We recently promoted a Work Out Loud week in our internal learning community and we had some success and saw areas for improvement.
The goal of the week was to teach learning professionals the value and benefits of sharing their work. The secondary goal was to get a globally dispersed, divisionally siloed learning organization to network with one another so that eventually they can teach the entire company how and why to work out loud.
To set up the promotion, we created an ad for the homepage of the community site. I then wrote a blog explaining Work Out Loud, why it is valuable and why we need to do it. I linked to posts from John Stepper and Jane Bozarth and immediately followed my blog with posts in the microblog stream. We posted those a week ahead of the promotion. Within all promotional messaging we told people to use the hashtag #workoutloud. We did not use email, like we do to promote live chats, as I wanted to keep this promotion strictly within social media functionality.
Once the promotion started, we enlisted the help of some “friendlies” who could seed the stream during the week to keep momentum going. Seeding is important when changing to a social culture inside a corporation. Unlike the real world, you have to nurture the grass-roots with plants before a community takes off on its own. Since we have a gap in social media skills and use, leveraging champions is important to show everyone how and why it is important to communicate with social media, even at a subconscious level.
We had about 10% of the community actively participate during the week using the #workoutloud hashtag. That’s about 55% of the people who participate in a live chat. The live chats also generate more posts and likes than the Work Out Loud promotion. We had about twice as many posts for the chats than the promotion, not too surprising really. It did spike traffic for the week, especially on a Tuesday. That’s a good thing, because until people begin to use the community as part of their daily work, appointment viewing is the best way to grab eyeballs. The goal is to get them there and because the community contains static as well as dynamic content, they’ll see the value in returning.
The weird part is some folks in the org already Work Out Loud, they just don’t know it or specifically call it that. That was evident when scrolling through the microblog feed during and after the promotion ended. People were talking about their current tasks or asking questions but didn’t use the hashtag (maybe they just don’t get hashtags) and some posted after the promotion, so I take that as a good sign.
All in all I’d say the promotion was a success. I think we’ll be able to embed Work Out Loud more solidly within the organization as we seep social learning into all our learning process areas. The bottom line is we have to close gaps any way we can.