Supporting leaders in your knowledge network

Ideas for overcoming barriers to adoption.

Go to the profile of Audrey Scarff
Sep 02, 2013
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So, you have launched your Zapnito knowledge network. But how do you get senior leaders within your company to start engaging in 'social' and join the conversation taking place on your site?

Here are some more insights from my World Cafe sessions at the Intra.Net Reloaded conference in Berlin on the theme of the 'Challenge of Letting Go.'

Ideas to get leaders going

  • Get them to separate their personal beliefs on social media from what's needed to help your network succeed - community interaction, transparency and leadership visibility. They might hate social media but it might be good for them.
  • Give them a sense of security by creating a closed community for peer communications or a private place to draft their thoughts before unleashing them on the world.
  • Provide examples of financial and sustainability gains. Develop their awareness of the value and benefit of the knowledge network (for themselves, for employees)
  • Make it easy for them to get involved. Feed them strategic, relevant content. Prompt them to respond, to comment.
  • Coach them in how to create content and interact with their audience. Provide non-condescending training, at a level that suits them. Describe it as a 'special preview'.
  • Match them to a more web savvy colleague or younger counterpart. Reverse mentoring.
  • Hire a consultant to teach them how to do it. An independent 3rd party can provide extra endorsement of your engagement strategy.
  • Encourage them to be accepting of mistakes. The personal touch matters more than spelling correctly.
  • Teach them how to deal with feedback and to handle large volumes of responses. Show them the difference between communicating 1:1 vs 1:Many.
  • Create a sense of competition among peers.
  • Show how it's making them more visible as a leader.
  • Reference them in other content to draw them into the conversation. Flatter their ego and feature them as a popular contributor to the site.
  • Ensure the know that they can access your knowledge network on mobile devices. That's where your executives hang out.
  • Show supporting statistics and examples of customer engagement with their posts. Seeing is believing.
  • Get them to say something mildly controversial or unexpected to stimulate interest and garner followers.
  • Get 'friendlies' to lead by example for the benefit of their peers.

Got any more ideas? I'd love to hear them. Share them below.

Go to the profile of Audrey Scarff

Audrey Scarff

Director, Digital Channels, Thomson Reuters

Communications consultant, advisor to Zapnito and Editor-in-Chief of the digital workspace at Thomson Reuters. Holds an MA in Virtual Communication. Interested in the use of emerging technologies to facilitate engagement, knowledge sharing and collaboration. Author of 'Intranet Strategy & Governance', Ark Group Publishing. Previously Director of Communications, IABC Europe & Middle East, Co-chair of the Simply Summit 2010 on social media and employee engagement. Speaker at 2013 Reloaded World Cafe, 2015 IntraTeam conference. Published in The Business Communicator (Smart Practice), Knowledge Management Review, Intranets Today, Communication World. Occasional contributor to Zapnito's network.


Go to the profile of Judy Martin
Judy Martin almost 5 years ago

Audrey - I love the idea of describing training as a "special preview". Brilliant! This strategy will work wonderfully with one of my clients. :)

Go to the profile of Dana Reeves
Dana Reeves almost 5 years ago

I've found that showing the results makes all the difference. Numbers tell the truth in social media! Great article Audrey - thanks for the bounty of ideas!