We asked our leading Customer Success Expert, Paddy O’Hagan, for his top tips on how to create a successful app launch and drive engagement beyond the initial rollout of a mobile internal communication platform.

Magnet with images of social media icons being drawn to it

1 – First impressions count.

No matter how great your launch materials are, your end user will judge the App based on their experience when they log in. Across all industries, app retention rate is around 29% (of those that have logged in) – for an internal communication tool, this isn’t a great return on investment, especially when executive leaders are keener than ever to make sure their message is heard by everyone and their employees are united in the understanding of their business goals.

Therefore we, as communicators, need to prove the value of the user app by engaging our end users quickly and successfully. Advance preparation is critical in making sure that objectives are clearly defined and desired results are clear, but this is often overlooked by companies wishing to ‘just get it out there.’ Taking the time to create a content and communication strategy with an actionable plan that works in harmony with the platform, is aligned to objectives and is designed to deliver results is essential to the success of going mobile with your internal communications. For companies that do not have large internal communication teams, assigning a sponsor or owner for each module of the platform can make a huge difference. This makes generating content a shared responsibility which is key to making each module a success in its own right. Who wants to click on a survey button that doesn’t have any surveys ready? Or a library with test documents in it? Every module should be fully populated with valuable content that engages your users from the very first time they log in to the app.

2 –Engagement Vs Adoption

You need to move your user from curious to engaged as quickly as possible – the easiest way to do this is for them to find value on the App. What problem are you solving, not for the company, but for the end user? One of our most successful tactics at StaffConnect is to set up integrations into employee focussed tools or systems so that the app becomes a central hub for all of an employee’s work tools.  Instead of needing to know 10 different systems for payslips, expenses, holiday booking or shift patterns they only need to go to one place to access every system. We also work with our customers to identify how we can create exclusivity. Putting access to information which can only be accessed through the app is a clear winner – exclusive competitions or promotions, the latest health and safety manual needed for onsite assessments – these all help to drive engagement by creating compelling reasons for using the app.

3 – Ask questions

The next stage of engagement is contribution. It’s all well and good having amazing content, but the next goal is to give your employees the confidence to create their own content. Initially, it can be unrealistic to expect people to know what to post, so you need to create a group of early contributors to help build momentum. Ask colleagues to post specific comments or content, get executive leaders to write a blog or do a podcast. Look around for industry news you can use and solicit opinions to post… What does your CEO think about it? Ask them to include another question within their blog to elicit responses and start a conversation.

4 – Get Help!

Ironically, the Internal Communications teams that I’ve worked in rarely have news of their own – I think launching an App is as big as it gets for us! So you need to source where the news will come from after the launch. You can’t exactly ask the CEO to write a blog every day – so who else is there? Who has news within your organisation? The quickest way to find out who that is, is to search your emails for whoever is sending ‘To: All Staff’. The quicker you can identify people with a need to get their news out to your employees the more likely you are to create a “win, win” for you and for them.

5 – Do it again! Do it better!

You’ve hit your initial adoption target. Congratulations! But it’s very rare initial adoption rates will be sustained without ongoing research and refining. You will have learned what’s worked and what hasn’t worked with this launch, but there will also be things that you haven’t anticipated or experienced. This is where analytics play an essential part in giving insights into what’s working and what isn’t. Understanding how different locations and functions within your organisation are interacting with the platform is a powerful driver in making sure you are able to segment and target different groups. Knowing what your top performing piece of content is and who your most actively engaged users are is a key factor in continually improving your results over time.

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