Best Practices for Enterprise Social

1.  Enterprise social software can improve the interaction of a virtual community, but it cannot singlehandedly create the community.

2.  Management must provide support of the community.  When a knowledgeable executive sponsor ensures the community's goals and output are inline with the company, their output will be taken more seriously.

3.  Don't create communities too tightly... The best ideas may come from outside the direct circle of experts.

4.  Make membership in a community a privilege not a burden.  Appoint or nominate leaders (note, not just moderators).  Many companies consider the leaders of communities as top technical authorities of the organization.

5.  Get communities together periodically.  A live event in person (~once each year) will reinforce the importance and the continuous contributions of the community.

6.  Lead by example.  Management should be amongst the first to post, and purposely spark replies and contributions from others.  Use the software to improve transparency. 

7.  Host regular online company events where employees have direct access to Executives so they can ask questions.  Salesforce.com hadn’t figured out social as a management team until they posted notes in real-time from an executive strategy meeting.  Employees were in tune with the execs and posted feedback as the decisions were being made.  Sharing became viral.

8.  Solicit a response and interaction, rather than post FYIs.  If posts are just a new way to send blast emails, the validity of the community and software will be hampered.  Red Robin set a great example for the business use of Yammer by polling restaurant personnel about cost saving ideas.  https://about.yammer.com/customers/red-robin-gourmet-burgers/ 

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