Vanessa DiMauro is the founder and CEO of Leader Networks, a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building. DiMauro is a popular speaker, researcher and author. With over 15 years experience in social business leadership positions at Cambridge Technology Partners, Computerworld, Bitstream and TERC, she has founded and run numerous online communities, and has developed award winning social business strategies for some of the largest and most influential companies in the world. Many of her clients have won prestigious industry awards such as Forrester’s Groundswell Award in the community category as well as SNCR’s Excellence in Communications Award.

Her work has been covered by leading publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. Vanessa DiMauro sits on several boards. She is former Executive-In-Residence at Babson College’s Olin School of Management, holds both a B.A

    Woof! Eating more dog food

    Integrity is a core value. Integrity means: Saying what I mean, and doing what I say. No discounts.

    In the last 30 minutes I've scanned my Syndu Feed to read what happened in the world in the past couple of days that I ought to know about. While reading, I added links that people in my social circles may care to know about.

    30 minutes. A week long of planned web presence.

    I can now take the week off.

    The Syndu Feed will be discussed on the Syndu FB page throughout this week, since we're finally launching it. 

    It's the secret sauce to a better web presence. I hope you get to enjoy it as much as I do.

    LinkedIn increases traffic while reducing trust

    LinkedIn is attempting to drive more traffic back into the site, and to do so it's adding new "viral" features such as endorsements and surveys.

    It seems to me that these features are bad - they increase the ratio noise over quality signals, and reduce the overall trust factor of the information on the site.

    For example, let's take the endorsements feature. People with whom I worked have endorsed skills I have, but never employed in their presence. People with whom I haven't worked but are acquaintances of mine, endorsed work skills I haven't demonstrated to them.

    The reason for these endorsements is a badly designed feature which plays on people's generousity - and the result is endorsements I can't really trust on other people's profiles.

    The photo attached to this post is an email I just got at 3:00 am, Friday night. It's unlikely that it was sent by a real person. The text of the message makes it clear that it wasn't, since it's not a person who ever spoke to me personally.

    A site that thrives on networking should really focus on increasing trust between people, not reducing it.

    Technology helps us transcend our limitations - including nationality

    I'm working on the finishing touches of the latest Syndu release. Something that bothered me immensely was the medium quality of the social buttons we used.

    Icons are quite something. To squeeze visual information into a 20*20 pixels area, while retaining a sharp and clear visual is an artform.

    Fixing the icons is a serious task - it takes hours to get every pixel in place, and buying a 20*20 iconset is not so easy to find. These limitations make it an excellent task for outsourcing.

    I logged on to ELance, created a task and within an hour I had 10 bids, ranging from 20$ to 200$. One of the offers was from a Palestinian guy, which immediately made all the other offers irrelevant.

    The web ignores borders. I had the opportunity to reach out and collaborate simply with someone who's considered my enemy by many of my countrymen.

    I hired this designer, and within 3 hours the job was complete. It was nothing short than amazing. When I received the graphics and integrated them into Syndu, I sent him a thank you email with a link to the site where he can see his work, live.

    This experience makes me hopeful about how technology can help us connect and collaborate beyond borders, nationalities and religion.

    Using Syndu's Queue may get you into trouble.

    Explain it to your loved ones...

    • A minor inconvenience
    Announcing a minor change: Publishing to Facebook

    Hello, awesome users, we would like to tell you about a minor upgrade when publishing posts to facebook

    Up until now, when you posted a long story to Syndu and had images in it, Syndu published two links to Facebook. 

    As of now, when you have a photo in the story (thumbnail or attachment) Syndu will push the photo into your newsfeed. The photo will contain the first paragraph of your post and the link to the blog post in Voice.

    Why did we change it? Photos in the feed attract more attention than text, and we hope this will help your stories become more noticeable. When Syndu posted twice, some users perceived it as spamming their friends.

    So, there you have it. We hope you'll enjoy this little upgrade.

    Let us know what you think!

    • Inception. It's a photo post about a photo in the newsfeed.
    Just like planting trees

    I saw this short animated film this morning and was deeply moved.

    The video is a story about a man who planted trees during the first few decades of the previous century. He transformed a barren landscape into a thriving forest, single handedly. His actions were described in a book, who inspired others to do the same, in India, Mongolia and Africa. More than 100 million trees were planted.

    Trees are a presence of goodness in the world. They are a house for living things. They rebuild topsoil and retain water in the ground, helping form fountains and streams. Trees clean the air from pollution. And in such an environment, people can thrive.

    There's a tremendous power in investing our efforts and focus in doing something we care about. We're practically a force of nature on our own.

    I hope that consistently putting our backs, day after day, into our own project, Syndu, will help it to grow into a forest on the web.

    New Syndu For the New Year
    New Syndu For the New Year

    We have been working hard on a new Syndu version to address many of your questions, requests and needs. We know that web presence may seem like a puzzle with lots of different pieces and our mission is to put them into an integral web presence and leave you to focus on your business success.

    To accomplish this we organized and expanded Syndu into four sweet and simple products - Site, Voice, Queue and Feed.
    Let's start by telling you about the product you already know - Syndu Site. One of the main things we wanted to accomplish is to create a clean, crisp and spacious interface, unified across all Syndu products.

    Here are some of our new features we put into this version:

    • Sign-up using your Facebook id
    • Easier for visitors to find the contact form
    • Fast access to Social Media presence
    • Indication of being logged-in to Syndu
    • Easier for visitors to change languages
    • Menus that are clearer to navigate for Admins and visitors
    • And much more

    Click here to see screenshots of how the new version looks like.

    For now, if you have an existing Syndu account you need to change it to the new version by going to Account Settings -> Syndu Version and changing to New Version. We will later change this automatically to everyone.

    One last thing, please Like us on Facebook to stay up to date with news, tips and daily inspiration boosts.

    Thanks for your continuous support and we wish you a Happy New Year !

