Early adopters are some of the most important users in your Switchboard community. They model how to participate and interact on the Switchboard, but they also serve as another means of growing and fostering the Switchboard into the future.  By strategically identifying and recruiting folks from your community to serve as early adopters, you’re establishing a critical piece of the core active users that are necessary to maintain momentum on your Switchboard.

Who could be an early adopter?

Each community is unique, but your best early adopters are those people that you think 1) will easily understand the vision of Switchboard; 2) are dependable; 3) are excited about the community in general; 4) have experience supporting the community in some way.  Not all early adopters will meet these criteria, but many will meet most of them.  So, people that generally work well as early adopters are:

  1. Alumni Board members
  2. Admissions volunteers
  3. Community members that are active on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  4. Colleagues in your department
  5. Student workers in your department
  6. Alumni volunteers (especially recent ones)
  7. Alumni chapter leaders
  8. Alumni career mentors
  9. Young alumni (0-10 years out)

 How to adopt early adopters

 Adopting early adopters is a straightforward process, so long as you keep a few key things in mind:

  1. You should employ email and in-person opportunities for adoption.
  2. Your message to them should be clear and tailored.
  3. Provide a few examples of high-value posts and ways of engaging on Switchboard to give them a clear idea of what they can do as an early adopter to be helpful.  Here are real asks and real offers you can use.
  4. Encourage early adopters to post something they actually care about so they have an authentic connection and experience.

You can reach out to potential early adopters as you see fit, but Santa Clara crafted great emails that they sent to early adopters (when necessary) that were well received.  See Appendix A, B, C, and D for the templates they used for different scenarios.  

If you are interacting with potential early adopters in person, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Be sure to explain the seed phase and what their efforts are helping build towards.
  2. Have them sign up with their smartphone (if they have one).  They can download the iOS app if they have an Apple device, or they can access the Switchboard on their phone by going to using the Switchboard URL in their Internet browser (for any phone).  
  3. If they have their computer handy and want to use that, that is totally fine.
  4. Think about what they could do as their first action and ask questions to see if they can/want to participate that way.
  5. Should they post an ask or an offer?  Comment on an existing post?  Both?

In the end, a combination of adoption in person and via email is the surest way of adopting early adopters who will seed you Switchboard with high-value posts and activity.  

Action Items

  1. Create a list of ~50 potential early adopters.
  2. Find ~10-15 high-value posts for other Switchboard seed phases to have as models for early adopters.
  3. Begin planning first outreach to potential early adopters.

Appendix A

Email follow-up after a phone call (or in-person conversation): 

Subject: Santa Clara University Switchboard Follow-Up

Body: 

Hi xx, 

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to [Megan/Michelle/me/us] about Switchboard. As was discussed on the phone, we’re so excited to get SCU’s Switchboard up and running. We know it will be an invaluable resource for the Bronco community to connect with each other in new and meaningful ways. 

In order to get our community off the ground, we’ve identified several “super-users,” with you amongst them. We want to seed our Switchboard so that when the greater community joins, they have a working model of how to best use this new platform. We know you’re a passionate Bronco and hope you are excited to join us on this endeavor! 

What we’re asking from you is that you post either an ask or an offer. Think of your post as an introduction of yourself to the community. This is your chance to share something that you’re knowledgeable or excited about and start a conversation with your fellow Broncos. 

For reference, a great first post:

  • May offer advice, jobs/connections, and hosting opportunities
  • Promote interactions on and off Switchboard
  • Are bold, generous and helpful
  • Are evergreen (continue to be relevant over time)

Avoid posts that are:

  • About housing, goods, or events (these can come later)
  • Sloppy, inconsistent or lacking detail
  • Non-interactive (i.e. "come to this event!" "check out this thing + a link" or "here are all my thoughts/resources/list items/knowledge about X")

For further clarity, here are some examples of great asks and offers. (Feel free to run your post by us if you want more guidance or suggestions! Additionally, we may ask you to edit your post, but that is so your post can be at its best, as it will be helping set the tone for the SCU Switchboard.)

