Category Archives: General

Business Social – Reason #29: Getting More Out of Town Halls and Management Conferences

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Get more out of town halls by utilizing live blogging and digital forums. During large-scale conferences, these tools can magnify the benefits of an event as well as capture information for future reference and information dissemination. Questions and answers that might have been forgotten are saved and even answered long after the meeting is over.

On a larger scale, Town Halls, frequently used for communicating to large groups, are often point-in-time events. Once people leave the room, messages get lost, filtered, or even changed as people talk about them afterwards. Good uses of business social include having official ‘live bloggers’ publishing key messages and monitoring (and sometimes participating in) conversations online during and afterwards. This helps the town hall speaker reach a wider audience and, since it’s written and discussed afterwards, helps ensure the audience understands the intended messages.

Beyond live blogging, communication experts have leveraged business social for handling questions before, during, and after the town halls. Users can respond publicly to the questions that weren’t answered due to lack of time, build interest before the town hall by soliciting questions and building on them, and refer to the business social platform for live questions during the town hall. Additionally, topics surfaced within the town hall can be built upon and moved to other relevant threads and blogs to keep the conversation going.

Management conferences are similar to Town Halls, but with a more targeted and senior audience. Thus, the risk is much higher for information to be lost as the messages cascade throughout the organization. Using the “official live blogger” device described for Town Halls mitigates this risk while making the messages timely and improving the perception of management attendees as more open and engaged. Organizers might also explicitly solicit questions from the broader online community and integrate them into the conference (e.g., by asking attendees and responding with answers on the platform). This increases the connection and engagement people have with both the content and the attendees.

What can business social do for you?

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Business Social – Reason #88: Connecting Communication From Multiple Sources

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Business social is great for connecting communication from multiple sources. Linking the social network to scanned materials, emails, and other intranet sites is a great way to utilize business social’s collaborative potential, turning “one-way” information into “two-way” communication.

Business social connects people, of course. However, connecting other forms of communication to the business social platform can be equally powerful. For example, email announcements from divisional communication routinely link back to the business social platform as a place for feedback and conversations. There will always be multiple people with the same questions after an announcement, but with business social, all of those discussions and answers can happen in one place, saving everyone time and frustration.

Nearly everyone still uses printed material and email to communicate to an audience. Increasingly, we should see people including links to the business social sites where readers can find more information or provide feedback. Links on printed materials such as posters provide a link back to the business social platform where people can get further content regarding the event or initiative.

Another increasingly common approach is to include business social links on intranet sites and vice versa. While some groups might move their entire intranet presence to the business social platform, others retain their current platform but include links. This drives traffic both ways. The traditional intranet can remain the home for official or static information that doesn’t change often, while the business social platform is the location for sharing, discussions, Q&A, invitations to events, and so on.

What can business social do for you?

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Business Social – Reason #18: Connecting People With What’s Important to Them

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Business social is not only good for connecting people to other people, but also it connects communications professionals with the all-important snapshot of “now.” Water-cooler discussions become published feedback that can drive needed change and innovation.

Part of the nature of business social is to connect people: people who do the same job, share the same interests, need answers to their questions, are looking for experts, etc. Scheduling and planning more “formal” opportunities to do this is becoming increasingly common. Creating scheduled discussion forums where people can either ask an expert or group of experts on a specific topic is a great way to get people familiar with how business social works, give recognition and exposure to experts and teams and collect expertise around a topic that is searchable and ‘discoverable’ after the event has concluded.

Less tangible but equally as powerful for the communications community is the ‘finger on the pulse,’ being able to keep your ear to the ground in order to understand what people are talking about. Historically, this information is typically gathered through large, time-consuming surveys. Jive provides an extremely useful channel for listening ‘in the moment’, not waiting for a point in time survey to be issued and analyzed. Jive provides an informal, content-rich treasure trove of what is on people’s minds, what they’re excited about, what gets them frustrated.

My favorite excuse from communications people is, “I don’t have time to keep up with what’s on Jive.” I would push back and suggest that understanding your audience and what they’re talking about/thinking about/working on is part of our jobs as communications professionals and Jive offers an extremely useful tool to enable you to do that.

What can business social do for you?

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Business Social – Reason #9: Easy Access to Executives and Senior Leadership

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Communications between different levels of an organization is essential. Business social can create easy access to executives and senior leadership, letting them share critical feedback in quick, simple, and easy ways, endorsing good work and encouraging positive initiatives.

It’s universally accepted that employees want more access to senior management and that senior management want authentic engagement with their organizations. To facilitate that, senior managers are increasingly using communications that let people comment and ask questions (Coffee and Q&A is a great example of this). Face to face events are important, and yet their usefulness can be limited to the people sitting in the room.

Senior managers that aren’t comfortable blogging or posting status updates on a business social platform can start with “Likes” and simple comments (“thank you”) on work and behavior they want to reinforce. Additionally, creating open discussion threads with management is a great way to connect people. Ask Me Anything (AMA) discussions are open discussions where a senior manager (or other ‘expert’) starts a thread, introducing themselves and asking people to, “ask me anything.”