    - Team Syndu

    • 374427_441218135936807_1338016226_n.png
    • 67665_441218632603424_286883181_n.png
    • Crisp and spacious design for smooth navigation
    Social Media - The New Syndu Social Center
    Social Media - The New Syndu Social Center

    Your Social Center is the place where visitors can see a map of your overall web presence, usually your profiles on youtube, pinterest, twitter and other social media networks.

    The idea behind having social profiles is the same as with other marketing tools: to spark and maintain relationships with your audience. These relationships can turn visitors to followers, customers and even advocates by communicating values your audience cares about. Social profiles are where this happens through interesting stories, quotes, images and any other engaging content that you publish.

    With time, relationships maintained over social networks increase your exposure, help you reach more people, and more importantly attract like-minded visitors that share your values. For this reason, we encourage you to work with Syndu’s Social Center and add your social profiles to it.

    In our mission to provide a clean and spacious interface with the new Syndu version, we made some changes to the Syndu Social Center. The Social Media section of the top menu contains all of your social media links in a single unified list for visitors to easily access.

    Also, adding new social media channels to the Social Center is quite simple, all you need to do is login to your Syndu website or Voice, go to Options -> Contact Center, and add your Social Media profiles.

    Before we finish, a word of advice: focus on social profiles that are well designed and maintained with fresh and appropriate content. It's usually a good idea to hide profiles that are stale and not used as they might discourage visitors from following and contacting you.

    • Screen Shot 2012-12-23 at 2.41.28 PM.png
    • Syndu Contact Center
    Introducing a lab feature - Photo Wall

    Hi all,

    We're working on the development of Media and the launch of Syndu. During our work, we add code to the Syndu machine which can be used in different ways.

    One of the things that became possible is the Photo Wall feature. This feature lets you present all of the photos in your Site and Voice in a gorgeous mosaic.

    The Photo Wall is useful when you want to showcase your work quickly, and present what working with you feels like (of course, it's only useful if your photos are organic, and represent your work).

    To check it out for yourself, just go to your Syndu address and add -photo at the end

    For example, the review the Dalloway photo wall, visit:

    *The PhotoWall is currently a lab feature, use at your own risk :-)

    • photowall.jpg
    Voice update: more design options are now available

    Some of our users asked that we add a new layout option for the feed, so we did.

    After the round of changes, we thought it may be a good time to go over these features with you.

    In Voice, under the Design option, there are three tabs.

    The first lets you change the background for your Voice, and the last holds the list of themes you can play with and change the look and feel of Voice.

    The middle tab holds the layout options. Currently, Syndu offers three possible layout categories:

    1. The position of the content area - you can choose to position your content at the center, left or right.

    2. The position of the profile information: will it appear at the top of the page, or at the side of the feed.

    3. How stories are shown when they appear in the feed: will they be trimmed down into a short form (akin to WordPress), or shown fully in the feed (like Tumblr is doing).

    Using these options, it's possible to create twelve different layouts, which is a good start when designing. Adding your own background photo and choosing different themes will help you take design to a whole new level.

    • Layout Options
    • voice
    • design
    • layout
    • stories in feed
    Introducing Syndu Voice - The Web Presence Superblog
    Introducing Syndu Voice - The Web Presence Superblog

    Once you have a website in place, you may ask yourself “How can I get more people to see my website through search engines and social networks?” The answer is to create engaging content and share it on websites or social networks where your customers are likely to find them

    When people read content that resonates with the values they believe in, they will likely read it thoroughly, comment, share and remember it, and so your audience and web presence will increase.

    The Syndu Team is happy to announce that we are launching a new product called Syndu Voice - a superblog designed to boost your web presence. Voice lets you create and share stories (in Syndu engaging content that the reader connects with is called a Story) that can include text, images, videos and urls. Stories can also be published immediately to your social networks, tagged and saved as drafts or to your Queue for timely publishing in the future.

    As of this week, Voice is available on the new Syndu interface, all you have to do is to login, go to your Account Settings, and activate Voice. The next thing you will see are the buttons to add stories on the top bar - and that is exactly where you should begin with your own unique voice.

    While Voice is being rolled out to our customers we will share with you how they are using it. For now, you can have a look at our very own Voice as well as Natti’s Voice, our co-founder.

    • Natti's Voice
    • Publish a new story on Voice
    • voice
    • new product
    Starting With Syndu Voice - 3 Things You Should Know
    Starting With Syndu Voice - 3 Things You Should Know

    Syndu Voice is a superblog platform designed to publish stories both in your Voice feed and to Facebook with more social networks to follow shortly. Here are 3 things you need to know when starting to work with Voice:

    1. First, you have to activate your Voice by logging into Syndu, clicking on Account Settings -> Voice, and activating your Syndu Voice.

    2. Before you start writing, make sure your Facebook profile is connected to Voice. If you don’t have one, that’s ok you can always do that later. Once you are logged into Voice, click on Options -> Social Channels and establish the Facebook Page you would like your stories to be cross-published to

    3. Click on ‘New Story’ to write your own story. Your story includes a title and text, and a thumbnail image to appear on Voice and Facebook. Your story can also include images, videos and other media attachments, as well as tag your story.

    That's it for now, more tips will follow in the next few days so stay tuned.

    Good luck using your new web voice, and we wish you a happy 2013!

    Pre-election thoughts

    I think we've moved into a new era. An era where communications and media drive collaborative work instead of competitive. I see it everywhere I turn my attention to.

    Information related to the political process is washing over me from my Facebook feed. The only way I can avoid it is to disconnect from social media for three weeks, but I don't want to. Younger candidates are using social media to spread information and to refute lies and half-truths which are still common in campaigns.

    I just saw this - Stav Shaffir, a young candidate which will probably become a minister in less than a month, has just participated in a highschool debate and presented information on govt policy. The minister responsible for this policy told her she's wrong and that she's too young and that he won't embarass her in front of everyone.

