March 7, 2016
At Social Edge when we kick off a new implementation project, the first question we often ask our clients is "What are the use cases?" For some, this is a great starting point. For others, this can be as clear as mud. So, we've asked two members of our team to describe use cases, and explain why they are so important to a successful community launch.
Check out the Q & A below with Meg Murray, Social Strategist and Erin Haines, Senior Community Manager as they share their perspectives on what Use Cases should mean to your Community.
Q: Why start with a use case?
STRAT: They have valuable, rewarding experiences. How do the most successful communities create these experiences? They do it strategically - developing experiences that support both the needs of the organization and the needs of the membership - they do it by developing use cases.
CMGR: When we are building a community in your organization we want to make sure it is meaningful to the users. Having a few clear and purposeful use cases set out at the beginning can ensure we are setting up the community in a way that will help people find people and information faster, collaborate, connect - well build community.
Q: What is a use case?
STRAT: The term use case is widely used in a variety of fields - there are a number of definitions that speak to the needs of those fields. When we talk about use cases for social spaces, we're talking about specific types of people in a specific online place or places, performing specific activities and gaining specific outcomes. They are often demonstrable examples of value that others can see the benefits of and emulate.
CMGR: What she said! In the simplest terms, relating this directly to the three pillars of Jive (People, Places & Content) as use case involves s a group of users who need to do/accomplish something (find information, collaborate, ask questions, connect to one-another etc.) and a place to do it. We take these goals and map them directly to Jive (e.g., people creating content in places).
Q: How do you initiate a use case?
STRAT: Initiating a use case is a fairly straight forward exercise. You begin with a deep understanding of the goals of this use case, such as - we need to reduce email on this project, we need improved discoverability around a set of documentation, we need a place to gather our questions and discuss them, etc. From there, it is a process of understanding the three key components and developing a place and processes - who are the people in this use case, what access and abilities do they need, what content will they interact with and how, and where will they participate in this activity? With the correct players, tools, content and place(s) prepared to execute, the use cases is kicked off and a cycle of measurement and adaptation ensues. Measures based on the initial goals will test the efficacy of of the use case (ex: have we reduced mail, why or why not?) and offer insights allowing the use case owners to adapt the strategy over the life of the use case.
CMGR: This is where we "make it real." Now that the goals are set, problems are identified and a strategy is in place, we can take that information and map it directly to Jive. Want to reduce email on a project? Great let's set up a group and start moving some of those important email threads into discussions, and invite the players in to collaborate. Want to make important documents easier to find? Awesome - we will work with you to upload and organize your content in a space using features like page, tags and categories to keep things organized. Sometimes mapping your use case to Jive functionality can seem straight forward, but there can also be a lot involved from communicating to your users, training, measurement and gathering feedback.
Q: Final Thoughts? And what else do you need to know?
STRAT: There are a number of 'every organization' use cases that community developers can look to for inspiration in developing use case, though it's important to consider that every team, department, member group or initiative will have it's own unique needs. Without attention to those needs meaningful adoption can be impacted as these users may not see value in the organizations perspective of priority. The more meaningful the use case is to the members, the higher the probability of its long term use. Striking a balance in use cases through the lens of the members builds a foundation for growth.
CMGR: Developing meaningful use cases in Jive is not a "set it and forget it" exercise. Ongoing community management is key. Key not only for managing a community from a holistic approach, but having a community management and governance strategy in place for each use case will ensure success long term. Part of this is managing the process (the place, the content, membership etc.) and part is taking into account measurement and feedback. If you had specific goals at the start for the use case such as reducing emails, answering questions etc. take a look and have a plan to evaluate and analyze the engagement around your use case.
Common 'Every Organization' Use Case Examples