Business Social Network Best Practices

Salesforce.com’s Collaboration Cloud Chatter & Facebook’s Workspaces

BUSINESS SOCIAL NETWORK BEST PRACTICES

1) The same as #7 in Etiquette List. Think before you post. A good way to look at it – DO NOT POST anything that you do not want your boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss to see.

2) Read coworker posts and see how they are posting. Review how they commonly post and what kind of response they generate. This also sets up an environment for everyone to police each other and themselves. If you notice someone doing something wrong, let them know. If you like what they are doing or are saying let them know. A common feature to show this is the “Like” button – generally represented by either the word “like” or a graphical representation of a thumbs up.

3) Follow an experienced user. How do they talk to their leadership, their peers, and their subordinates? Ties into #2, but can also stand alone. This will allow you to see how people who know how to maximize the use of the system use the system. Adapt their methods and proceed.

4) Research before you post. This is IMPORTANT. If you don’t know the answer or are unsure of the answer (or validity of the information that you are about to make public to the entire organization) research it first, find the answer and then post. And, if you can, provide a link to where you found the answer.

5) Be a connector. (For the Tipping Point people again.) If you see a post on your collaboration network that you don’t know the answer to, but you know a person that does know the answer, throw the question over to them. Comment on that post @mentioning the individual that has the answer, that individual will be clued in to the conversation and then provide the answer.

6) Always keep your profile up-to-date. Profiles are used not only to provide contact information such as a business card, but it is also a way to provide the human element to the social network. By providing a photo and bits and pieces of information about yourself helps create a sense of community and encourages sharing on the site. I don’t recommend posting a picture of you yelling at someone or a naked photo. These two methods could deter people from bringing you into the conversation.

7) Follow people that are important to you. Follow your coworkers, employees, and immediate leadership.

8) Start or join a group. If your ultimate goal is collaboration (which it should be in a business collaboration tool) then you need to start or join a group. This provides a forum specifically for your team to openly discuss issues. By posting in a group you won’t have to search through mountains of posts that are not relevant to your discussion. Think of it as your virtual conference room. You can lock it, by making it private and making it invitation only, or you can make it public for people to stop in and provide their two-cents at anytime.

9) Leadership must post regularly. There is nothing more disheartening to employees than implementing a business collaboration system and the the top leadership not participate. They try to keep their distance, applauding the effort of collaboration, but yet not collaborating. This is how a collaboration effort dies. If you are in a leadership position, post comments, post suggestions, post important information, “Like” the work that people are doing. You have been provided a method to communicate with your team. This method allows you to post what you have to say once, disseminating that message to all, and allows your team to respond and comment where everyone can see it. The business collaboration tool essentially allows you to practice management-by-walking-around without having to actually walk around. Notice I am not saying that it replaces seeing the smiling faces of those employees that hang on every word coming out of your mouth. This is just another important tool in your toolbox. So, get involved and join in the conversation. With all these posts, How do I get their attention?

Business collaboration tools such as Chatter and Workspaces scroll like Twitter or good ol’ Facebook. Meaning when a new message is posted to the platform all previous posts (unless made sticky) shift down a position. You can scroll through and find them, so don’t worry, they aren’t lost forever. But, they can be difficult to find if you do not link them to the people you want to have read them. Best method to make this happen is via @mentioning people (generally with the @ symbol prior to their name), this is good for directing the conversation to an individual or just a couple of people; posting in a group, an area created for a designated purpose such as a project, a department,etc; or posting with #hashtags (done by placing the # symbol immediately before the word or words), hashtags allow you to search for that topic easily.

Feel free to adjust the name of the Etiquette and Best Practices lists to better fit your organization. Examples would be: Chatter Etiquette, Twitter Best Practices, Yammer Etiquette, LinkedIn Best Practices, Social Media Etiquette, Facebook Best Practices, Google+ Etiquette, ….etc…Hey world, can we have some more social media sites please. I don’t think we have enough.

Predictions Social Business in 2012, Part III: Transforming Your Organization (charleneli.com) Yammer Helps Grocery Chain Unite Brands (informationweek.com) A special report on social networking: Yammering away at the office | The Economist (economist.com)

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