    While that exchange took place, the highschool kids looked it up on Google using their mobile phones, and told him he's wrong.

    As information becomes more pervasive, it's going to be harder to lie to us. It's going to be easier to share the truth and cut through the lies used to control us and twist our perception of what's real and right.

    I think the next four years will be terrible here, but, there's still hope for the next election.

    I should go back to editing Integral Marketing.

    When we come to solve a problem using just one skillset, we may face a problem.

    When consulting an expert, it's imperative that they will specialize in what they do. Unfortunately, some experts, a shining beacon to their profession, are completely oblivious to the tools available in another discipline.

    As Abraham Maslow said, having just a hammer in your toolbox means that you might treat everything as a nail.

    The same symptoms described in corporate-verse  (read more here), appear in the domain of small businesses in a slightly different form. Small business hire numerous experts to succeed; The first expert does branding and graphics, the second expert builds the website, the third specializes in Facebook page management, the fourth helps them rank higher in search engine results; each of these experts operate on their own, often at different points in time, leaving the small business owner to coordinate and manage specialists, while lacking the understanding and know-how.

    The solution to these problems is twofold - to educate and create better tools.

    In the past two months I put a lot of emphasis on the tech tools; It's time to give the Integral Marketing book some loving.

    • integral marketing
    • seth godin
    • insight
    • small business
    Write a story anywhere and publish in Syndu
    Write a story anywhere and publish in Syndu

    We all have our favirote place to write. Some like to do it at home, some at the office and some on the go. Depending on the place an time, we could also use different offline writing apps like Word or Notepad, as well as online writing apps like Google Docs.

    When pasting content that has been written in a different app, some web applications require that you manually format the text again, changing text sizes, fonts and bullets.

    To make sure that your content can be pasted into Syndu with no formatting hassle, we added some cool options to manage how text is pasted into Syndu:

    • Paste-As-Text removes all formatting from your text. This is great when copying from web pages or emails.
    • Paste-From-Word will maintain the original formatting and works best when pasting from MS-Word running on Mac or Windows
    • You can always use the regular Paste button as before

    These options are available on the menu bar of the Syndu rich-text editor, and work both in Voice and in Syndu Site.

    Keep on writing great stories in Syndu, that's what it's there for.

    • Syndu paste options
    A better web presence through easier storytelling.

    Blogging is the best way to increase presence on the web. Stories are the expression of our values, the same values that connect us to other people and help us grow and thrive. You can find out who I am, based on the stories I choose to tell (and share).

    When I started blogging a few months ago I felt like most of the work I was doing involved copying links around, instead of writing.

    I used Google Reader to find inspiring articles

    Then I sent the links to these articles to myself so I can remember about them.

    I wrote a story, and used multiple tabs to switch back and forth between the original articles and my version.

    Then I used Buffer to post it to Facebook.

    Blogging just took too many tools to make something quite trivial happen.

    I heard from my tech friends about crazy solutions they set up to solve this publishing nightmare, using IFTTT and other tools. 

    This lack of integration wastes so much time, and it's really manual, stupid and annoying labor. It makes people deal with tools instead of focusing on creating content.

    There had to be a better way, a more streamlined way. When I went to look for one, it turned out there just isn't, and everyone invents their own wheels.

    So the Syndu team set out to build an integrated solution on top of Syndu Voice. An RSS reader called "Feed" through which I can view my articles (you can see it in the attached image below), that knows how to talk to the Queue as well.

    Since yesterday, the way I write stories has become simpler. I read them in my feed, and whatever catches my eye becomes a story. When I write my story, I see the original article on the same screen. I save my stories to Syndu's Queue, which publishes them automtically based on schedules I create.

    There are short stories (which only go to my facebook page, without appearing on my blog) or full length stories (such as this) which appear on my blog, as well as my FB page. It's a whole different experience.

    Making story-telling easier on the web is another Syndu contribution to a better web-presence.

    Everything you need
    Everything you need

    Our mission is to provide you with everything you need to succeed in your web marketing.

    For us this means building the right tools to solve the puzzle we call Integral Marketing. We also share the best marketing knowhow you'll need to use the tools to the max.

    You've got everything it takes, and it will take everything you've got. Make sure you have fun on the way!

    • Everything it takes, Syndu
    What Is A Short Story?

    We've explained quite a lot about Voice in the past few weeks. It's time to talk about the stories that you don't want to publish to your blog.

    Short stories are a way to share information directly to Facebook without it showing up on your blog.

    A short story is usually a few lines long, and provides a quick update or a quote. You can use a short story to  share links. It's a friendly, useful reminder to your audience.

    When you write a short story, you can decide if it's published immediately, queued or saved as a draft. Adding short stories to the queue means your marketing efforts on social networks is easier, and you earn free time to do other stuff.

    We'll cover short stories in a bit more depth soon, as we launch Feed. 

    • Keep it brief
    An easier way to login, signup and recover password

    Dear all,

    We changed the login and register process to a simpler form. We think it's easier now. Please try it out and let us know what you think :-)


    (this change only applies to Synduists running on the latest version. To enjoy the new version, use "Account Settings -> Syndu Version"

    • Simpler forms for a better user experience
    Yes, social sharing via emails is important and alive!

    A lot of people still use emails for sharing content. This happens for two reasons: first, emails are a great way to privately share content with a specific group of friends. Second, some people don't use the same social networks as you do so emails are the perfect way to reach them.

    Anyone who invests time & money in creating content wants visitors to share that content as much as possible; Choosing a content platform that makes that happen is important (Go Syndu!). Also, it's important to know who shared the content and how much. Typically it's harder for the author to know how much sharing was done on emails. 

    We recently adding a Sharing Strip to every website page and Voice story created in Syndu. That makes it easy for visitors to share content. We also gave special attention to email sharing so visitors can email the page or story they are reading in one click. All they have to do is click on the email icon on the Sharing Strip.

