2011: 10 Million new direct relationships and establishing the User Engagement team

Sun, Jan 8th, 2012 | Tags: mozilla firefox user engagement

One year ago I started the year with a big job ahead of me - build the user engagement team at Mozilla and grow direct relationships with 10+ million Firefox users.
2011 ended well, very well, I am delighted to say.

Socially speaking
With the help of William Reynolds, the first person to join the user engagement team in Nov 2010 we more than doubled the number of social connections on Facebook and Twitter last year. Today, over 7 million people are interacting with Firefox via their preferred social channel. William, our social expert led our sharing campaigns for the Firefox 4 launch with the Twitter Party and Facebook badges program. He also stood up our Army of Awesome Twitter support channel, relaunched the Firefox Live campaign, and too many other social engagement campaigns to mention here. William was a super intern at Mozilla in 2009, he’s now our super social man, who lends a hand to all folks on the team. You could say he has a lot more friends than any of us put together.

Email powerhouse
In mid January 2011 Winston Bowden changed his world and came West from North Carolina to head up and drive our email engagement program. Starting from virtually nothing Winston strategically grew our program whilst rolling up his sleeves every single day to grow the number of Firefox and You monthly newsletter subscribers to almost 3 million by end of 2011. Winston also spent much time helping nurture and grow other teams who communicate directly with their users, fans and developers via email. We’ve come a very long way under Winston’s tutelage. He has built a steadfast email program, that like our products, answers to no-one but you. We take engagement, privacy and the latest email best practices with regard to data incredibly seriously. And to all those marketeers out there — believe us when we say; not spamming, not heavy-handed targeting, not selling your customers data pays dividends. We respect our email subscriber like a family member or friend — and with often 20+% open rates and 8-10% click through rates, we have email numbers that are way, way above average. We’re terrifically proud of our program.

A is for advocacy
In early Summer, we had the great fortune to hire Chelsea Novak. Chelsea based in the Mozilla Toronto office had been working for the Mozilla Foundation in a fundraising and engagement role for 2 years when we had the great opportunity to have her join our throng. Chelsea was and is different. She understands both how to win and how to keep Firefox users. She embraces scale and leverage, and has been able to apply this to everything she touches. One of the biggest projects Chelsea lead and launched was the Mozilla Affiliates program, finishing the year with a program live in more than 10 languages, and with 10,000+ affiliates around the world. She also managed several partner campaigns with Ripcurl and the Ripcurl Pro event in San Francisco, and currently with the Firefox Challenge challenge on Crowdrise (celebrities are still duking it out for their charities to win). We’ve ended the year with even stronger word of mouth marketing programs and new ways for our Firefox users to engage and become advocates.

Content is king
In the late Summer Carmen Collins based in Florida became our content editor. As our direct channels grew and the number of people wanting to interact with us grew, it was clear we needed to put even more thought and rigor around a communication strategy and also calendaring of content. Carmen brought her skills as a writer, and process advocate - and set about constructing and implementing a content strategy. After several iterations we sit in a place where scores of stake-holders communicate and plan content together every week, and every month. Carmen also birthed our user engagement blog The Den which currently acts as a destination for articles often posted in social or helping give more context to email articles — there is much more to come. Lastly, Carmen is also a social media maven, and has been instrumental in assisting William work on increasing engagement in those channels; particularly working together with William to increase social sharing on Facebook in the last 3 months of the year by 20% to 300,000 shares.

Take it to the world
Lastly, Jess Davis also relocated from North Carolina to expand our email program throughout the world. Jess works very closely with Winston and apart from being a coding whizz, process junkie and sheer bundle of energy and delight - she has very quickly grown our email program to include truly localized versions of the Firefox and You newsletter in French, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish. Jess recruited and works directly with our extended team of volunteer email content leads each month to produce and localize for their specific locales. Jess, has only been on board just over 3 months but already grew our volunteer efforts from 0 to 12. It was a great way to end the year.

And so, as you’ve read 2011 was an incredibly busy and successful year for the user engagement team. We smashed throughout our main target of building direct relationships with more than 10 million Firefox users. We nurtured and created loyalty. We built advocacy programs and allowed others to help. We extended beyond the English speaking world. We grew our team to include some amazing volunteers and paid staff from around the world.*

We’re putting the finishing touches to our 2012 plans. If this year is anything like last, its going to be a superb year!

* Big thanks to so many other people who helped the user engagement team in 2011 - you are a hugh part of that success - we’re incredibly proud and grateful.

User Engagement team (left to right): Carmen Collins, Jane Finette, William Reynolds, Jess Davis, Winston Bowden and Chelsea Novak. Sadly our extended volunteer team are not in this picture, but are still dearly part of the team. We’ll make that photo opportunity happen in 2012!

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