Figure-it-out is not a social media strategy

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Implementing a social collaboration platform is something that requires careful attention. Not only you have to come up with a plan on how you will thrive adoption, you should also think of ways to introduce this platform at the users for the first time. A strategy you might use is the so called champion/ superhero […]

Implementing a social collaboration platform is something that requires careful attention. Not only you have to come up with a plan on how you will thrive adoption, you should also think of ways to introduce this platform at the users for the first time.

A strategy you might use is the so called champion/ superhero or ambassadors concept. This concept consists of preselecting an enthusiast and often passionate and tech savvy group who are well connected in the organisation for which the social collaboration platform will be implemented. This group will lead by example and help other colleagues to adopt the platform.

However you need to guide these ambassadors first. You cannot throw a platform at them and expect them to figure it out. You have to guide them on the new platform and explain what the uses of the platform might be. Of course you have to leave room for them to come up with new uses themselves which should be supported and implemented before the final outroll, however you cannot expect them to come up with everything without you doing anything else than just providing the platform.

If you only provide the platform and let it up to the  ambassadors or even the users to come up with the uses, than it seems  that your critical success factor is luck. You have to design something to come to a social collaboration platform that supports your business goals, if you don’t design for intentional outcomes and therefore don’t design the uses of the platform upfront, you are just like Alice in Wonderland wondering where she would go next:

“Cheshire Puss,” she began, rather timidly… “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where…” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“– so long as I get somewhere, Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Design your platform so people don’t have to figure it out what use this new platform could have for them.  Provide guidance, provide help and make sure there is enough room for them to come up with initiaves and ways of working for the platform, however don’t expect them to keep up with everything, you have to invest a bit more time than just press ‘next’, ‘next’, ‘finish’ to install your platform. You should design for intentional creation, people shouldn’t figure out what use a platform has to offer for them, most of them even don’t have the time for that.

So before starting the implementation you’ve got to ask yourself one question:  ‘Do I feel lucky?’  Well, do you? If not, make sure your people don’t have to figure out the uses of a new platform, define already some uses upfront, help them, support them, guide them. It will take some time and effort, but it will thrive adoption.

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Rick Mans is a social media evangelist within Capgemini. You can follow and connect with him via Twitter or his personal blog

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