    Later on, we are also going to release smart counters to let  content authors know how many times their content was emailed, so stay tuned for that :)

    Good luck with your emails, and tell us what you think about this new feature.

    • Sharing is Caring.
    Hacking with Syndu

    Dear Hackers & Designers:

    We're making it easier for you to customize Syndu
    with Plugins, CSS code and File uploads.

    We integrated a code editor, which highlights code and makes it easier to edit code.

    Syndu will soon have a plugin framework so you can add your own scripts.

    All of the hacking features are now organized into their own slider, available under "Code Modifications"

    Have fun hacking! 

    • Code with a vengence
    On Listening to Nuances

    I have often made the mistake of listening to someone talk from start to finish. It's something I want to improve in my relationships with others.

    I guess that's why whenever I meet this behaviour in others, I react so negatively.

    Seth Godin writes a beatiful piece on paying attention to nuances. He claims that the only way to be utterly precise is to listen to every little nuance. The only way to listen to these nuances is to stop expecting the three slides deck, the elevator pitch, the simple 5 minutes overview, the 140 characters punchline.

    When we listen to nuances, we get to see the person who's speaking. That's surely another win.

    Sliders ahoy!

    ELance is now using sliders as part of their user interface. Internet Explorer 10 does the same.

    Seems like our choice of using sliders in Syndu's UI isn't such a weird idea.

    Introducing Syndu Queue - Web Presence With A Timer
    Introducing Syndu Queue - Web Presence With A Timer

    One of the best ways to know that your marketing works and your web presence is effective is when customers remember and talk about your brand to their friends. This is called Top of Mind and can be achieved by regularly reminding your audience of your values and products. Naturally, social networks and blogs are the perfect place to do this on the web.

    To keep your web presence constantly fresh and visible to your audience, we created Syndu Queue, and connected it into your superblog, Syndu Voice. Queue will organize your stories in a queue, and publish them regularly to Voice and to Facebook (other social media to follow).

    Another benefit for a busy business owner is that Queue helps you manage your time effectively. Rather than spending a few minutes every day on updating your blog or Voice, create lots of stories in a focused effort, save them into Queue and they will be published throughout the week, one-by-one.

    Working with Queue is a two-step dance. First, define how often you want stories to be published. The Publish Settings (Options -> Publish Settings) are very easy to manage, all you have to do is define when you want your posts to be published, just as you would with recurring meeting in your calendar.

    The second step is to simply save your stories into Queue. That is also quite easy and can be done directly from the New Story page.

    Queue is part of the Integral Marketing approach and is designed to work with Voice and Feed - a new product that we will announce shortly. Stay tuned for more Syndu news :)

    • Queue settings
    • Stories in the queue
    • Publish to queue
    • queue
    • new product
    Make The Most With Syndu Voice - Advanced Tips
    Make The Most With Syndu Voice - Advanced Tips

    After reading our first Tips For Voice article, you should be able to create Voice stories with ease. Now it's time to make the most out of your content and turn it into a winning web presence. With Syndu voice that means that your presence will be maintained over time on your blog, site and social medie pages as well:

    1. When posting to Facebook or other social networks, we recommend that you add a teaser line that will appear along with the link to the Voice story. This line is used to introduce the story and put it in the right context to your social network audience.

    2. You can also use Voice to keep your audience continuously aware of your stories: you can publish stories immediately, save them as a drafts, add them to the queue for later publication or specify the time and date for Syndu to publish it.

    3. For sharp, focused stories create Short Stories - that are all about external content such as youtube videos or posts from your favorite blogs. Short stories go straight to your social networks, and are fast to create. All you need is the url to the external content, and the story title that will be used as the Facebook teaser line (no need to add text, images and attachments). Also, short stories will appear on your Facebook feed but not on your Voice feed

    In the upcoming weeks we will share more information on new Syndu tools that give you everything you need for a winning web presence. Stay tuned :)

    Relationships first, even during election season

    It's election season in Israel.

    The atmosphere is tense; We tend to cling to our opinions and argue a lot. We sometimes forget about the importance of maintaining our relationships with friends, colleagues and customers and say hurtful things.

    Relationships are more important than results, and usually more important than opinions. When elections are over, make sure relationships remain.

    So, when you need to take it easy, think of this photo.

    • RELAX.jpg
    Enterprise professional networks: Begin with the end in mind

    I just got off the phone this morning with a colleague who is a friend, a senior marketing executive, a real big dog, who called to talk about building a professional network for his company’s top clients. “We are thinking about building a community for our company. I found a tool that is really great – its got blogs and other widget like components. We can do video!” I listened intently – yet have heard this story before. “Now what?” he asked, “How much shall I budget for this? How long will this take?”, the big dog asked.

    I want this guy to succeed. I want his company to star in this social media dialogue with clients and with industry so I told him the facts.

    Don’t get drunk on social media for technology sake. You need to begin with the end in mind. Online communities and professional networks need to be built with business intention.

    The first step is to identify what the goals of the professional network are. What core business processes do you want to support with the community? What returns would you like to see from both a business and customer care perspective? You will need to discover what unmet needs there are in the organization and customer care efforts that you believe the community can help solve.

    The second step is to talk to the prospective users of the community. Engage them – not about what features and functions they want, but in terms of where they feel pain in the customer care lifecycle.

    Then map the business needs of the organization to the customer care needs of the clients and see where there is overlap. Decide whether your company is ready to forge forward into the brave new world of social media to support the needs of the users with a heightened commitment to transparency and customer co-creation and engagement.

    Only then can you begin to define what the business model is for the professional network, find the right tools to support the model and go from there to build member acquisition plans, features and functions for the community and a user engagement model to create compelling reasons for members to get involved and continue returning.

