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5 Steps to Help Launch Your Online Community Building Programme


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With the emergence of Enterprise Social Networking platforms, communities are the new operating model within organisations. They’re the major key accelerators of effective change & transformation initiatives. Yet very few businesses have got successful online community building programmes in place. For most the old adage ‘build it and they will come’ would still apply hoping once they have got the technology in place communities will *just* flourish ‘on their own’. Alas, reality shows us that’s never been the case.

Join us to learn plenty more about the actual Community Building Programme framework that’s been running rather successfully some of the oldest online communities at IBM over the course of the last 21 years and still going strong.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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5 Steps to Help Launch Your Online Community Building Programme

  1. 1. 5 Steps to Help Launch Your Online Community Building Program Luis Suarez, panagenda @elsua
  2. 2. Social Connections 13 Luis Suarez @elsua Digital Transformation & Data Analytics Adviser panagenda Daniel Klas @panagenda Inbound Marketing Coordinator panagenda Speakers Join the conversation using #ESNstrategy & @panagenda
  3. 3. Social Connections 13 Business opportunities • Embracing online communities as new operating model • Helping accelerate your digital adaptation & change initiatives through communities • Facilitating ‘Community’ as the new Management (Connected Leadership)
  4. 4. Social Connections 13 But … what is a community? • ‘Groups of people who share a passion for something’ - Wenge, 2004 • ‘Groups of people who come together to share and learn from one another’ - Vestal, 2003 • ‘Communities are powerful tools, as long as you put members’ needs first’ - Forrester, 2008 An interactive group of people joined together by a common topic of interest Source -
  5. 5. Social Connections 13 In short… • A community is a group of people with similar professions, job functions and shared interests, who come together voluntarily to share openly (information, knowledge, good practices, Q&A, etc.) and spark new collaborations and ideas without a particular set of outcomes or goals in mind. Source -
  6. 6. Social Connections 13 Communities Enterprise Knowledge Organizational Capabilities Value Social Networking Open Collaboration Forums Content Sharing Wisdom of Crowds Collective Intelligence Knowledge Retention Good Practices Cross Pollination Knowledge Database Worker Efficiency Problem Solving Business Processes Decision Making Innovation Understanding Customers Insights Profitability Better Products Better Services Operational Efficiency Customer Sat. Higher Quality 1. Customers 2. Employees 3. Partners 4. Other Stakeholders Find Experts Value of communities
  7. 7. Social Connections 13 Capabilities 1.Create a content repository 2.Connect members to content 3.Identify most valued content Methodologies 1.Community templates 2.Community education offerings 3.Daily/weekly community leadership activities Relationships 1.Easy for members to form new relationships 2.Linkages with other communities People 1.Community Manager is passionate 2.Exec Sponsor is committed and models collaborative behavior 3.Members share a common interest Management System 1.Secure resources (& funding?) 2.Form a Core Team & establish a Community Charter 3.Establish cadence of meetings 4.Manage to a balanced scorecard 5.Create sense & respond capability People TechnologyProcess Knowledge Technology 1.Rich Member profiles 2.Simple to use social collaboration platform 3.Community Manager Tools 4.Platform measures value, participation, and reputation of membership Critical elements
  8. 8. Social Connections 13 Executive Sponsorship in place Community Manager in place AssessmentStart-Up / Discovery Current State Assessed Core Team in place Iteration 1 Community Charter Iteration 2 Community Charter Design Launch Community Infrastructure in Place Community Launched Community Designed Sustain Satisfied Members Business Performance Reviews Health & Maturity Checks Iteration 4 Community Charter Business Value Approach Designed Iteration 3 Community Charter Business Value Time to Value Shape and rate of incline curve depends on successful execution of combination of People, Process, Technology and Knowledge Community Launch Plan
  9. 9. Social Connections 13 Before you start … Should You Even Launch A Community? 1. Is there a sense of energy and passion around the community topic or domain? 2. Is there a recognized need that the community can meet, thus providing value to the members and their organizations? 3. Is management aware of the potential value, utility, and benefits to members? To the organization? 4. Is there top-level sponsorship? 5. Can potential members be identified? 6. Is there an existing sense of community among potential members? 7. Is there a significant or critical issue facing the potential community membership that knowledge sharing can positively impact? 8. Are there resources (e.g., people, technology, funding) to support the community? Good Practices 1.Leader Is Passionate and Very Active 2.Establish Clear Goals and Purpose 3.Needs of Members Comes First 4.SME Talent Assigned to Core Team 5.Management Has Committed Time, Resources, (and Funding?) 6.Make it Social & Communal Worst Practices 1.Starting With Technology 2.“Build it and they will come” 3.Focus on Value to Organization Only 4.Wrong Focus: Metrics vs. Business Measures
