What core strategies can organisations adopt from successful consumer brands to make social learning fly in the workplace?
It’s becoming impossible to ignore the influence consumer digital culture is having on our learning audiences. People are experiencing amazing digital experiences in their personal lives and this is naturally having an influence on how they relate to online workplace learning.
We appreciate L&D teams don’t have multi-million pound development budgets. However, we still believe the core strategies that global brands use to engage their audiences are relevant and can make a huge impact on how learning projects are planned, promoted, deployed and evaluated.
The following six ideas – originally shared at Learning Technologies 2014 – will help you reduce the engagement-gap your audience experiences between your learning content and the consumer services they use and love on a daily basis.
Our full article is featured in this Brightwave white paper – The Social Learning Revolution
1. Get a deep understanding of your audience
It’s all to easy to create a disconnect with your audience by making assumptions about what they think, how they behave and what their expectations might be. Healthcare.gov demonstrated what could go wrong following this approach whilst Netflix has reaped the commercial benefits of understanding their audience. Use surveys, focus groups and pay attention to the conversations your audience are already having online to help you deliver what they need.
2. Communicate purpose at every opportunity
It’s essential to communicate a shared understanding of what your community stands for. Clearly demonstrate what’s in it for your audience, as individuals, as a team and as the whole organisation. Sites like Facebook communicate purpose effectively through great copy that channels their mission. ‘What’s on your mind?’ perfectly encapsulates what Facebook wants their audience to do. You can do the same through clever branding, strong calls-to-action and powerful relevant imagery.
3. Innovate around familiar conventions
If you look at sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and Bing you’ll see a lot of similarities in how they present certain content interactions. They don’t want their audiences to be struggling to interact with simple functionality, so they adopt standards focussing their attention on delivering exemplary user experiences on the unique elements of their platform. Think about what’s unique about your content or service and focus on getting that working frictionlessly.
4. Look out for engagement trends
When platforms like Netflix, Twitter and Facebook start using bigger images to engage their audiences, it’s obviously a strategy that’s worth pursuing. Give your community plenty of opportunity to feedback on your content or service. You can look for patterns emerging in their suggestions and see how they’re reflected by trends on the web.
5. Test – all the time with real users
Netflix probably used a lot of A-B testing to see if larger images were engaging their audience, but they also deployed test content to real users in their living rooms to see how people behave in their natural environments. You just cannot beat putting your content in front of real people who are going to be using it and seeing how they behave.
User testing is a tricky subject because it often feels too early or too late to test, but the reality is that you should be testing and refining how your learning service and community is working all of the time.
6. Take your communication to your users
Twitter doesn’t expect its audience to regularly return to its platform without any prompting and neither should we. Twitter makes use of personalised emails with strong calls-to-action inviting us to see what’s happening on our network, what’s trending and who we should be connecting with based on our interests. Make sure you’re using all your communication channels to engage your audience and keep them returning.
Watch our Learning Technologies 2014 seminar on this very topic:
What lessons are you applying from the consumer space to make your social learning fly?