    Professional communities are not neutral. When they work, they fundamentally have the power to change the organizational structure and impact how the organization relates to its clients. They offer a new level of intimacy. Effective communities can change how marketing, sales and even product development engage. When effectively and thoughtfully executed, professional communities can accelerate learning and relationships in many ways. But your company has to be ready to embrace this new world of interactive collaboration.

    The post Enterprise professional networks: Begin with the end in mind appeared first on Leader Networks.

    Social Networks Around the World

    Three cheers for my colleague, An DeJonge, on the publication of her new book “Social Networks Around the World.” An gathered case studies about many social networks that span the globe to help awaken the imagination about what is possible with this new media revolution.

    Congrats An! I have even written a little excerpt in this book about the role of social networks in business settings.

    You can visit her blog WorldWide Networks here for additional facts and figures that she gathered through research for the book. Definitely worth a visit!Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

    The post Social Networks Around the World appeared first on Leader Networks.

    Community Jobs abound

    The business to business online community marketplace is starting to heat up and Leader Networks is helping a number of clients fill their positions for online community managers. Cisco and Lexis Nexis Martindale-Hubbell and two other clients have open positions for experienced Community Managers. If you have past experience managing or helping manage online communities, professional social networks, or WIKI projects there may be a position for you. Please send your resume and a cover letter to us at careers(at)

    Lexis Nexis Martindale-Hubbell Community Manager can be found here

    Cisco Collaboratory role
    Cisco Systems is seeking a Community Manager to support an internal collaboration WIKI-based initiative that currently has 8,000 users and is growing quickly. The Community Manager position is based onsite in San Jose, CA. This role is a highly visible role that combines community management, user support and communications responsibilities.

    - Support Cisco Systems internal collaboration WIKI through all aspects of the user adoption cycle
    - Work with management committee to identify topics and identify/recruit experts for discussions, moderation and leadership within the different project groups.
    - Coordinate volunteer community moderator team to support the forums within the different projects.
    - Runs a general (ubiquitous) Collaboratory help and suggestions forums and WIKI page on the Collaboratory

    - Provides support and assistance to project WIKIs on an ad hoc basis and especially at critical junctures – new group to the Collaboratory, engaged in a high effort or time critical collaboration initiative
    - Develop and updates a high level community calendar of forums, expert appearances, and special events.
    - Seed discussions, develop poll questions, and filter request email
    - Conduct and grow outreach initiatives to community users.
    - Perform research to answer questions and deepen learning the CA Collaboratory
    - Actively solicit content, information/processes/ plan for collaboration, and questions for discussion from community members from a high level perspective.
    - Run logs and track use of the community in order to identify areas that garner much attention as well as to identify areas that does not receive much site traffic. Reports site traffic.
    - Orchestrate large scale site design and content changes to reflect the evolving needs of the community.
    - Respond participant inquiries and forward as appropriate.
    - Serve as a voice of community to management teams as well as other departments.

    Previous online community development experience required, preferably for business-related audience. Must have excellent writing ability and strong interpersonal, project management and organizational skills. Experience with enterprise-level WIKIs is preferred. Ideal candidates will thrive in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment. BA or equivalent required, preferably in social science, journalism, or English. Familiarity with Confluence WIKI tool is helpful.

    To apply:
    Please send your resume, cover letter and salary requirements to
    Please include links to public communities you have worked with when possible.Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

    The post Community Jobs abound appeared first on Leader Networks.

    Hey you, want to be a community manager?

    This is fantastic! Recently Forrester research expert Jeremiah K. Owyang issued a report on the need to appropriately staff for social computing. In the report, Mr. Owyang asserts

    Don’t try to build and run social applications without the right staff. We’ve identified two key new roles needed for success: 1) the Social Computing strategist, who’ll lead the internal charge, and 2) the community manager, an external customer advocate. Working in tandem, these roles will align Social Computing programs with the business and ensure that community members are happy. Management should agree upon goals and then give the team latitude to get the job done —including embracing mistakes as new programs are tested out.

    Too long has the role of Community been relegated to the backroom. Too often online communities for business have failed to reach their potential value for an organization because they are not staffed appropriately or planned with the right business models in place. Typically, online community teams were pulled together by searching the organization for staff that needed something to do, and not because they had the right skill set. Some people placed in the position thrived, and most often those people were the ones who continued in the profession. Others did not – and the business of community suffered. This trend was largely due to the fact that the importance of community was not well understood so there was a gap in understanding of what it took to succeed. There are few other professions where there is not a core required skill set for entry. No one has ever asked me to run accounting based on the fact I was in between projects, for example. But this happens all the time in enterprise communities.

    When staffing an online community initiative there are a few key skills, I look for, in addition to experience:

    1) Has this person ever run an effort to integrate technology or been responsible for deploying a new concept or methodology in an organization? A community person must understand well how to create a dynamic of active learning and support.

    2) Experience developing repeatable processes. Community building requires the ability to create unique and programmatic inputs and customer care cycles. Too often community leaders don’t think programmatically and that definitely gets in the way of scaling.

    3) Tolerance level for problem solving. Are they thoughtful, helpful people who are happy solving puzzles with people and groups? Communities are unpredictable as they deal largely with the complexities of large groups of people. The ability to think on ones feet and take on the new challenges that present themselves through organic growth is essential.

    4)Humanities background. Social scientists, sociologist, English and communications majors tend to be effective communicators. It is more important that the community manager understand the platitudes of effective communication than the subject matter of the professional community. Also, the ability to communicate value, progress and business processes to management is key, as it will greatly enhance the visibility of the community and the value to internal stakeholders.

    5) Analytical skills. Community management requires the ability to work with raw data of all sorts – message posts and logs, etc. to discover trends and to align interventions to impact change.

    These are the stuffs that strong community managers are made of.

    The post Hey you, want to be a community manager? appeared first on Leader Networks.

    Who says enterprise communities aren’t sexy?

    I had an interesting discussion with a peer yesterday about why I build and research business communities and do not focus more on consumer communities. The charge was that we were missing opportunities to ride the media frenzy that currently surrounds social media.

