Internal Community Advocacy

(Marjorie Anderson) #1

Hi everyone!

It’s interesting to see what everyone is working on. Hopefully, you can help me with an idea I have.

I’m currently working on an internal advocacy program – essentially, getting employees and other internal stakeholders (volunteers, chapter leaders, etc.) to get involved in the community and advocate its value. I’ve got a few ideas, but a lot of information I’m finding is around brand advocacy and social media. Not quite the direction I’m trying to go in, but it has given me a jumping off point.

Does anyone have any information they can share around an internal community advocacy program?

I’m all ears!

Designing workplans to increase ownership by host organization
(Sarah Hawk) #2

Great question!

I have a couple for you in return (in order to get a better understanding of your situation).

  1. What kind of community do you manage? Is it a community of practice, a product support community, or something else?

  2. What is your ultimate goal? Why do you want internal advocates? Is it to solve an organisational issue, or a community one?

(Anton) #3

May I ask you to explain a bit more what it means, please. Internal advocacy in a community – ?

(Marjorie Anderson) #4

Our community is a professional online community that focuses on industry best practices and was acquired in 2014 by the parent company. My goal for creating an internal community advocacy program is to highlight that community isn’t this separate part of the business. It actually plays a role in meeting organizational strategic goals, and can play a huge part in helping individual business areas meet their goals, as well.

We have worked with some people within the organization who can see how community fits into the overall business strategy and have been able to figure out how to leverage it while adding value to the members of the community. In a perfect world, everyone within the organization would see that value. However, there is always the struggle to get some to see the WIIFM, or why they should absolutely be engaged where it makes sense.

We do a presentation through our organizations business acumen course series that drives this message home, but this series is geared more toward senior leaders and management within the organization. Our hope is that the light bulb goes off during these presentations and that the communication trickles down, but it would be well worth our time to build a network of people who are already on the community bandwagon, so to speak, and can speak to it’s value from a level of first-hand experience to their peers.

I hope my ramblings make sense. If you need additional clarity, please let me know. We’re pretty young in the sense of community operating this way within our organization, coming from a more siloed Community of Practice model, so “changing hearts and minds” is a challenge.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

That all makes complete sense. I’ve been in a similar situation. I started by talking with the stakeholders that DID get it and got really strong buy in from them. A couple of them incentivised their teams to participate (and mandated weekly community participation time) which was all it took, because for many people the idea and the reality are quite different. Once they became entrenched in the community, they enjoyed it. Others followed.

The key was finding the supporters and working with them to create a vocal minority that led the charge.

(Rachael Reilly) #6

I hope you don’t mind me opening up this thread again. It’s exactly what I was looking for! I am working on some training for internal staff on community. I’m thinking along the lines of :

  1. Full FAQ Guide
  2. Video talking through benefits of community - 7 minutes or less with clear ‘WIIFM’ and ‘What’s in it for my customers’ angle
  3. Training Session - 30 minutes and recorded
  4. Open office hours weekly

The aim is to ensure that everyone is comfortable with community and has all of the tools and language they need, depending on their level of involvement. Some will only need the FAQ while those that we expect to engage in the community will need full training.

I’d love any feedback/suggestions!

Please feel free to move this if you need to @HAWK!

(Sarah Hawk) #7

That is never a problem.

I’ve invited @marjorieandersonpmi back into the topic to see what progress she made with this and if she has insights to offer.

I have a question. Are you doing this in response to a lack of internal engagement, or are you being proactive?

(Rachael Reilly) #8

I’m being proactive - which makes a nice change :wink:

We were in a pilot situation previously but are building up to a larger launch in Q1 of next year so I want to have a plan in place before that time.

(Sarah Hawk) #9

Here are a couple interesting/relevant conversations:

(Nick Emmett) #10

Hey @RachForShort - is this internal training for a customer facing community? As opposed to internal training for an internal community?

(Rachael Reilly) #11

Hi @Nick_Emmett It’s internal training for a customer facing community. There will be wildly varying degrees of involvement though, which is why I’m hoping to go with a tiered approach for training.

(Rachael Reilly) #12

Thanks @HAWK - that’s my reading sorted on my train ride home :wink:

(Marjorie Anderson) #13

Hi @RachForShort (thanks for tagging me in @HAWK). I got about as far as a staff engagement framework and am revamping our department’s existing Leader to Leader session regarding community to help articulate it’s value from an organization perspective, a member perspective, and from a shared perspective and will incorporate that framework. There were some shifting priorities that prevented the launch of an advocacy program this year, but I’m looking to turn my attention back to it and get our advocacy program off the ground for staff in the first half of 2017 (hopefully). I’d be happy to share and help in anyway that I can. If you want to chat, just let me know!

(Nick Emmett) #14

This is one of my favourite parts of what you’re planning - I think making sure that people are clear on where the value is for them is so important and will really help with “getting” the rules of engagement.

As an aside thought - what sort of size is your community? We don’t have a particularly large active base right now, so as such the only training-style information I’ve put out in the past has been internal webinars around why we have it and what features are available. I catch up with people and departments separately when I/we identify a way that Community could add value to their team / the business / a project.

(Rachael Reilly) #15

We currently have a very small base (because of the pilot) ~100 members but this will expand rapidly in Q1 and Q2 of next year. I really want to be prepared in advance so that our customer facing colleagues have all the tools they need to talk about and/or engage in community.

I do the same as you (catching up with individuals/teams as needed) and find it hugely beneficial but I do want to have something more concrete that people can dip in and out of as they need it.

(Rachael Reilly) #16

This sounds really interesting Marjorie. I like the way you’re looking at value from different perspectives. It’s tough to get the time to work on this type of advocacy or training program - I’m lucky in that I have the time right now but won’t in the future!