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.