, it is not uncommon for a and any other factors that may impact your current usercommunity to close. Warning signs include: base such as international members. If you sense this new community may be at any risk for closure, do not refer your✔✔ An anemic community members.✔✔ Slow to non-existent participation over several months If the new community proves viable, provide clear steps to✔✔ Dwindling membership your user base on how to register or re-register, what theyIf your community is stagnant for 90 days, you will be can expect to find in the community and other relevant data.encouraged to close your community. To ensure a smooth Make the transition for them as smooth as possible.closure consider the following: Blogs and NewslettersTiming If there are blogs associated with your community, they canGive your members a two month warning prior to shutting help you communicate the transition plan. They can be anthe community down. This gives members ample time to alternate destination for your members to continue to discussmigrate any data they feel is relevant and to retrieve any social relevant topics. You should also provide the members linksconnections. to relevant newsletters they can sign up for that cover similar topics.Communication User ContentIf possible, directly reach out to the power users or thosemembers who will be directly impacted. Explain your Be precise about the migration plan for your community’sreasoning and provide a clear communication plan of where content. Give exact dates and URLs if it is to be migrated.relevant data will be migrated and how they can reach the old Third-Party Sitescommunity manager if they have any questions. Reach out to site owners who are currently linked to yourFor all other users, post your communication plan on the community and ask them to remove or redirect their home page and provide direction on wherecontent will now be located, how to access it and, if Closing a community is not the end of the world. It does notappropriate, direct them to a relevant community where they mean that you shouldn’t try again in the future. In fact, you’vecan receive updated communications. probably learned some valuable lessons about your customer base and your community that will be beneficial to futureNew Community marketing and sales programs.In some instances you can migrate your members intoanother appropriate community. Properly vet this new24 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  26. 26. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 5: Ready to Start? Let’s Go Chapter 5: Ready to Start? Let’s Go5.1 What Do I Do Now?Once you have determined a Cisco Community is right for your customer base, we have a defined process to start yourcommunity.1. You will need to complete the Community Approval Request Form a. Once your request has been approved a confirmation email will be sent to you and the approving director to confirm the acceptance of the community request and begin the process. You will be required to complete a one-hour training session with a community manager and a technical project manager who will facilitate the community creation process. You will be invited to a bi-weekly call that covers community management best practices as well as technical issues of concern.2. Review the Launch Planner. It will provide you a week to week breakdown of needed action items prior to launch.Congratulations on your decision to start a Cisco community.25 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  27. 27. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 5: Ready to Start? Let’s Go5.2 Community Approval Request Form Sample Questions Fill out this form online at: a. Be prepared to answer the questions below. 1. Indicate the Director/Sponsor. 2. Identify the business goals of the community. 3. Identify what metrics you will use to measure your success in reaching those goals. 4. Who is your target audience? 5. How large is your potential audience for this community? 6. Indicate community manager(s) name(s), job title and contact information. Note: A Community Manager is required—that person is responsible for organizing a content schedule, ensuring that contributions receive responses, etc. We recommend a team of 3–5 people who are responsible for drafting and posting content with an identified Community Owner. We also recommend at least three SMEs responsible for fielding comments/ questions for each theme/issue related to the Community Topic. 7. Identify the Community Topic and list 3–5 sample themes/issues that relate to the topic. 8. Is this related to a current topic on the Cisco Communities Platform? If so, why do you believe it should have its own discrete area (or sub-community)? 9. Include any information you have on existing topic communities (competitive/rivalry communities, related communities, etc.). 10. Why is the community important/relevant to Cisco, Cisco’s customers and other external audiences?26 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  28. 28. Cisco Community Playbook - Chapter 5: Ready to Start? Let’s Go5.3 Launch Planner When What Who Week 1 Establish your community objectives: Who is your audience, Discuss plans with your manager and team. what is your content strategy and calendar, what resources will you appoint to team. Identify SME. Read Cisco Communities Playbook. Read, review and agree to Cisco’s Global Social Media Policy. Week 2 Fill out Community Approval Request Form. Submit to Cisco Communities team Week 3 Design your community and decide on widgets. Consult with the Cisco Communities team if widgets need to be customized to team’s needs. Develop content calendar. Review with manager and team. Week 4 Once the Community is set up on the platform, use a two Ask your manager, team and SME to participate. week closed beta or soft launch to test the functionality and Consult with social leads as well as Cisco Communities lead train your SMEs in the use of the community. if communications require management from their end. 1. Review the SME role and content requirements with your expert team 2. Ensure your team uses the beta to load content, check links and review all text for spelling and grammatical errors Week 4 Begin your outreach efforts by socializing the coming launch. Consult with social leads as well as Cisco Communities lead if communications require management from their end. 1. Add content to newsletters to the targeted audience announcing the new community and launch date 2. Post launch and teaser content on relevant Facebook, Twitter and Linked in pages Week Prior Email the internal team with project updates every two to Email the Cisco Communities team. to Launch three days prior to launch. A WebEx meeting updating the team and answering questions is an excellent way to keep everyone aligned and on track for delivery of their content. Week Prior Create spreadsheet for tracking metrics, top members and Consult with the Cisco Communities Team and request to Launch charting trends. access to Adobe SiteCatalyst, take SiteCatalyst training. Two-Days Seed content of interest into the forums two days prior to Work with social leads and team members to collaborate on Prior to launch to spur conversations for audience members. the appropriate content. Launch 1. Ensure that there is progress in new content development and that your content is on schedule 2. Review all content that will be on the site at launch Two-Days Reach out to your top potential members with a description Work with your main SMEs who will drive content as well as Prior to of the content that is available and let them visit early. (The the Cisco Communities Team. Launch idea is to allow these top potential members to get a head start and add content.) Week 6 Launch Use all your external social channels, blogs and internal communications to let organizations know about your community.27 © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  29. 29. © 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. To view a listof Cisco trademarks, go to this URL: Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply apartnership relationship between Cisco and any other company. Version 1.02 12/12