Social Communities Strategy Background We built over 100 ...Presentation Transcript
Social Communities Strategy
We built over 100 corporate business communities so far.
We made mistakes and we learned
The following strategy development plan shall help you shortcut what we went through in the last 2 years
Defining a social community business strategy
The top 10 questions that will lead to your strategy
What is the purpose of the community?
What is the socioeconomic profile of community and members?
What are the main benefits to participate in the community?
What is a perceived disadvantage not participating in the community?
What kind of contribution is expected from its members?
What are benefits and motive for community initiator/owner/driver?
What is the geographic spread of the community?
What is the ideal size of the community including possible sub communities?
What is the ultimate goal of the community?
What is the communities business model?
What is the purpose of the community?
You know exactly how you feel about your community – but formulating it is so much harder. Create a community statement that is easy and plausible for your team, your friends, your customers, your partners and the rest of your ecosystem.
DO NOT make it a marketing pitch. Say it in a way that everybody could tell a friend in a bar.
For instance: This community shall help our customers better communicate with each other and our team. It shall help new users find experienced users and help each other to be more successful.
Make sure you and everybody else stands behind your purpose
Make sure that the purpose of your community works for all constituencies of your community. While you may orchestrate your community – at the end healthy communities organizes themselves.
Socioeconomic profile of community and members?
Define the profile of the audience you like to have from a “socioeconomic” (see Wikipedia) point of view.
What type of people in what type of economic environment do you envision to join.
You will need this profile to check every following step in your strategy building process to ensure that what you plan will match the profile of your audience.
Develop a list of example members (don’t use titles as group categories like sales managers, and don’t use business categories like “decision makers from large companies”) Create a list of people you know that represent the typical members down the road.
Think social. Think about people with names and faces, not empty shells from your CRM list.
Explain the profile of your members based on the example of 10 to 20 people you know.
The main benefits to participate in the community
Create a series of benefits your members will have by participating in the community.
Make sure that those benefits are an added value to their current situation. Check with a few of those members if they would confirm your perceived benefits.
Think of benefits like “meeting other customers”, “learn from others how they use the product or service we offer”, “have a better connection to our product management”, “find information contributed by other members”, “Develop your profile as an expert in our market”…
Forget benefits like “more information that you will make only available to your community”; that is marketing BS
Each and every community will quickly come op with benefits they experience, make sure you enhance your strategy paper with those inputs
Perceived disadvantage when not participating
If there is an advantage to join, there is a disadvantage for not being part of it. Spell it out – even if it is just the reverse of the advantage. Some people understand that better.
Not being able to easily communicate with other customers could be one. Not that you won’t make an introduction but it is much harder to orchestrate an introduction, asking the other party if they are interested…
Not seeing how other people use your product, or not being able to see videos others provided may be one.
Let your ecosystem know what it means not being part of this may be a much stronger argument to join than a series of advantages. Remember as a company all you did in the past years was convincing advantages…
What do you expected from your members?
Be clear about your expectation. This community is not a representation of YOU – it is a community of many. Make sure a member knows what the rest most likely expect from each other.
Define what YOU expect from the members and make sure this is realistic. If your member structure is of age 35 and older, it will take a while before members will contribute. You will also need to understand that non contributing members are equally important. They are the “consumers” in that information economy and “information producer” expect “information consumer”.
Make a list of things your members should contribute. Then make sure you have a way to ask them to do that. Embed a feedback system so that contribution is explicitly honored.
What are benefits and motive for your business?
Now since you have a clearer picture what you offer for your community declare your or your company’s own benefits.
Your benefits may be a more approachable company, better reputation and all those soft elements. But you also need to think about very concrete economic benefits.
Benefits may include to win back lost customers. It may include winning additional customers through advocacy of existing customers. It may include reduction in service cost by having customers help each other. It may be an increase in marketing efficiency by getting new leads through members instead of advertising. It may be reduced development cycles by closer working with test customers.
After defining those benefits, circle back to member benefits and make sure you are still in synch.
What is the geographic spread of the community?
Remember pinky & brain? “What are we doing today? What we do every day, we take over the world”
The world may be your goal but to start a community act local. Actually not so much from a distance point of view but from a language point of view.
Make sure the member benefits match with the geographic spread of your community.
Develop a growth plan to ensure you pick the right tools from the beginning.
Let your community know what your plans are.
How big should your community become?
Small is beautiful – size matters ? ! # @ $ - what….
Community building has some very physical dimensions that matter and you need to understand.
25 people is not a community but a small group that typically knows each other well and decides for themselves how to communicate.
With 250 and more people, you can expect that nobody knows more than 20% and most not even 5%. There is an advantage in a community to meet other people. A handful of people can IM, SMS or email each other. Hundreds or thousands can’t track such a dialogue.
Start with no less than 100, 250 is better and more is much better.
Don’t limit your community from the start – rather find ways to offer smaller groups and sub communities in your infrastructure as needed. Your community should have the same limits that you define for your business in general.
What is the community’s business model?
While a community is very inexpensive today, you still want to engage with initiatives and attract your current and new members.
You will need to finance the operation.
A community may be a business on its own. If you have a compelling reason, you may charge for the participation. But if the community is for you customers from a producing or service business, don’t expect anybody to pay for the membership.
You will need resources to run the community system, check content, contribute yourself and make sure you have a community support in place so members have a go to point.
Don’t think in “administration”. There is nothing to administrate. But you may be very busy with your customers and may need help from other department – bat that’s a great problem to have.
What is the ultimate goal of the community ?
Have a clear definition why you do that.
The ultimate goal may very well become an integral part of your overall corporate strategy. We see early signs of CCO’s (Chief Community Officers) high ranked executives of even global enterprises that understand the importance of this new market interaction model. CCO’s bridge the old gap between sales and marketing and may over time integrate both in a new organizational structure.
But the ultimate goal of your community may be something like the most active community in your respective market or industry. It may become the single largest community or the most influential community.
Try to define this goal in one sentence and have all key contributors help achieve that goal.
Initial milestones A vibrant community Social leadership
Xeequa is an online social business software provider. The company’s “Social Business Suite” helps corporations strategically develop a more trustful and loyal business ecosystem including their customers, prospects, alliances, channels and suppliers for a better business experience resulting in incremental market share.
Xeequa’s Social Business Suite is designed especially for corporations or industry associations and includes social networking, alliance networking, forums, blogs, event tracking and online collaboration such as opportunity or project collaboration. The solution supports corporate organization structures and provides an extended level of privacy rules created for corporate use.
The advertising free “software as a service” is subscription based and scales from small businesses to global enterprises. More info on www.xeequa.com or 1-650-384-0057