    Granted, enterprise communities are not as sexy as consumer communities: they don’t always use the latest tools and don’t garner nearly as much public attention as brand communities. No one is telling funny stories about social media for enterprise or creating cultural lore about them like in the consumer space. The footprint on the social media space is big and gentle because they are different; they take much longer to form a strategy around, grow at a slower rate, and focus exclusively on supporting business processes and decision support. But the appeal, the excitement, comes from making a real business impact and creating opportunities to connect traditionally isolated professionals, taking away real business pain, solving organizational problems in real and different ways.

    Some enterprise community initiatives have the power to rock the (corporate) world. At some of the top executives in the wireless and mobile organizations share information about on the spot industry happenings, debate wireless topics and discuss new companies in the space; Lexis Nexis Martindale Hubbell is changing the way legal professionals connect with each other and develop new business opportunities; Cisco is creating collaboration mechanisms using social media to support business processes internally which will ultimately impact corporate strategy; EMC uses social media and community to share best practices about innovative products and harnesses the power of community to bring together practitioners; Cognizant uses community to help executives who outsource IT transition to a new global economy together through peer knowledge exchange. While many of the efforts go on behind firewalls or require vetted log ins to access, they are real and they are happening.

    Through strategic use of professional communities and professional networks, a number of great things can happen:

    * Key clients can get closer to their vendors processes and engage in co-creation by opening a dialogue before a product or service is fully baked;
    * Common business issues can be discussed and the wisdom of peers can accelerate opportunities and understanding;
    * New ways of working – collaboration efforts can increase and support decision making in ways never before possible.

    Through B2B communities the information ecosystem is brought to life. Businesses are finding new and different ways of working together with their clients, vendors, and staffs.

    So, while we don’t twitter for fun, or hop on the latest bandwagon of tools for cool, enterprise communities are slowly and powerfully changing the world. It is sexy after all, just in a more sophisticated way.Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    How Business to Business and Business to Consumer Communities are different

    I am giving a webinar today on the difference between B2B and B2C online community for The Advisory Counsel. While online communities have been around for quite some time (think ARPAnet) they have recently been gaining quite a bit of media attention. But the problem with the information being discussed is that it often doesn’t differentiate between the different types of communities and there are big differences between consumer and business models. While both seek to influence brand – consumer communities are intended to project or influence outwardly with the focus being on influencer markets and brand evangelism. Meanwhile, business to business communities are more focused on bringing the clients and the company closer together in partnership. Technical support communities fall somewhere in between the two models.

    Consumer communities are typically large in number because they most often have a revenue model that is ad supported. Scale is essential to financial success. The more eyes that are on an ad the better. When successful, they are quick to scale but members tend to have weak ties between them. Sure, there are some core members who are always present in the forums or on the community, but the majority of users collaborate and evaporate. There are few predictable and reliable user relationships over time.

    With B2B communities, membership matters more. They are often gated or have authenticated user acceptance policies. BusinessWeek recently did a nice article showcasing elite or private communities for doctors, mobile executives and a few others. Because a membership threshold exists – a member must be a client, or a specific kind of professional or persona – there tends to be fewer members but the relationships between members and the organization are stronger because they are engaging over time. The members also tend to know each other IRL (in real life) so there are greater dependencies among the group.

    This is just the most apparent difference – tools, content needs, interaction design all offer important differences that are not interchangeable when creating professional communities.

    The post How Business to Business and Business to Consumer Communities are different appeared first on Leader Networks.

    The age of conversation… and the beat goes on

    I love a good social experiment and this one is definitely top of list! Drew McLellen and Gavin Heaton - two famous guys in the blogger world are extending the conversation online to print. Last year they pulled together 100+ top folks in social media and co-authored a book called The Age of Conversation which is now available on Amazon for purchase.
    They are also doing it again… and are writing a new book, the sequel – The Age of Conversation 2. Read about its formation here.

    This list of the authors are (doing some link love here):
    Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brent Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley, C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Doug Hanna, Doug Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, Gi Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Reginald Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Eric Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Helipern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Berg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkins, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Raj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, R.J. Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem
    Publish PostThank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    Research supports that online communities are good business
    Everyone loves numbers. Research certainly comes in handy when making a business case or pitching an idea. Nothing makes a presentation shine more than a set of well-articulated facts and data to support an idea as the numbers help people believe that they are not alone. To that end, I have found research findings that support impact of online community for business and customer care on The Social Media Group blog and thought they might come in handy.

    * Community users remain customers 50% longer than non-community users. (AT&T, 2002) •* 43% of support forum visits are in lieu of opening up a support case. (Cisco, 2004). •* Community users spend 54% more than non-community users. (EBay, 2006) •* In customer support, live interaction costs 87% more per transaction on average than forums and other web self-service options. (ASP, 2002) •* Cost per interaction in customers support averages $12 via the contact center versus $0.25 via self-service options. (Forrester, 2006) • * Community users visit nine times more often than non-community users. (McKInsey, 2000) •. * Community users have four times as many page views as non-community users. (McKInsey, 2000). •* 56% percent of online community members log in once a day or more. (Annenberg, 2007) •* Customers report good experiences in forums more than twice as often as they do via calls or mail. (Jupiter, 2006)

    Now get busy making those slides :)
    Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    Prospects are people

    Prospects are people – in new media and old media this is true. But in old media – it was often forgotten. Instead, prospects and consumers are statistics, conversion ratios, member acquisition and retention quotients. In new media – social media – there is a demanding need for change in how companies approach the relationship with prospects.

    I was just reading a great blog post about the worst social media uses by business in 2007 by Scott Monte of Crayon where he reported on a presentation given at SXSW – South by Southwest – the interactive media conference and music festival about enterprise social media efforts gone bad. The defining thread of all these thwarted attempts to engage the customer or prospect was that each failure was a study in depersonalization. Notable companies like Target, HP, and Carlton Beer were among the case studies described.

