Social Media & Technical Communications


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Social media and how technical communication fits in. See how technical content is a key part of social business approaches, and what the opportunities are for communicators.

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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,, 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”.
  • Social Media & Technical Communications

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