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:
iPhone & VPN: 11,000+ Views
to JUNOS Configuration: 10,000+ Views
Debug Guide: 19,000+ Views
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:
- Frequent use of video and user promotions
- Recognition of users through user rankings and the "Kudos" system
- Integration of RSS feeds and email subscriptions to discussion topics and Knowledge Base articles, as well as proactive support product alerts via Tech Bulletins
We also added three blogs to the J-Net Community, tailored to suit our increasingly broad base of users and their interests:
- The Network Ahead: Engages executives and other community members in an open dialogue on topics ranging from JUNOS Software and business model evolution to green networking and business ideology.
- Architecting the Network: Offers business perspectives on the trends, solutions and driving networking innovation.
- Networking Now: Technical perspectives on a wide range of topics, from network security to routing and switching.
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:
- Video vignettes describing the "old way" vs. the "new way"
- Interactive fun facts and compelling content
- Short activities driving online membership and engagement
- Downloadable, instructional content to use later
- Prizes for completion of all modules (T-Shirt and Certificate)
- To keep it social, the ability to share the J-Social experience with others
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
- IBM announces an update to its Dynamic Infrastructure of which Juniper is a critical participant delivering shared vision, technology innovation and a robust product portfolio. Jim Comfort, VP of Enterprise Initiatives at IBM talks about our partnership in this video:
- A new blog post by Executive Vice President David Yen, video, and accompanying presentation were posted in the J-Net Community on the day of announcement
4-May 2009: Distributed Enterprise Launch
- Juniper Networks announced its next generation network infrastructure for the distributed enterprise, including new SRX Series Services Gateways and a new line of EX Series Ethernet Switches.
the first time, updates are published to all three J-Net Community blogs
- The Network Ahead: "Enhancing the Distributed Enterprise" By Mark Bauhaus
- Architecting the Network:"Your Network and a Pandemic" by Alex Gray
- Networking Now:"Remote Site Strategies in Lean Times" by Scott Lucas
- Ten new videos posted to YouTube
- Another first, the J-Net Community hosts a live chat event on launch day; and was promoted via Twitter and Facebook
- Social Media Announcements were delivered Twitter, Facebook and Linked
24-June 2009: Juniper Announces NYSE
- NYSE Euronext, the world's most diverse exchange group, and Juniper Networks announced that they are working together to create a state-of-the-art, ultra-low latency core network for NYSE Euronext's new consolidated global data centers
- Announcement video was posted in a blog article announcing this partnership deal.
- Blog article and video were syndicated via Juniper's Facebook page and Twitter.
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:
- J-Net community: nearly 8,000 registered users up from 4,000 in 2008
- Twitter: over 1,000 followers on the official feed since launching in February 2009
- Facebook: over 1,200 fans since launching on April 2009
- YouTube channel: nearly 7000 channel views since 2008
- LinkedIn JUNOS Professionals: over 1,300 members
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:
- JUNOS "Day One" booklet -- through posting a description and link on key LinkedIn groups, we achieved a quarterly goal of five user reviews in a matter of hours. All comments were positive and downloads increased dramatically.
- JUNOS Enterprise Switching book - through posting on key LinkedIn groups, Facebook Twitter and J-Net, we were quickly able to provide valuable information to an audience interested in new networking material. We received numerous positive comments including things like "Just bought the book and it is great. Thanks for telling us about it" and "Thanks, Jeff. I plan to use this as a supplement for the JNCIA-EX".
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:
- Announced the program and new offer on our official Twitter feed - and encouraged all of our followers to re-tweet the news
- Posted an announcement in our J-Net Community along with a new video describing the Fast Track program and its benefits
- Posted an announcement on the official Juniper Networks Facebook page and started a discussion thread on the topic
- Posted an announcement to the JUNOS Professionals group and five other related user groups on LinkedIn
- Created a new JUNOS playlist on the Juniper YouTube channel
- Launched an advertising campaign on Facebook urging users to "Fast Track" their careers by taking advantage of the 100%-off offer
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:
- Visitors to the Fast Track portal have averaged 20,000+ per week since launch
- Facebook delivered 7.5M ad impressions with a CTR of .03%
- Nearly 800 visits to our Fast Track site directly from Brad Reese's blog
- J-Net Community is the top social network referral to the Fast Track portal
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.
- “I want to say thank you for all support from Juniper, I passed on the JNCIS-ER exam today... “
- “@JUNOSJeff Good to hear that! I do work almost full-time on Juniper stuff now ;-) So I'm building loads of experience”
- “I took 3 exams thanks to fasttrack vouchers, and I have passed them thanks to the study materials there. Now I am JNCIA-ER, JNCIA-EX and JNCIS-ES!! Now preparing JNCIS-ER, and looking a job with Juniper routers, I like them!!”
- “@JUNOSJeff sure thing ! I'll try to win a book , that will "push" me into the JunOS world ! I wanna pass certs !”
- “Awesome initiative from Juniper Networks. Two thumbs up!”
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:
- 100%-off vouchers earned increased from approximately 150 per week to more than 3,000 per week by the end of August, a 1,900% increase
- Certifications earned have increased from approximately 150 per week to more than 1,000 per week by the end of August, an 560% increase
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.
M Suresh Reddy
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