Improving community engagement on your knowledge sharing platform: a practical guide
November 07, 2018, Hélène Marcq
So, you’ve had your knowledge sharing platform going for a while now, but you’re starting to notice the telltale signs that employees are not using it as you hoped. Emails are still piling up in your inbox, and important posts are simply overlooked and scrolled past.
We know it’s not always easy to engage your users, so we asked our customers for their tips and tricks. We host regular User Club events, inviting our customers (including D.A.S. Belgium and EURA NOVA) to meet and exchange best practices, and asked them what they did to encourage their users to give feedback and use the platform actively. Together, they identified several ways they engage their community, and that advice is worth sharing:
Firstly, think about how you present your content
To engage your employees, it makes sense that you need to show them engaging content, so that they’ll want to click on it when it appears in their activity feed.
- Take some time to think of a title that is as attractive as possible for your content. Some inspiration for this can come from practices used on social networks. Try to keep it short (around 65 characters), include questions to encourage feedback and use imperatives to engage the audience.
For example, 'How should I [perform this task]? We give you step-by-step advice' or 'How industry experts [achieved this objective], find out what they have to say to us!', or 'Do you [have common problem], 10 ways to get better results'.
- Make a short summary of your content, this helps the user see at a glance what your content will bring them. This should include some context, the problem the article addresses and the main learning for the user to take away.
- Add an image or graphic to illustrate your content, as those with visual supports are more attractive and more likely to be clicked on.
- When you post, add a short comment that explains why you shared it, or the questions you still have about it. This provides a real opportunity for debate and exchange.
Have space ambassadors
The role of an ambassador is to ensure the development and growth of your community and promote its importance internally. This role is sometimes difficult to grasp but they are there to:
- Boost exchanges, facilitate sharing and discussions in the online community (they should never leave a post unanswered, for example).
- Establish a climate of trust for users (welcome new members, establish some rules of practice, etc.).
- Connect expert members of the same field (mention other members of the community that may be interested in the content).
- Monitor the content posted on the platform (set an example, post content, ask questions, give your opinion on content, etc.).
- Recruit new members (add new people interested in the community).
- Be an ambassador for the project in the company (present the initiative at meetings, seize opportunities to transform certain internal processes, remind others of the importance of posting information on the platform, educate others, etc.).
The role of an ambassador is essential for the growth and success of the project, it’s important not to underestimate the part they play. Make sure to acknowledge their responsibility for the success of the initiative and reward their investment. One of our customers, the leading insurance firm, D.A.S. Belgium, reward their ambassadors with additional training and fun team-building activities. See how this works for them in our short video.
Make the tool essential
By making your knowledge sharing tool the one and only source of truth in your company, and by posting user-critical content on it, engagement will increase significantly. Your users will quickly discover its added value as it will contain all the reference documents they need in their daily lives.
Our customers had some tips on how to do this:
- When you launch your initiative, make sure that employees have a need to use the platform for at least one task they routinely undertake.
- Import content which a large number of people need to consult, such as: processes, company documents, document templates, etc.
- Be on the lookout for original content with high added value around the office which could also be uploaded.
- Try to identify content that’s not found anywhere else, which would help everyone, however simple it might seem. For example: the canteen menu, a glossary of company terms, legal holidays, etc.
Drastically reduce emails
If you’d like to change employee behaviour, it's important from the beginning to educate users to come online to exchange or consult, and not to transfer information to each other by email. For example, if you receive requests for information via email, try to systematically reply with a mention on the document on the platform instead of forwarding the answer back by email. You can also try copying and pasting an email exchange into the platform to continue the debate openly and avoid the many people in CC.
Create informal spaces
If, despite your efforts to post high value-added content, you do not see any change in user behaviour, why not think about creating spaces where the content is less 'professional' but more focused on the life of the company, with internal activities or information in relation to competitors, etc.? This could attract users in another way and convince them of the added value of the platform.
For example, you could create a space that brings together everything people have read about the competition, about a workplace sports initiative, about internal ads, afterwork drinks etc. Keeping this space separate will help make sure that it isn’t a distraction to employees’ work.
Host small focus groups
Once a week, or however often you think best, it can be interesting to organise short working sessions in relation to the tool and its content. Select a target audience of around fifteen users and offer training on a particular feature, have a discussion on new information published on the platform, or redefine everyone's roles and their involvement or focus on what worked well this month, for example.
Identify active users
By sharing exemplary behaviours from your most active users with the other users, you can help them understand the added value and encourage them to use the platform in the same ways. Feel free to congratulate in public the users who are advancing the initiative, you can make a screenshot of small successes on the platform and share them widely.
We hope these tips help you engage your community and increase your active users. Let us know if you have any more tips you’d like to share on Twitter.