Groundswell Awards 2009
Juniper Networks: Fast Tracking JUNOS Users
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Juniper Networks products and technology run the world's largest and most demanding global networks - and JUNOS Software provides the intelligence and scale behind these solutions. With service providers, enterprises, and public sector organizations using Juniper Networks and JUNOS to create value and accelerate business success, Juniper's online communities are crucial part of how we support, engage and equip our users. In 2009, we've taken this to a new level by using our online communities as the centerpiece of a campaign to spread the message about helping users get certified on JUNOS software. Our goal: 14,000 new JUNOS certifications. Our focus: using social technologies to create a call to action amongst our JUNOS users and to deliver the results.
Laying the Foundation
Juniper had already laid the groundwork for a vibrant community of JUNOS users through our industry-recognized online support program. The Association of Support Professionals (ASP), an international membership organization for customer support managers and professionals, recently recognized Juniper Networks for excellence in online service and support in the Ten Best Web Support Site category for a fourth consecutive year - becoming only the second company ever to record four straight wins. With this recommendation Juniper Networks also joined ASP's Web Support Hall of Fame, which honors companies achieving "Ten Best" for a minimum of four years. http://www.asponline.com/09awdAnnounce.html
In November 2007, we added a new dimension to our online support: a fully-featured online community offering user discussions across key product and technology topics and a rich, interactive media experience. Our goal then (and now) was to create a place for active two-way dialogue with and between our users, enlisting Lithium Technologies for their community platform and expertise. Since formally launching, the J-Net Community has grown to nearly 8,000 registered users. What started with 60,000 monthly page views in 2007 has now grown to nearly 3 million monthly page views in 2009 - and still counting. And users aren't simply passengers: we've seen average posts grow from just over 80 per month in 2007 to over 1000 per month now in 2009. As evidenced from some of our more vibrant discussion threads, the J-Net Community is active - and vocal:
But we certainly didn't stop there. We continued to add enhancements to the J-Net Community as the viewership has grown to ensure that users want to keep coming back, including:
We also added three blogs to the J-Net Community, tailored to suit our increasingly broad base of users and their interests:
The JUNOS discussion area has been one of the largest growers, going from just over 2,400 views in November 2007 to almost 200,000 views in August 2009. As we'll describe shortly, this particular group of users would become a particular area of focus in 2009.
Connecting the Dots
With the J-Net Community activated, we set our sights expanding our reach with integrated electronic direct mail, Google search campaigns, www.juniper.net banner placements and other online communities - namely social networks -- where our users congregate. The first challenge was in developing our own company understanding of what familiar entities like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and social bookmarking services like Digg could actually do to help us drive the business. To do so, Juniper developed the J-Social program.
J-Social is an interactive guide to social media designed to help Juniper employees and Juniper partners engage in the online social network effectively. In 7-10 minutes each of the nine modules provides education and engagement leveraging:
The J-Social pilot was launched in 1H09 to the internal Juniper Marketing team (200+), and fully launched August 24, 2009 to all Juniper employees worldwide (approximately 7,000) and to the entire Juniper partner population globally. We also developed a set of social media icons for Juniper employees for embedding in their email signatures. As of September 1, 2009, 1,068 users had already registered and the number is growing daily.
Of course, the J-Social program wasn't the end game. The education and engagement was put to the test with three major company announcements - announcements in which our ability to spread the message was improved measurably by the company's use of online communities:
28-April 2009: IBM Announces Dynamic Infrastructure Data Center Solution with Juniper
4-May 2009: Distributed Enterprise Launch
24-June 2009: Juniper Announces NYSE
In each case, online communities played a significant role in spreading the message to both our users and to the broader industry. In the case of Distributed Enterprise in particular, online communities and social networks were used for cross-reference: alerting and driving users from one community to information in another. By the end of July 2009, both Twitter and Facebook had become Top 10 traffic referrers to the J-Net Community.
As of August, growth of our online communities is still on the rise:
With each of these initiatives we gained more insight into truly connecting the dots between our online user communities - from J-Net to Facebook to LinkedIn -- to scale the message and reach the broadest possible audience. Through our increasingly inter-linked communities, we began to see the potential for actively engaging JUNOS software users - and some early successes in reaching our JUNOS community through these channels, including:
As we entered 2009, the insight we gained from the use of online communities and these early JUNOS successes would become a critical asset in one of our biggest challenges yet: helping 14,000 new users get certified on JUNOS Software.
Turning Up the JUNOS Volume -- And Getting Results
For Juniper, there is no greater priority than helping our users adopt and integrate JUNOS Software into their high performance networks - and realize its benefits. A key step in this process is educating and equipping users with the know-how to make JUNOS Software a part of their daily operations. Our JUNOS certification and training program offers several ways for users to develop practical expertise with JUNOS, apply those skills to their profession and enrich their careers.
With this in mind, we set a company goal of helping 14,000 new users earn their JUNOS certifications in 2009 - no small feat. To achieve this, we redesigned our entire Fast Track program - a streamlined portal offering users study materials, a pre-assessment exam, and an automated process for earning discounts on four of our most popular certification exams. We also created a compelling limited time offer of 100% off the final certification exam for all users of the Fast Track program. But how to spread the message? In a word: Community.
On July 20th, we re-launched the Fast Track program with an integrated, multi-touch campaign across the globe. In addition the tried-and-true tactics of electronic direct mail, search engine marketing, and events promotion, we also put out a massive call to our online communities. In the first 24 hours of the campaign, we:
Through his JUNOS advocacy on these social media channels, Juniper's Jeff Mattan also made a connection with another key community: the industry blogosphere. Jeff engaged in a dialogue with Network World blogger Brad Reese, who follows the networking certification space and in particular, Cisco. Brad has now written two favorable posts on Juniper's Fast Track program as a result and continues to follow Jeff on Twitter.
These community engagements yielded substantial increases in traffic to the new Fast Track portal, namely:
Our engagement through social technologies has also given JUNOS Software users a direct channel back to Juniper - a channel that yielded some very gracious feedback.
However, as we're all aware, there is no substitute for data and since the campaign launched on July 20, the certification results speak for themselves:
With these dramatic increases, Juniper is now on track to achieve our 2009 company goal of welcoming 14,000 new users to the JUNOS certification family. As a small Thank You to our JUNOS users, we used Twitter to offer JUNOS stickers to those who replied and told us which JUNOS certification they'd earned. This message also crossed over to the LinkedIn community and has resulted in JUNOS stickers being sent across the globe to proud new JUNOS certification holders in Russia, Pakistan, China, Brazil, Germany and across the United States.
We're also continuing to use these active JUNOS community channels to offer new information and benefits to our users. On September 1, we hosted a JUNOS live chat in our J-Net Community and used Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Groups to promote the event. Within a day of posting the event announcement, we had over 500 views of the details and welcomed over 60 attendees to the event itself. Several users also reached out to us directly on LinkedIn and Twitter with comments like, "I'll be there," and "Thanks for this information. I will definitely participate in this session. As I have lot of questions to ask."
Having established a rock-solid foundation through our online support forum, we developed a basis for engaging our users in a transparent, two-way discussion. Enhancements to our J-Net Community and integrating social media into our overall approach helped us achieve the scale required to reach our users. Applying a structured plan to this inter-connected ecosystem of online communities, we were able to offer our users a clear, compelling call-to-action around JUNOS certification. The certification results we've seen leave no doubt that our approach is making a difference. Given what we've learned and experienced through the examples we've shared here, we are true believers in the power of online communities for spreading a message to valued users.