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Ideas for increasing participation in social media

One concern I hear from business leaders is how to make social media and Web 2.0 work in their organizations. The leadership sees the value, but they realize they need to effect cultural change to get employees to start commenting, rating, tagging, etc.

Our customers are a perfect example. It's crucial for them to know how to use social media technologies because Presto revolves around them. These technologies help organizations understand how Presto works, and how to use the software in the company.

It can be challenging, however, to sell the idea to people who might be used to reading RSS feeds and blogs, but have never actually created content themselves.

I've been talking to our Presto customers to understand how they're spreading the social media gospel and encouraging people to participate in social media technologies. I've gathered some of their ideas, and incorporated a few of my own into the following list.

However, these apply to more than just Presto users. They're useful ideas for helping any company move forward into this new social technology era.

This is just a start, and we'll have more coming. And of course, your ideas are welcomed!

Leverage the evangelists. This is key for any company, especially those with few employees participating in social media. Your organization's evangelists must lead the charge. By sharing their excitement and knowledge of social media, they develop the same qualities in the rest of the organization.

Increase accessibility. Make social media technologies accessible by providing links to the log in pages from your organization's intranet. This keeps the technologies right in front of peoples' eyes, making it easier to participate in them.

Try new apps. While many social media apps have similar uses, they all have slightly different interfaces and features. For example, Flickr and Photobucket are both photo-sharing sites, but have different capabilities. To get on board with social media, people often just have to find what apps they like best. Encourage people to try new apps and discover what works for them.

Share your findings. Similarly, encourage people to share their findings, likes, and dislikes with the company. They can send links to the company, and include in the e-mail a brief note of what the site does, how it could help people in their work, and any pros or cons they've found.

Reward systems. An oldie, but a goodie. Incentives can go a long way to spark employee participation from a cold start. Try offering users who provide the most feedback or rate the most materials they research a gift certificate to local store or restaurant.

As you encourage social media participation in your organization, it's important to remember we are followers by nature. The more people see others using social media, the more they will adopt it themselves.

1 comment:

Jay Cousins said...

Nice post, i've also been musing on the issue.

One critical thing I would add is - Demonstrate value, identify what problems and issues it solves for them. Here's my article on first consulatation.

http://jaycousins.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/organisations-and-social-media-stage-1-the-buy-in/

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