SharePoint Fest Denver: Climbing the Social Ladder – A Case Study of Business Social Strategy

What’s your social strategy? Gathering around the water cooler, joining the gang after work for happy hour, FaceBook? Liz Sundet, a self-proclaimed biker chick and Applications Architect at OneNeck IT Solutions
discussed the challenges – and strategy in taking her organization up the social ladder during one of the first break-out sessions of the day.

The job: As described by her manager, build a site that everyone could access. This included bridging multiple companies with multiple locations to improve user collaboration. The challenge: With four SharePoint site collections, less than 50 (out of 650 employees) MySites used, and two users on the Yammer Network, Liz identified an opportunity to take advantage of creating more than one site.  To accomplish this; however, she needed to also create a social strategy.

One of her first objectives was to determine the right first project. She sparked an internal grassroots effort by integrating solutions like Yammer and community sites, as well as engaging the marketing team to identify what would work best overall for the organization. Within a few months, Yammer’s use increased from two users to 80.

Next, Liz suggests finding a champion who will impact your strategy. She engaged the company president by sending him an email explaining Yammer and suggesting he join. Not only did he take the bait, but he immediately posted – and challenged five people to each invite five others. In two weeks, users jumped from 80 to over 300.

While the grassroots “movement” was working for some, there were others who weren’t quite on board. According to Liz, you must know your stakeholders.  Although all stakeholders don’t have the same stake,
create a stakeholder map to identify, analyze, and prioritize key players. This, in turn, can identify overlooked requirements that can make your project successful. In Liz’s case, it was receiving stakeholder feedback that
eventually established a social media policy.

When it comes to user adoption, guidance is imperative, according to Liz. Users want to know how to use it and how it works. Implement training and/or awareness for success by creating a “how-to” user guide that explains what to post, tips and tricks, and how to easily modify settings or ways to enhance your profile.

Whatever solutions you include in your social strategy, make sure it matches your culture. At OneNeck, users liked that employees were recognized for job performance on the Yammer board. Human Resources quickly noticed and joined in the fanfare – and then linked to a SharePoint “kudos” community board. The social side finally started promoting the use of community sites. Small wins have propelled the growth.

Looking ahead, Liz is now looking at metrics, a potential Yammer Enterprise upgrade (they’re currently using Yammer Basic), addressing current limitations, as well as the integration with other products such as SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. OneNeck currently has 400 Yammer users.

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