|Photo by Eric Ziegler|
While there is some truth to the idea that if you build it, they will come, I really question how many "they" actually is. Your early adopters will show up, but what about the quick followers? Or the lagging followers? Quick and lagging followers only come when you build it in the rare occasion. The issue is that they often can't see the business value that the social software provides. They don't see how it could improve the way they do their job. They don't realize that sharing openly, working out loud and collaborating in a social manner are ways to build a career that is much bigger and longer lasting than the age old ways of working.
Since success can't be declared immediately, how and when can you determine success and when can you declare "VICTORY"? I believe that some of the best ways of determining success with social software is based on the great stories of individuals, departments, groups, and divisions. How has the social software impacted them individually? How has the social software impacted their department and provided business value? How has a group used the social software to resolve an issue or implemented a new idea? How has the social software changed how the sub-division or the division communicates (e.g. is the communication two way vs. the traditional one-way communication)?
While each story gathered will be unique, the stories are great ways of getting across to anyone that asks why the software is a success and then also gives them ideas on how to use the social implementation for their own success.
How about sharing some of your stories of success?