Successfully launch your enterprise social network with these 5 steps

This blog post is part of our mini-series guide in which we look at the best practices for enterprise social networks.

So you’ve followed our steps and are fully prepared for the implementation of your enterprise social network. You’ve got your plan in place, bought your tools, set your goals, found your champions and assigned a Community Manager. Now you’re ready for the launch. This may seem like it will be easy, simply open it up and let them loose, but a launch needs to be planned out and managed just as carefully as any other part of the project. Here are five steps that you should consider to help your enterprise social network launch successfully.

1. Conduct a pilot launch

In most cases, a big launch will be a flop. Throwing users in the deep end and expecting them to become adept social networkers straight away, immediately changing the way they work and communicate with one another, is unrealistic. Instead, ensure you do a soft launch first with a select group of users before you roll it out company-wide. This way you can work out any quirks in the system and establish a plan of action for getting users fully involved with the platform.

2. Get your champions started

Get a group of champions to start using the enterprise social network. They’ll help you iron out the bugs and will help you to roll it out to a wider user-base later. Invite a spectrum of people from across the business to be your first users, including a mixture of early adopters, socially savvy people, contributors, spectators, key users and executives. Train these users on the system and encourage them to start working in the platform. Once they get to grips with the system they will become advocates and will be able to help and train other users later.

3. Build out your content

Your champions will help you to build the content within the platform. It’s important to have the enterprise social network seeded and alive before it is opened up to the rest of the organisation, so that there’s somewhere to start and work from. Populate the network with valuable content and information like user guides. New users will take clues from the existing community on how to use the system, and will find it easier to venture into using microblog posts, comments and @mentions when they see experienced users doing so. Joining an active, vibrant community will help to enthuse new users into getting involved.

4. Educate users

Provide training opportunities for all new users to the system so that they understand not only the technicalities of the enterprise social network but also the benefits of the system, how it can help them to streamline their work and communications. Don’t just train everyone once at the start. Continue educating users over time, especially taking care to help users with lower levels of expertise or those who use the system less frequently to avoid user drop-off.

5. Document wins

Once you’ve launched your enterprise social network, remember to continually identify and document wins in order to promote the success of the platform once they start to emerge. These could be things like increases in product knowledge scores since the launch of the system, or reductions in the time certain projects take to complete. Broadcasting successes with colleagues via the enterprise social network will demonstrate the value of the platform to users, particularly those who may be skeptical or haven’t fully signed on to using the system yet. Consider starting a hashtag to group these wins together and use them to measure the results of the system.

The success of how you launch your enterprise social network depends fully on how well users engage with the system. By planning out your launch and conducting it in a measured way, you can help to ensure that as many users get involved and invested in the system as possible.

Cover image: CC Flickr - Austin


 

This blog post is part of our mini-series guide in which we look at the best practices for enterprise social networks. The series:

1. About to implement an enterprise social network? Wait! Read this first.
2. Successfully launch your enterprise social network with these 5 steps
3. A simple guide to moderating your enterprise social network
4. Sceptical execs scuppering your enterprise social network? Here’s how to win them around.
5. Top tips for making your enterprise social network a runaway success

Cover image CC by Matthew Simantov






 

Susanna James

HighQ
Susanna specialises in social business and content marketing. Her expertise lies in helping companies streamline the way they work and improving how they collaborate through enterprise technologies and social tools.

 Twitter  Google +  LinkedIn

Related posts

About to implement an enterprise social network? Wait! Read this first

This blog post is part of our mini-series guide in which we look at the best practices for enterprise social networks. A predicted 65% of large European enterprises will have adopted social tools for business purposes by the end of 2014, so it’s increasingly likely that if your company hasn’t already adopted an enterprise social network it will this year. […]

 

A step-by-step guide to getting your business working social

“Social” in the enterprise context means connecting people. It means associating work, content, knowledge or data with the person who created it. It means being able to see something that someone has done within a collaboration platform and viewing their profile where you can see what else they’ve done and get an idea of their field of expertise. […]