    Social media – especially online community – call a new order to engage: to open the conversation with people, clients and prospects alike, to learn their needs, reactions and opinions. And, most importantly, offer a chance to respond to, and participate in, the conversation in useful and thoughtful ways.

    Think about it… when was the last time you spoke to 4,000 or 40,000 of your key customers? When was this opportunity ever before possible? In the past, when an enterprise wanted to know what their clients and prospects thought, they typically outsourced the information gathering process to an outside agency who then gathered information, filtered it, coded it, and then fed it back in aggregate form to the company. This is hardly the enlightened fodder that brilliant products and services are made of. Now, due to social media and online community we can talk with those same people and get real actionable information to help share the future strategy. Finally, there is a chance to get it right the first time through the market conversation.Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    Community helps companies collaborate

    Interesting new research out by SAGE/CMB Market Pulse about the perception of how message boards are being used within the enterprise. As more companies are tapping into the power of community and social networks to increase collaboration and knowledge share, WIKIs and social media based collaboration tools are being more strategically used. Today’s knowledge worker is more often home based, and the growing popularity of telecommuters can often mean that an employee is disconnected from the larger communications and formal exchanges that often enhance work. How often do we find out about a new client, project, resource etc. from just “chatting” with people? Virtual collaboration offers a chance for companies to formalize the knowledge sharing that goes on anyway and can capture that info to leverage into the future. Seems like a best practice to me.
    Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    The differences between Twitter and IM

    What are the main differences between Twitter and IM? Blogging and Tweeting? This is the deep question (seriously – this is important) being bantered on Twitter this morning. Is it really different than the other tools we have at our disposal or does it really create a defining difference? My hypothesis is that unlike the other tools, with Twitter the medium is not the message. People use Twitter for many different uses and applications – personal, professional, marketing, research, gossip and just plain feeling connected as the virtual employee trend grows worldwide. Here are some of the discussions that are going on between some industry experts.. Please add to the debate!

    Gartenberg @vdimauro are they different or is Twitter just used as IM by some? Chat room by others?

    GuyHagen @vdimauro just discussing IM / Twitter differences this morning…

    atomac @vdimauro Twitter is less demanding, yet more focused. Nobody can check your Twitter status. Twitter is like chatting with many people.

    carterfsmith @vdimauro – IM is talking on an elevator. Twitter is talking between rooftops.

    GuyHagen @vdimauro thus more freq responses. Social=popularity attracts popularity. Infrastrux=IM supported by AOL, MSN, Google

    GuyHagen @vdimauro differences: primarily lifestyle, social, and infrastructure. lifestyle=twitter has better mobility, ubiquity support, forces …

    Gartenberg there still has to be a better way to properly integrate and cross pollinate across the social online areas that important to meThank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    Enterprise community and professional networking vendors

    Too often companies begin their journey to build an online community or professional network, work through the strategy to create a fantastic plan, talk to their users, refine a straw model for a feature set and then *thud* are hit with the reality that there are more community and social networking tools than they can count. The vendor landscape for consumer communities is pretty well known, but for enterprise… there is a lack of coverage and guidance. Companies struggle with the question of how to begin the search? Where should they look? Who is out there? Who is using which vendor for what?

    Here are some of the more established vendors in the professional networking and online community space that have products that are especially created to serve enterprise:

    Awareness Networks helps companies build and operate branded Web 2.0 communities. These online communities let customers, prospects, employees, or partners connect with each other and share content. At the core of the Awareness solution is an on-demand social media platform that combines the full range of Web 2.0 technologies—blogs, wikis, discussion groups, social networking, podcasts, RSS, tagging, photos, videos, mapping, etc.—with security, control, and content moderation. Awareness builds these features into complete communities for companies, or customers use the Awareness API and widgets to integrate Web 2.0 technologies into their own web properties. Major corporations such as McDonald’s, Kodak, the New York Times, Northwestern Mutual, and Procter and Gamble use Awareness to build brand loyalty, generate revenue, drive new forms of marketing, improve collaboration, encourage knowledge-sharing, and build a “corporate memory.” Founded: 2005 (Brief synopsis from web site)

    Contact Information
    880 Winter Street, Suite 300Waltham, MA 024511 866 487 5623

    Community Server by Telligent is the proven enterprise social platform of choice. Trusted by Microsoft, Dell, MySpace and Intel (just to name a few), our proven social software powers some of the largest and most demanding online communities in the world. Community Server is built on Microsoft .NET 2.0 technology. (Brief synopsis from web site)

    Contact information
    17950 Preston Road Suite 310

    Dallas, TX 75252

    ELAvate by Neighbor hood America is the latest version of Neighborhood America’s enterprise social networking platform. The ELAvate trademark is significant in that it represents the company’s tagline, “Engage. Listen. Act.” But more importantly, it describes a growing need by organizations that are demanding value from customer engagement to “elevate” business outcomes. ELAvate is already earning industry accolades, having recently been named a Codie Award finalist for ‘Best Social Networking Solution’ by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). The Codie Awards honor achievement and vision in software, education technology and digital content. (Excerpted from a press release)

    Contact Information2210 Vanderbilt Beach RoadNaples, FL 34109239.513.0092

    If you have a blog on the Web or have contributed to a wiki, you probably already know about Socialtext, as the company’s software is widely used in blogs and wikis. More and more people are writing and reading blogs, short for Web logs and a form of online journal, and corporate enterprises are turning to the “blogosphere” for new forms of marketing and communications. The company was founded in 2002. (from Hoovers)

    Contact information
    655 High StreetPalo AltoCalifornia 94301
    1 650-323-0800

    Mzinga provides on-demand solutions that leverage the power of workplace and customer communities for growth and innovation. We provide fully hosted, Software-as-a-Service solutions that provide you with the following benefits: Foster informal communication and dialog with your community; Enable your community members to interact, collaborate, and innovate; Facilitate knowledge sharing and employee training and development in the form of both formal learning (through our KnowledgePlanet Learning Suite) and social learning (through our Web 2.0 technologies) (Excerpted from Web site)

    Contact Information
    154 Middlesex TurnpikeBurlington, MA 01803
    Phone: 1888.MZINGA.8 Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    Survey: Lawyers Use Online Social Networks to Build Professional Relationships

    New research prepared by Leader Networks and commissioned by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® indicate more than half of surveyed lawyers – in corporate legal departments and in private practice — are members of online social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook or MySpace. However, fewer than ten percent thought current networking solutions helped them work efficiently.