Even executives who are reluctant to provide original online content can see the value of providing feedback on other content or simply recognizing good people and good work. A public thank you, comment, or even hitting the ‘like’ button ripples throughout the platform and is a simple, convenient way to reinforce results and behaviors that executives want more of. Communications professionals, with their knowledge of their respective organizations and access to executives, can curate content ahead of time so executives can provide meaningful feedback to their organizations in just a few minutes each week.

What can business social do for you?

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Why I Don’t Jive

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A handy list of reasons to counter any employees excuse for when they say “Why I Don’t Jive.”

  • I don’t have time: Social collaboration tools aren’t just fancy workplace substitutes for Facebook and Twitter. Jive can break the vicious meeting cycle so you have MORE time in your day. Not convinced? Click here to see how it’s done.
  • Because it’s easier to send an email: While it takes less critical thinking to send an email (instant gratification for me), documenting a correspondence in a transparent forum, retains that knowledge for the benefit of others (which is sharing with the team). Not only is this courteous, but it also logs and exposes relevant information in a way that reduces future time spent looking for an answer or the person with an answer. This helps to avoid redundant efforts, which drives productivity and saves us time (and the Firm money). Not swayed? Click here for more persuasion.
  • I can’t find anything: Jive search is far more robust than most think. Did you know you can filter search results based on Place, Author and Content Type? These are but a few filters to choose from. If you take the time to tag your content, you can even create your own personal filter! But don’t take our word for it, go to “Search” and try it for yourself!
  • I can’t access Jive from my Blackberry: Jive has a rich mobile experience that can be accessed using nearly any web-enabled device. You can also expect your mobile experience to become more diverse and a lot more robust as new features are unrolled.
  • There are so many systems! Why incorporate another one? We can take the guess work out of figuring out when to use Jive by creating a Why2Jive Community, which is a round-up of compelling and creative ideas around why to use Jive.
  • Jive is a social network; I’ve got work to do: Jive is a social business platform that enables us to get work done smarter and faster –think of it as a productivity tool. Social is indeed an added bonus in that it encourages connections with people outside your team, which can lead to new opportunities. Networking is good for your career!
  • I find Jive hard to navigate: we agree! A slick global theme can be used for streamlining the Jive user experience across a Firm.
  • Jive is too noisy: Not anymore. We can address a lot of the noise by creating custom experiences making sure you’ll only see content from people and places you follow.
  • Jive discourages interpersonal relationships: Doing more digitally will reduce in person meetings by breaking the vicious meeting cycle. Why sit through a 2-hour meeting when you can give a 2-minute update on Jive? Back to back meetings all day makes it hard to be productive. Jive can help you reduce your meeting load, which means you can finish your work faster and join the team socially for drinks.
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Business Social – Reason #52: Deflecting Call Volume Through Self-Service Help Desk

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Forum usage can result in deflecting call volume and greatly reduced holding times, which leave a smaller burden on support staff who can then spend more time on complicated issues.  

Dedicated support communities can greatly decrease the pressure on help desks and call centers. In cases where issues aren’t urgent, users can post their issue as a question, and other users can offer their own suggestions, advice, and possible solutions. Later, when another user arrives at the site with the same issue, they might search for and find the discussion thread created by the previous users, or be directed to that thread by a support employee, reducing the need to reiterate information. Frequently requested information or solutions can be highlighted on top pages, further reducing the strain on support lines. Users can rate the usefulness of an answer or add content themselves, further refining ease of access.

What can business social do for you?

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Business Social – Reason #76: Reducing Problem Resolution Times

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Building communities of practice on a business social platform makes it easy for employees to quickly gather solutions from their peers, thereby reducing problem resolution times. 

Every large organization tends to contain many employees who do similar or even identical tasks, but who are poorly connected. By forming role-based communities of practice, a business social platform can make it easy for people in similar jobs to share learning. Forums in these communities allow staff with problems or challenges to easily tap into the experience of their peers, and peers are often happy to help, as doing so shapes their reputation and opens opportunities for them. These digital communities allow people separated by distance or divided by department to cooperate as easily as if they were sitting side-by-side.

What can business social do for you?

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Business Social – Reason #40: It Makes for Collaborative Newsletters

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Newsletters disseminate information. Collaborative newsletters keep content fresh and connect readers, kick-starting collaboration while streamlining communication.

The newsletter is an essential tool in an enterprise workplace. When employees are constantly bombarded with information and waste hours clearing inboxes of emails, packaging a week or month’s worth of updates into a single digital page enables quick scanning but puts in-depth information only a click away. Yet, the process of creating and managing such a newsletter is seldom easy, and all that work can easily be for nothing: data may have been incorrect or quickly become obsolete. Once the newsletter is published, replies and conversations become a mess of repetitive, confusing emails, further cluttering everyone’s inboxes.