  10. 10. Social Connections 13 Critical roles: Community Leader 1. Interacts with members 2. Leads community: • Member advocate • Community evangelist • Creates editorial content • Harvests market insights • Balances the needs of the community with organizational objectives • Leader of the Core Team 3. Skills required: • Strong online communication skills • Approachable and conversational • Has the ability to relate to members online and offline • Comfortable with Enterprise Social Networking tools Key Activities 1.Promotes community 2.Encourages participation & discussion 3.Connects members with each other 4.Produces deliverables 5.Reports community metrics 6.Monitors & responds 7.Communicates news 8.Organizes events 9.Surveys for needs
  11. 11. Social Connections 13 Forrester identified four tenets of the community leader Description of Core Activities Community Advocate The community manager’s primary role is to represent the members of the community. They must listen, monitor, and respond to requests and conversations, both within the community platform and in email. Brand Evangelist Community manager promotes events, products, and upgrades using traditional marketing tactics as well as being part of conversations within the community. The community manager must first earn and maintain trust. Facilitator Defines, plans, and executes content strategy. Uses forums, blogs, podcasts, and other tools to create content. Mediates disputes: Encourages advocates and deals with — or when necessary removes — detractors. Works with corporate stakeholders to identify content, plan updates, publish, and follow- up. Research and Development Contributor Gathers the requirements of the community and presents to product teams. Plans and analyzes results of surveys or focus groups. Facilitates relationships between product teams and customers. Forrester: “Online Community Best Practices” by Jeremiah Owyang, Feb, 2008
  12. 12. Social Connections 13 Critical roles: Core Team 1. Core Team Members 1.Sample Roles: • Knowledge broker / curator • Learning coordinator • Various process owners (e.g., welcome process, metrics, monthly newsletter) 2.Sample Responsibilities: • Support the Community Manager in all the activities needed for the ongoing health of the community • Provide expert review of assets and intellectual capital • Provide thought leadership • Inspire member participation and promote the community • Keep the stakeholders informed and supportive • Help to obtain support/funding for community activities • Attend and participate in community events, activities, and discussions • Support and advise the community leader • Serve as the initial body of decision makers for the community • Provide the momentum needed to sustain the community’s evolution and vitality These are key people to support the ongoing vitality of the community
  13. 13. Social Connections 13 Ready to start? The Community Charter Name: (The name of the Community, i.e., Developer Community, Customer User Group) Target Member Demographics: (List the characteristics of the members that the community is hoping to attract) Purpose/Intent: (What is the purpose/intent of the community?, i.e., Skill Building, Listening, Learning) Domain: (What is/are the topic(s) of interest that best supports the community’s purpose) Assigned Roles: (Identify by name the individuals who are filling roles) 1. Community Sponsor(s): 2. Community Manager(s): 3. Core Team Members: Critical Business Issues: (Identify the critical business issues faced by the community) Collaboration Tools: (List the primary collaboration tools that will be used) Resources Required: (Identify the resources required to support the community, i.e., existing resources that are available, required contractor support, and content that needs to be developed) Measures of Success: (List measures of success.)
  14. 14. Social Connections 13 Implementation Checklist - Example 1. Document why the community is needed 2. Create a business case 3. Identify an initial community leader 4. Define the scope of the community 5. Recruit a core team of core team members 6. Assign roles 7. Document community main activities and processes 8. Develop a Knowledge Management Plan 9. Develop a Technology Platform plan 10. Finalize the Community Charter 11. Inventory and post existing content 12. Document a 90 day Launch Plan 13. Hold Pre-Launch Review Meeting 14. Launch the Community
  15. 15. Social Connections 13 Additional Resources Source -
  16. 16. Social Connections 13 Luis Suarez @elsua Digital Transformation & Data Analytics Adviser panagenda Daniel Klas @panagenda Inbound Marketing Coordinator panagenda Questions and Answers Join the conversation using #ESNstrategy & @panagenda