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Those who know me, know that I have been wanting to publish a blog for a long time. Crossing that barrier, from subscriber to blogger took longer than it should have.
I have so much content and great stories to share, I just didn’t know where to start.

I imagine that is how most people come to social networks. Whether they be internal or external. That first post on Facebook or Twitter, that first status update on the corporate micro blogging tool, or that first blog.

So what are the magic ingredients that guide someone to take that next step?

The Three Key Ingredients

Over the past two years, I have worked with a number of people, helping them shape their use cases and engagement plans for their internal social networking strategies. There is an obvious increasing shift in the way we want to communicate, converse and share within the enterprise. But we have a long way to go. This shift requires more than a passion for new media – it requires a commitment to rethink the way we do everything. A commitment to change the way we work.

During that time, I have found three key ingredients to guide engagement:

1. Cultivate Relationships
Social networks are dialogues. People are likely to reach out, if they feel they will be heard, and if there is a chance they will get a response in return. Building a sense of belonging, based on trust and connection, will help people feel at ease within the community and start building relationships. These relationships, are the foundations for the conversations and contributions that will build the social network.

2. Provide the ‘Golden Path’
Understanding ‘what’s in it for me’, and the ‘calls to action’, helps someone put into context how and why they can contribute. Nobody wants to look a fool, so make it easy to understand what is expected and simply how to begin.

3. Acknowledgement
It is a basic human instinct to want recognition or acknowledgement. Create a culture of recognition and acknowledgement in your network, rewarding the behaviours you want to promote.
People want to converse, they want to get to know each other. Help them know, “Did anyone read or like what I contributed?”. Once someone gets this acknowledgement, they will reciprocate, and you have a culture of acknowledgement and community.

Once we have these elements, you will be on the journey to building your community, and it is this community that creates the dialogue.

Looking forward to the conversation.