    The “2008 Networks for Counsel Survey” is the first survey of its scope to examine the social networking practices of legal professionals.

    “Online professional networking is a growing area of importance in the legal industry,” said Ralph Calistri, CEO of Martindale Hubbell and senior vice president of Global Client Development at LexisNexis. “As we develop a global network for the legal community through Martindale-Hubbell, objective research such as this survey by Leader Networks serves as an important way for us to listen to clients and guide our efforts.”

    Here at Leader Networks, we think the legal profession is traditionally slow to adopt new technologies, so attorneys’ readiness to use online networking tools represents a significant shift in behavior. We think the survey results show a real need for a private, online network for attorneys.

    Get more information on the survey in the full release here.Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

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    How Intranets Can Help Companies Navigate Uncertain Times

    OK, so things are crazy in the financial markets lately. The media frenzy is ongoing, consumers are frightened, companies are closing or merging daily, and business clients are pulling out or hunkering down Sounds like a crisis, doesn’t it?So consider this: one of the most fundamental tenets of strong and effective crisis management is communications. Talking to people; letting them know what is happening; quelling rumors and, most important, providing a forum for concerned individuals to get the right information, ask questions, and discuss the issues openly.The media may fill this role for the rest of us in the current crisis – but what about the organizations – and their stakeholders – in the center of the crisis zone? Now’s the time for those organizations to use their social media tools to help manage this crisis of confidence.If your organization has an online community for your clients, or an E2E network (employee to employee)  consider using it to tackle the tough – and frightening – questions your community’s members may have. They are already talking with or without your guidance.—at the water cooler, on Yahoo! Finance or Facebook. But this is a real opportunity for organizations to take advantage of the tools they already have, and use them to keep stakeholders and others informed.Here are a few tips on using online communities for crisis management:

    • Create a group or forum to openly discuss the key topics using a semi-structured framework to communicate. Lay out the ground rules for how to use the forum, who is leading the discussion and let people know that it is safe to ask whatever questions are on their minds related to the topic.
    • Invite key executives into the conversation to show their alignment with and dedicated attention to the concerns of community members. This is crucial to showing members their questions are important and taken seriously.
    • Be proactive and direct in communication – share key messages in plain language that people can understand.
    • Seed some questions – especially on hot-potato issues. There are always topics on people’s minds that they are afraid to ask. Ask a visible manager or well-connected person to ask a few tough questions that you can respond to. This will create a stronger collaborative environment.
    • Time-box the discussion – let it run (and state that it will run) for, perhaps, 2-3 weeks and be sure to close it when participation wanes.
    • Talk to yourself if need be – if there is little participation early on. Post a message and follow–up in a few days with another message or information sharing.  Some cultures need more encouragement to participate than others.
    • Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say to an audience in a conference hall. While openness is key, reckless disclosures will make their way into the public eye faster than you can say “I’ll have to get back to you on that one, Katie.”

    ** Edited Monday, Oct 20** I just came across my colleague Carl Weinshenk’s timely blog post about the importance of strengthening internal communications within the C-suite – looks like this issue is growing in momentum. Now that the impact of the financial crisis is beginning to be better understood, the hard work of communication needs to begin.

    The post How Intranets Can Help Companies Navigate Uncertain Times appeared first on Leader Networks.

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    Start-up Loss is Enterprise Gain – Hiring Skilled Workers

    This morning, not unlike most these days, I sadly read through all the lists of companies who have laid off employees. But these reports don’t always make the news because the numbers are small or the company may not be well-known enough for reporting but TechCrunch has started a layoff tracker to help everyone, well, keep track.

    The start-up industry is especially vulnerable to economic pressures. VC firms are cautioning start-ups to tighten burn and get ready for the recession. Here is the famous “presentation of doom” recently delivered to a large group of start-up CEOs (Sequioa Capital named it “the presentation of doom” but others are fondly referring to it as the “chicken-little presentation”).

    When I think about all the wonderful skill sets that are being laid off related to social media, I am aware how much these layoffs will accelerate the age of conversation. Yes- accelerate – make go faster. These start-up skilled people need to work somewhere – and where better then within Enterprise. Smart big companies should run towards these people as they offer skills that are much needed in big business.

    Corporations typically fit into two categories – The Haves and The Have Nots. The Haves have successfully integrated social media into their Marketing and Customer Care strategy but often struggle to find the resources to execute on their plans. The Have Nots often want or need to integrate social media into their plans, but don’t know where to begin. “We’d love to have a blog but there is no one to do it”; “We should put those training materials online, but our PR firm can’t do it.” Excuse time is over. There are now hundreds, nay thousands, of highly skills new media workers available who know how to execute.

    Now is the time to put those plans into action. Look for people who have worked in innovating companies – those that have pioneered in their industry, those that have been lead by strong CEOs so they are accustomed to structure and planning. Seek new in-demand technology skills and a deep awareness of new tools and processes. Discover talent that has been given responsibility beyond their age or background and have succeeded. Use LinkedIn and other networks to validate their recommendations and to find personal connections to them in order to ensure they will be a good fit for your organization.Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

    Visit us on the web at Connect with us on Twitter Call us at 617 484 0778

    The post Start-up Loss is Enterprise Gain – Hiring Skilled Workers appeared first on Leader Networks.