Ask anyone who's introduced social networking to a company and they'll have a whole list of do's and don'ts, and a fair few war wounds.
Here are my 9 stealth 'Ninja Moves' for getting your social network rocking and a reeling. They're taken from my new book How to Ignite your Enterprise Social Network which you can grab for free.
BONUS: Check out the list of remarkably silly but amusing Ninja Facts below the article called 'everything you ever wanted to know about Ninjas, but were too afraid to ask'.
Go to senior leadership to ask for their support. Sounds simple? It may not be, but know this: without their support your chance of making the ESN a success is seriously tricky.
Why? Because leaders set the tone for the business. If they aren’t involved (or at the very least know about the intranet social network and are vocally supportive about it) the people who work for them won’t see it as a worthwhile thing.
Does this mean you need to take this to your executive committee? No, not necessarily. You can pick leaders off one by one.
Even having just one leader who is vocal and supportive is a huge start.
Don’t go big bang with your social network. Pick off areas of the organisation that are crying out for a social network to help them do x?
But what is that x? It’s your job to find out. Speak to the team and understand what’s not working well and answer this: How will using a social network help them?
Don’t fall into the trap of not being entirely clear yourself and peddle the "oh, a social network can help you in lots of ways". No. Be specific.
Understand a pain point, think of how the social network can help them, then apply the band aid (the social network is the band aid, yes, poor analogy I know).
See if it works? If it does, well done. You've just got your first success story.
An absolutely killer training guide for how to use your intranet social network is priceless.
All those ‘how do I…?’ questions can be covered here, saving you a ton of time repeating the same old answers.
Better still, as new questions come about you can add them to the guide and re-issue it regularly, keeping it nice and up-to-date.
Whenever you spot someone in trouble, direct them to the guide.
Pin the guide in a really prominent place on the front of your social network, reference it in training guides, print off a few copies and leave them by the water cooler.
You want to create a place where community members can help each other.
So create a help group / community and make it the home for questions.
Reference it throughout your training guide, at the beginning, middle and end, making sure people know if they have questions about the social network to make the help group their first port of call.
You know the experience of calling a helpdesk, being put on hold and finally getting through to someone who can’t help you anyway. Frustrating? You bet.
So when someone in need of help goes to your help group and asks a question, make sure you’re on it.
Most intranet social networks allow you to set up alerts for specific groups, so you can jump right in there with a helping hand.
Another way to be the first to know when someone needs help is to set up keyword tracking. Sounds complicated but it isn’t. Find out if your social network lets you track certain words such as ‘help’ and ‘please’. Once someone posts something using one of those words, it gets flagged to you, and you’re in there like a knight in shining armour.
It creates exceptional customer service when you do it right.
To be the eyes and ears of your social network, you need to pick up what’s happening as soon as it is. Therefore as well as the above, it’s a great idea to have a secondary screen showing an all company feed.
Use a secondary desktop monitor, a tablet or whatever you have to hand to show a ‘pinterest style’ feed of all your networks activity as it happens. You’ll be amazed at how much you pick up what’s going on.
The more expert users, also known as community managers, you have in your social network the better.
Community Managers are people who:
Depending on the size of your business, the number of community managers could be counted on one hand to into the hundreds for really large organisations.
Not everyone is a born community manager.
I have seen many people have the community manager role thrust upon them and be utterly useless at doing it.
Some companies focus in on community management skills and offer training and even certification. A VERY smart move.
What’s the difference between community managers and champions?
Champion are your brand advocates - they are other ninjas like you. They are people who understand the power of social networking and who freely advocate the role and purpose of the social network for the business.
They are the person, often senior leader (but not always) who has influence (often an opinion former and thought leader) and who people listen to.
It's vital you identify these Champions, nurture their interest, listen to them, and solicit their support as often as you can.
Champions can open doors and opportunities for your network like no other.
While this may sound counter-intuitive, you’ll never know what will really work in your intranet social network until you try it.
You may be surprised with what does take off.
Much better to adopt the ‘lean start up’ model. Which means get a minimum viable product, test it, see what works, and rapidly re-iterate.
So try numerous activities, build on the ones that work, move on from the ones that don’t, and focus your time on promoting the good ones.
Most of all….Get stuck in! Build momentum, convince one team, or even one person, at a time and keep at it – your social network will flourish when you persevere. Your energy will be infectious.
What else have you seen work? Do you agree with these ninja moves?
For some activation examples I’ve seen work well, grab a copy of my free book here
During the writing of this article I came across a lot of random Ninja literature, and being a bit of closet Kung Fu nerd, l lapped it up! Here's a list of incredibly silly Ninja Facts...
Ninjas don't sweat.
Bullets can't kill a ninja.
Only a ninja can kill a ninja. Regular humans are useless.
Ninjas never wear headbands with the word "ninja" printed on them.
Ninjas can change clothes in less than 1 second.
Ninjas can crush golfballs with 2 fingers, any two fingers.
Fight skillfully with any object
Live in your house secretly for days
Can remove their shadow if needed
Go anywhere they want instantly
Catch bullets in their teeth
Kill themselves if they make a noise
Can run 100 miles on their hands
Train 20 hours/day starting from age 2
Are masters of disguise
Can hover for hours
Are completely self-sufficient
Can hide in incense smoke
Ninjas are the best guitar players. Ever.
Ninjas do NOT wear spandex.
A Samurai is NOT a ninja.
Courtesy of Sam Paulin's Urban Dictionary
Hi there. I'm Gerard Richardson, a social business consultant with over 10 years experience working across large multi-nationals in digital communications, both internal and external facing. This site is called thenetworked.org and is my blog / scrapbook / live journal all about the power of social networks for business. Welcome aboard!