By utilizing business social, however, a newsletter becomes a gateway to valuable collaboration.

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The key is the centralization of data on a social site. When all the content to which the newsletter links is domiciled on a business social platform, it becomes infinitely more useable than text within an email. Such content can be edited even after a newsletter goes out, updating with new information or pointing users toward fresh data. Questions and discussions gather around an article, funneling into comments and discussions hosted on a business social platform instead of into repetitive emails. This is a newsletter that doesn’t just inform: it takes the reader to the most recent information and facilitates bidirectional communication.

This process can be automated and even personalized by each user through business social digests. If enabled, this function permits the business social platform to send a user a daily, twice-a-week, or weekly digest which includes links to new content from whomever the user “follows” as well as a quick summary of statistics on content to which the user has contributed. Following is as easy as clicking a button conveniently located on every group, space, and content page, making the customization of anyone’s personal digest fast and simple.

Of course, some business units want to up the ante. Not only can a business area take advantage of data centralization to facilitate communication and collaboration, but they can also incorporate additional elements to immerse readers in a truly social experience.

For example, in addition to the content chosen by the curator, the newsletter of one business client we worked included a list of the “Top 10 Posts This Month,” further directing readers to the most popular areas of collaboration on their social site. A mimic of their events calendar further drew attention to upcoming dates. Large, colorful buttons floated on the edge, inviting the reader to contribute their own ideas and discussion. All of these features increased the value of their single weekly-email, and all content linked to the respective community on the firm’s business social platform for further engagement.

What can business social do for you?

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Business Social – Reason #68: The Perfect Collaborative Tool for Project Management

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Business social collaboration tools help to organize project data quickly and efficiently, serving as the perfect collaborative tool for project management. 

Currently, project managers spend an enormous amount of time collecting statuses, compiling that data into Excel or PPT, and then emailing the results to a select audience. Jive replaces much of this data harvesting with well-designed and well-managed project pages, so that anyone interested in a project can subscribe to updates in real-time. Eliminating so many artifacts and their associated costs in time, email, and overhead allows for the redeployment of project management resources.

In fact, business social platforms have dedicated toolset for managing projects. Often within a group or space, users can create “project” spaces that can include timelines, tasks, and delegations, as well as the usual discussions, questions, documents, and ideas. When completed, a project can be “closed” while remaining available for easy future reference.

Business social allows project managers to spend less time compiling data and more time managing their projects.

What can business social do for you?

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Business Social – Reason #13: Corporate Knowledge Retention

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Looking for a compelling reason to get engaged with business social? Here’s another one: corporate knowledge retention.

And here’s a perfect example of why it matters…

Last week in rolling out a Jive’s theme for one of our enterprise clients, it was noted that some of the custom widgets were opening links in a new window. Essentially by navigating through a community, you’d end up with something close to 40 open tabs by the end of your browsing session. The theme was global and had been rolled out firm-wide, so there were dozens of use cases and thousands of users impacted. Within hours of launch, we’d already logged tickets against the issue and engineering was looking for a fix.

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Before I share what happened next, I need to add a bit more context.

In a previous scope of work, I developed a Jive theme for the same enterprise that was later repurposed into what was becoming the Firm’s global theme. As a consultant and in no uncertain terms, there were no guarantees as to a new SOW. Proverbially speaking, had I left the building on 12/31/13, a good deal of Jive knowledge would have left the Firm with it –this next bit included.

As the fire drill of incessant tabs cropped up, I vaguely remembered that ~10 months ago we’d dealt with and addressed this same issue with the other theme I had worked on (a cousin of the new global theme). So I started digging in my mailbox for a fix.

In short order, I found a vintage exchange between myself and a Jive developer:

“To get links to open in the parent window instead of a new window, the HTML class “target-self” will need to be added to an HTML container within a widget or a piece of content.

Example:

<div>

Content here with links

</div>

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.”

Don’t get me wrong, the above CSS is not rocket science. And yes, I got to be the hero that saved the day. But the fact that this knowledge was tied up in my email was actually a fail. Because had it not surfaced (and subsequently been added to a site dedicated to Internal Community Admins), this client would have lost productive employee time logging not a few support tickets. Not to mention at least a few phone calls with multiple stakeholders to discuss the issue, and ultimately, a costly engagement with Jive for a fix. The net cost to the firm would have been easily in the thousands. All this regarding <div class=”target-self”>?! Yep.

The sad reality is that this sort of thing is happening across enterprises all day, every day –in many different manifestations. Large enterprises have so much knowledge siloed in  email boxes, that when humans leave, the info leaves with them. Even still, just by virtue of  information being not-easily retrievable, it loses its value.

So why business social? Because creating relevant and strategic communities can help us to easily log and expose relevant information in a way that reduces time spent looking for an answer or the person with an answer. This helps us avoid redundant efforts, which drives productivity and saves us time (and the enterprise money).

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