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Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to London to attend the Discovery Day conference hosted by Advanced Solutions International. The attendees were decision makers for organizations whose members work to make the world a better place. They were there to share best practices and to find ways to better engage their members using the plethora of tools that ASI offers.

I was asked to give a presentation highlighting the benefits of private social networks and providing an overview for how a successful network is built. Using this information, organizations can decide if a private social network is a tool that would help them engage and recruit their members.

I was excited about this presentation because I believe that online collaboration is the new way to work, and I love promoting the idea. Members and employees in organizations and companies will find ways to network and collaborate with each other online. Businesses and organizations will benefit both themselves and their customers by providing those capabilities. Below are my talking notes.

PSNs are a tool for connecting and engaging members with the organization and each other

1) PSNs help people network with colleagues around the world in a trusted, safe, and moderated environment

  • Profiles help users find each other
  • Welcome Page feeds the latest, most important information
  • Community Map gives geographic context

2) PSNs are used as resource hubs that consolidate knowledge in one place; the network becomes the go-to place for latest credible information

  • Blogs are a great tool for providing thought leadership and expertise to a large audience
  • Libraries give users the ability to share and access files from anywhere
  • Forums collect conversations and questions in one place

3) PSNs enable people to collaborate on projects from remote locations; assemble the best team regardless of location

  • Wikis enable people to work on documents together
  • Calendar helps people schedule events
  • Groups allow people to organize around topics of mutual interest and talk using separate discussion lists.

As your members interact inside the network, you have access to an increasing treasure trove of useful data
1) Types of data and what it looks like

  • Numbers that the PSN tracks
  • External sources of data collection
  • Self-collected data (qualitative and quantitative)

2) Questions the data helps you answer

  • Overall health
  • Return on engagement
  • Recruitment
  • Specific user defined goals

To successfully recruit, retain, and engage members, you need to design an engagement strategy for your community
1) Understand your audience

2) Define success

  • For your organization
  • For your members

3) Choose your area of focus

4) Collect data and refine strategy

Conclusion: provide value and thrive!
Now that you understand what social networks can do, you can decide if this is the engagement strategy your organization needs. The more value your organization can provide, the more you will recruit, retain, and engage members. Your organization can provide increasing value to existing members – while giving incentives for new members to join – by constantly honing the engagement strategy to meet member needs.

I invite you to view my presentation and offer your thoughts and feedback!