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I don’t know about you, but I can easily find myself engrossed in HGTV. Whether it is Chip and Joanna shiplapping Waco, Karen and Mina revamping downtown Indianapolis, or the Yard Crashers searching home improvement stores for someone who could use a pro’s expertise – there are a few common format elements. In each show, budgets include a large amount for the yard and landscaping. Homeowners could spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the inside of their homes, but if the outside does not have a welcoming street view some people may just drive on by!

Similarly, companies can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into a social intranet and other social collaboration tools. If the social tools are not inviting, end users may just drive on by. While these tools may be more “user friendly” than those of the early 1990s and 2000s, engagement won’t just happen.

Launching an intranet and landscaping the front of your home may be two things you would never put together. But stay with me.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the attractiveness of a home’s exterior. Like getting ready to put your home on the market, getting your social intranet ready for launch requires a certain polish. Like a potential buyer, a member of an intranet wants to see something appealing and eye catching. The curb appeal of the social intranet could make or break the experience.

Layout is Key

Some plants prefer alkaline or acidic soil. Some require shade while others prefer direct sunlight. Similarly, within your social intranet, you may have teams that are open or some that need to be private due to the subject matter. Taking into consideration the right environment and the needs of the organization and its members is important.

Pull The Weeds

Whether it is an intranet refresh or starting from scratch, it is always a good idea to pull the weeds. Get rid of or archive documents or files that are either outdated or unused. This is a content audit (link to post) or inventory. While this can be cumbersome, this is a step we would advise that you not skip or short change. Moving over content that does not have a defined owner or future use will only clutter the intranet and make it difficult for users to find the resources and files they need. Do not leave the weeds.

Know When To Prune Or Transplant

Most plants benefit from some sort of regular pruning. Many social intranets allow for documents to be updated in real time or in tandem. As conversations within threads grow, subjects being discussed may need its own designated group or section rather than an extremely LONG thread. Some examples could include planning for an annual or quarterly event. While the beginning discussions of the event may be in the Marketing group, as the conversation unfolds and the detailed planning commences, having a separate, visible group may make more sense. Transplanting this extremely long thread into its own group will help keep things organized and make it more easy to follow along.

You can cultivate an environment of collaboration. Curb appeal, layout, tending to weeds, and pruning the content that lives on your social intranet are all vital to the longevity and continued adoption of your community. Removing unnecessary clutter so that end users can fully collaborate allows for increased productivity, reduced confusion, and a better user experience.