IT Social Heroes for Employee Social Activation

Young businessman acting like a super hero and tearing his shirt

Originally posted June 27, 2013 on

In my blog, “Why Intel IT Experts Should Use Social Media” <LINK> I mentioned that I was working on a pilot program is called “IT Social Heroes.”

The goal of IT Social Heroes is to help our busy IT SMEs (subject matter experts) build solid peer relationships and increase their social authority (and that of Intel IT… and Intel) within the IT industry. We wanted the Intel IT SMEs to build social authority by:

  • Building equity in their name plus their area of expertise (by using a unique key equity term (KET)).
  • Improving the SME’s search-ability (SEO for higher Google Rank) over time.
  • Growing social influence (i.e., Klout/Kred score, # of followers & connections)

The pilot started with a few Intel IT SMEs in December 2012. For each SME, we did an assessment (to establish a baseline) and then advised each of them, creating a game plan of focused actions and metrics. We provided metrics to help quantify the value of time and effort they put in — and the impact when they slacked off the plan.

social hero 1

What Worked

We created retroactive connections to the SME’s existing content (e.g., white papers, articles, blogs, or videos). For each existing asset, add the Hero’s name and KET. Tagging their existing work required effort but really helped “establish” each of the Heroes.

One of our SMEs, Tim, was completely disassociated with the unique KET we selected for him. When we started there were zero pages for his name and KET in Google’s index. It was a little surprising that he didn’t have a single web page his name and topic that they’re an industry expert in.  However with a steady pace, his Google Trend has been increasing and therefore his page rank as well.

We asked SMEs to use the #IntelIT (the collective tag that IT employees use) on all of their tweets for two reasons. The first was so our colleagues in IT could monitor that #IntelIT hash tag and retweet any tweets from our IT experts. We also found our Intel-branded twitter accounts monitoring #IntelIT and occasionally retweeting the IT SMEs. The second reason was to separate their work tweets from their personal tweets.

Personally, I think it’s nice to have one TweetReach report for #IntelIT each month so I can watch the trends of the collective group. Here are graphs of the number of tweets and reach from the pilot. While the tweet reach varies month to month, overall trend for reach is good. Adding more SMEs who tweet using #IntelIT in the future should also help our reach – and influence grow.

social hero 2

We also pulled TweetReach report for the few SMEs in the pilot. I’d like to share one of our SME’s results. Tim Casey (@timcaseycyber) is a cyber risk management expert, with a small, niche following. He has steadily built these followers over a short six months period. He wasn’t doing much on Twitter when I first approached him. We talked several times about what was the best KET, how was he going to focus his blog and what was “his voice.” Tim had really great instincts about keeping it real and being genuine. I think in some cases technical experts can get too much help from marketing and agencies (e.g., the agency does all of the person’s tweets, writes blogs, etc.).

I am of the opinion that the assistance from an agency may help speed the expert’s ramp initially, but over time you may not end up with authenticity. Our approach with IT Social Heroes is to advise and help the SMEs find their own groove. Our results are organic, but we think in the long term this is the optimal way to activate experts.

I am really pleased with Tim’s results during the pilot. His Twitter amplification or exposure was zero in December, and then 115 in January, but now his exposure for the month of May is 19,358.

social hero 3

Tim is consistently tweeting and is also blogging.  In March-April he collaborated on a national cyber security framework. Check out his blog in IT Peer Network.  And his Tim’s Klout score is 40, up from 27 in January.

The Ah-ha’s

The challenge with any successful pilot is usually about how to scale. The pilot only had a few SMEs, but we collected eight different types of data each month. That’s way too much data collection and reporting if we multiply by more SMEs. We learned what data was useful and got some really interesting insights and ah-ha’s.

We found that the combination of advice and metrics really helped ramp the SMEs who were just getting started being an external SME and starting fresh in social networking benefitted the most. We have to figure out how to provide training and tools ramp them from zero to awesome more efficiently.

In the pilot there were also established SMEs, who had connections of their own (i.e., from speaking at events, customer engagements or industry groups), just needed some initial advice on how to build their influence now on social networks. There were a few metrics (Google Index trend and/or Klout score) that they found most useful. Maybe these guys just need some group coaching and they can track their own progress.

What We Will Do Next

For most IT@Intel SMEs, we need to simplify and make the process self-serve.  We need a “DIY” IT Social Hero Guide or training to help SMEs build that own game plan.

To  keep it simple, I would recommend they use a generic “IT Best Practices” as their KET.

SMEs measure their own progress and track on their own metrics.

Kelli Gizzi (Twitter: @kelligizzi)

Our team uses the Twitter hashtag #IntelIT 


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