To get started, visit the Santa Clara Switchboard and sign up today. Post your ask or offer and be sure to check back! New posts will be coming in regularly and we’d love your continued interaction with fellow Broncos both on your post and others through commenting, private messaging, and sharing posts with other Broncos.

Thank you so much for your willingness to help in this exciting new marketplace. With your help and enthusiasm, we’re sure this will be an incredible opportunity for our fellow Broncos!

Best, 

Megan/Michelle/Sam

P.S. If you’re more comfortable on mobile, Switchboard has an iOS app (Switchboard – Community Asks & Offers) and is mobile-friendly!

Appendix B

Email introduction to Switchboard (first outreach): 

Subject: Santa Clara University Switchboard Request

Body:

Hi xx, 

We’re excited to announce that Santa Clara is launching Switchboard, a new online platform to connect the Bronco community. Think of it like an SCU craigslist meets LinkedIn – a place where Broncos can ask for what they need and offer what they have. 

We intend to roll Switchboard out to the greater community, but before we do, we want to seed it so people have a working model of how to best use this new platform. In order to get our community off the ground, we’ve identified several “super-users,” with you amongst them. We know you’re a passionate Bronco and hope you are excited to join us on this endeavor! [Insert personalization about why they were identified as a “super-user”]

What we’re looking for from you is that you post either an ask or an offer. Think of your post as an introduction of yourself to the community. This is your chance to share something that you’re knowledgeable or excited about and start a conversation with your fellow Broncos. 

For reference, a great first post:

  • May offer advice, jobs/connections, and hosting opportunities
  • Promote interactions on and off Switchboard
  • Are bold, generous and helpful
  • Are evergreen (continue to be relevant over time)

Avoid posts that are:

  • About housing, goods, or events (these can come later)
  • Sloppy, inconsistent or lacking detail
  • Non-interactive (i.e. "come to this event!" "check out this thing + a link" or "here are all my thoughts/resources/list items/knowledge about X")

For further clarity, here are some examples of great asks and offers. We were thinking you might want to post an [ask/offer about _________ because __________]. (Feel free to run your post by us if you want more guidance or suggestions!)

Is this something you’d be interested in helping with? If you have any questions or want more clarification before you commit, we’re happy to set up a call or explain further via email. 

Thanks so much for your time, we’re very excited about how Switchboard can help the Bronco community and would be honored if you agreed to help it get off its feet!

Best, 

Megan/Michelle/Sam

P.S. If you’re more comfortable on mobile, Switchboard has an iOS app (Switchboard – Community Asks & Offers) and is mobile-friendly!

Appendix C

RE: Email introduction to Switchboard (When someone has said yes): 

Subject: RE: Santa Clara University Switchboard Request

Body: 

Wonderful xx, 

Thanks so much for your interest in being a Switchboard “super-user!” With your help and enthusiasm, we’re sure this will be an incredible opportunity for our fellow Broncos!

To get started, visit the Santa Clara Switchboard (online or via the mobile app) and sign up today. Post your ask or offer and be sure to check back! New posts will be coming in regularly and we’d love your continued interaction with fellow Broncos both on your post and others through commenting, private messaging, and sharing posts with other Broncos.

Again, feel free to run your post by us if you want more guidance or suggestions! (Additionally, we may ask you to edit your post, but that is so your post can be at its best, as it will be helping set the tone for the SCU Switchboard.)

Best, 

Megan/Michelle/Sam

Appendix D

RE: Email introduction to Switchboard (When someone has said no): 

Subject: RE: Santa Clara University Switchboard Request

Body: 

Hi xx, 

No worries! We totally understand that you can’t make this commitment, and thanks for the consideration. Please do let us know if you have someone else in mind that might be a good fit or if you reconsider down the road and would like a reintroduction, we’d be happy to re-engage in conversation around Switchboard then. 

Go Broncos!

Megan/Michelle/Sam

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