As our blog evolves, we want to connect with our readers and get YOU involved in the process. Feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest topics that interest YOU!
We’ve broken down our list of 101 Quick Ideas to Ignite your Online Learning Community (click on it to see the full list!) into bite-sized chunks that are easier to digest. We are offering you a little taste of the seven part series that provides tips on igniting passion and sparking conversation in your personal online learning community.
Create Purpose and Seed Content
In a learning community, few things are as magnetic as great content. After all, it’s often the reason for coming back. Want to encourage members to create great content? Here are some ideas.
Greatest hits email – Send out an email to select people asking them to compile their ‘greatest hits’ (best tips, tricks, resources) and post them on the learning community in several different posts (to be tagged and found easily).
Invite people to become reporters – Sometimes it’s hard to share your own ideas for fear of rejection (that’s why Bloomfire doesn’t have 5-star rating systems). Or maybe you don’t want to look like you’re bragging. Oftentimes, other people can tell your story better than you. So let them. Have reporters fish out the tips & tricks that top-performers rely on but never share because they always thought their best practices were “common sense.”
A “day-in-the-life” series – Every month, feature a video, which captures a day in the life of a job or an individual. Help encourage people to become reporters and appreciate their peers.
Employee film festival – Launch your learning community by announcing an internal film festival. Invite employees to submit their footage to the learning community. It’s a great way to capture the culture of an organization, and a dead simple way to seed your learning community with killer content.
Call for content – Sometimes it is necessary to directly contact people who could fill a need.
Photo contests – Let employees create their own photo journal using Quikpost.
Travel blog – How often does your organization pay for employees to go on business trips or conferences, only to have employees return with short three-sentence reflections? Next time, ask employees to blog about the trip and provide a useful archive for others to follow along and learn. Use QuikPost. Maybe you’ll even begin discovering the ROI of such trips.
Top 3 resources – Everyone has their favorite go-to places when looking for help to do their job. For me, it’s Google. Start archiving everyone’s favorite resources by inviting them to post their top 3 resources. Maybe create a screencast introducing your favorite websites and how you use it.
Idea generator – Create a new category called “Ideas” and allow it to be filled with any ideas someone has on how to make the business better.
Ask the expert column – Choose an expert in a certain area and ask them to post weekly or monthly on a specific topic
Event roundup – Put someone in charge of being the photojournalist for an event (company party, training, quarterly luncheon, etc.). Use Quikpost to archive the event.
Distribute meeting notes – Cut meetings short and let the conversation continue on Bloomfire. Is someone taking notes? Quikpost them and let the group use comments to continue the conversation.
The amazing race – Distribute a list of content items that need to be created. A group or team must accomplish as many as possible in a certain amount of time. Reward the winner (the real win is the new content you have in the learning community).
Scavenger hunt – Create a set of predetermined tasks that an individual or team wouldneedtoaccomplish(focustasksaroundcreatingnewposts). Thiscould also be used as a training exercise within Bloomfire. Ask members to find specific things or accomplish specific tasks that walk them through features.
Pass it along – Pass a notebook around the office/group/team with a question on it. Provide clear instructions for the recipient to write an answer on one page, flip the page over, and pass it on. People can stay anonymous if they’d like. On the last page of the notebook, provide clear instructions to drop the notebook off at a designated location. Someone will eventually flip to that last page. Once the notebook has been dropped off, either have someone transcribe the notebook onto Bloomfire, or take photos of each page and upload them to Bloomfire.
Remarkable customer service contest – Create a category called “Remarkable” and ask people to post remarkable customer service stories from across the organization. Everyone can play because customer service is anythingthatenhancesacustomer’sexperience. Suchinitiativescanhelpfocus any organization on customer care.
Capture our culture – Create a category for “Culture” and ask members to post things that capture the culture of the company. Very inspirational, and extremely helpful for new hires trying to fit in quick.
Yearbook – Ask someone to create some posts that archive landmark events throughout the year. Post it on Bloomfire as a presentation, Quikpost scrapbook, or video.
The script that always works – Your customer service staff talks with tens if not hundreds of different customers a day. They quickly figure out what works. Provide a way for them to share this with the rest of the staff.
Tips & tricks – Sales reps have to figure out how to make sales or they will starve. Some reps have a bag full of closes and even name them. Create a way for them to share with the rest of the organization.
Best practices – Just as closing can make or break the deal, so can the wrong approach. Over time, veteran sales reps have figured out the approach that works.
Reciprocity – Here’s an incentive technique almost everyone has heard of: “If you do (insert request here), then you will receive (insert reward here).” Social psychologists flipped this technique on its head and discovered that compliance is more likely to occur when you provide the reward first, then made your request. Maybe next time, you should hand out small awards first before calling for content.
Pro headshots – Here’s a way to leverage reciprocity. Sometimes people don’t have a good picture of themselves to upload to a community. Hire a professional photographer to come in and take headshots of each community member. Besides using the headshot for Bloomfire, community members can also use the headshot for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. After providing the free headshot service, ask community members to create a post introducing themselves to the community.
Family photo – While you’re executing the idea above, invite employees to bring in their family and have a family photo done. These will be great for the idea below.
Focus on the family – Work is social. One of the most important factors in employee retention is having friends at work. Help people make friends by interviewing them on their family. Find out kids names, interests, hobbies, talents, vacations, etc. There’s a good chance this will turn into one of their most-viewed posts.
Recommend favorite book – Often times books are the greatest professional development tools. Agree to purchase a book for an employee if they will do a full review on Bloomfire when they finish (win/win).
Set an alarm – When the music stops, everyone post something valuable.
New employee hot seat – Who is the new person? Many times, it takes way too long for people to find out. Speed up that process by interviewing the new employee and posting it on Bloomfire. Great ice breaker.
Follow lists – Using Quikpost, create lists of authors and tweeple to follow within specific subject areas.
Create a Bloomfire hour – Once per week, all employees take time to learn or teach on Bloomfire. Make it a variation of Google’s famous 20% time.
Speed date – Just like in a classic speed date, create two lines with all of your community members. Instruct them to interview the person they’re facing for 5 minutes. Maybe even provide sample questions: “What’s your favorite line for closing a sale?” “What book has helped you boost performance?” “What are you doing after work? I’d like to take you out for dinner.” (Sorry, got carried away there.) At the end of 5 minutes, tell everyone to scribble down some notes before moving on to the next person. To wrap up the speed date, have everyone transfer the notes onto Bloomfire using QuikPost. Better yet, during the entire speed date, make sure everyone has a laptop so they can QuikPost their notes right after the interview.