Take a Lesson (or Three) from Microsoft's User Engagement Strategy

Take a Lesson (or Three) from Microsoft's User Engagement Strategy

Microsoft is doing something that I think is really cool—especially when you think about how it could raise the level (and velocity) of engagement with corporate collaboration systems such as SharePoint.

Microsoft is doing something that I think is really cool—especially when you think about how it could raise the level (and velocity) of engagement with corporate collaboration systems such as SharePoint.

If you haven’t heard, Ignite—Microsoft’s event focused on enterprise technology—kicks off May 4 in Chicago. The more people talk about Ignite--and the announcements made and technology discussed there—the better it is for Microsoft.

Microsoft has invited attendees to participate in what it is calling the Ignite Trip Report Challenge. To enter the sweepstakes, you must create a “remarkable trip report” about what you have learned at Ignite, using the new Sway Office application.

This challenge will benefit Microsoft in multiple ways, and organizations can do some of the same things to reap some of the same rewards.

1. Microsoft is giving users content focus. Expecting people to post updates and participate in discussions and groups is not enough. Some people will, sure, but you tend to see the same participants all of the time unless you give everyone something specific to focus on. Some of that will come naturally, of course, when there’s a project to work on or a budget to build. But Microsoft is providing specific and provocative “prompts” that will surely generate a lot of content. (“Introduce Yourself,” “Keynote Take-Aways,” “Best Sessions,” “Hands-On Time with Products,” and so on.) Organizations can do likewise by posting a question of the day, or by asking people to weigh in with their best office “hacks.” (Things like knowing which combination of buttons to push on the copy machine to get it to go faster, for example, not literally hacking into systems.)

2. Microsoft is offering incentives. Microsoft is giving away Surface devices and Bose noise-canceling headphones for the best experiences. You could offer a gift card to a local coffee shop for the best comment of the week, or a post pictures of the most prolific commenters. Little things can often mean a lot when it comes to incentives.

3. Microsoft is making its own news. Through the stories that people tell, Microsoft is generating buzz—for Ignite itself, for the products being announced and demonstrated there, and for the roads that Microsoft would like to nudge its customers down. (Cloud, anyone?) Through strategic content direction and curation, you can set it up so that your users are creating buzz about the very things you want employees to be excited about (like—meta alert!—the use of the corporate collaboration platform).

Are you experienced? Will you be sharing that experience with Microsoft during Ignite? What advice do you have for organizations looking to pump up the collaboration volume?

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