Our approach: How to succeed with your social product

Our Approach




We have a clear process to achieving a successful social product, whether it’s an ESN inside the business, or a customer community.


If you are just starting out, if you’re well into your planning phase or even if you have launched and need to gain more traction with the audience, the key to success is in good, solid groundwork.


If you – your whole business – isn’t absolutely clear on why you’re doing this and what you can reasonably hope to get out of it, the outcome is likely to be poor.





And that’s why we believe you need to go through the following six stages:


    1. Assess the potential value of going social.
      Do this at several levels: to individual members, to teams and to the business as a whole. This will help clarify the purpose in broad terms, and ensure that there will be business value to measure at the end of the day. In essence this is your vision for digital transformation.
    2. Identify the objectives, then the major strategies you need to follow to achieve them.
      Your ambitions have to be achievable within the realities of your resources and business culture, so you may need to adjust your expectations or timing – you may decide, for example, on a phased approach that initially brings limited achievable gains and move on to more ambitious ones at a later point.
    3. Research the users.
      No matter how much you want people to use your social platform and tools, the truth is that you can’t force anyone. So you need to be absolutely certain that you know what your audience members want and need, what problems they have which you can help solve, and what opportunities you can offer them. This input will make you re-visit and possibly modify your initial objectives.
    4. Build the network, both technically and in business terms.
      Technically, select and implement the right tools for the job. In business terms, make sure that you have the support of management, put governance in place to ensure that everyone is comfortable with whatever disruption may occur, and work with champions and early adopters to show what benefits could ensue from going social.
    5. Plan your KPIs and metrics and launch.
      To prove your eventual success, you need to be able to measure it, and simple platform analytics – like page impressions – won’t be enough. Plan detailed metrics that relate to the potential value you identified at the outset, and benchmark the business so you can show how social tools have impacted. Launching your social tools is unlikely to be enough: you need the tricks of the trade to attract attention and provide a compelling experience that will make people return and use them. And you should regularly review progress against the KPIs and metrics.
    6. Drive adoption, then assess the successes you have achieved and adapt to what you find.
      Few businesses find that social works out just as they had originally envisaged so, in the light of what you find, set new targets or adapt your plans to match the reality you find. If you’re at this stage download our health-check questionnaire, which will give you an instant snapshot of the effectiveness of your community.


The time this takes, from the first gleam in the eye to achieving measurable outcomes, will be many months, or even years. During this time, the business environment you operate in may have changed, perhaps not least because of the effect of your social efforts themselves. So, whether or not you always intended to build up your social plans in several phases, it’s important to revisit the value map you drew at the outset. If it still applies, then great. If not, then you may need to run through the steps 1-6 once again.