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Building an Online Community: Strategy, Launch, Engagement, Growth

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Building an Online Community: Strategy, Launch, Engagement, Growth. Presented at Enterprise 2.0, Boston, June 19, 2012

Building an Online Community: Strategy, Launch, Engagement, Growth. Presented at Enterprise 2.0, Boston, June 19, 2012


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  • 1. Building an Online Community – from Strategy, Planning and Launch to Effective Engagement and Adoption Catherine Shinners
  • 2. Our Conversation Today •Why communities matter-A macro economic perspective •Community principles and dynamics •Four stages of community Inception •Strategy and Planning •Business strategy alignment •Community business model •Community architecture •Critical success factors Establishment Growth Maturity •Case Study
  • 3. Asset value transition 3 Changing asset base Over two decades, intangible assets became key drive of economy
  • 4. Networked Organization 4 Market Share Gains Operating Margins Market Leadership Closer customer relationshipsCustomer supportProduct developmentCollaboration with partnersAgile decision-makingEmpowered teams The rise of the networked enterprise: Web 2.0 finds its payday, McKinsey report No. 22, Spring 2011
  • 5. Communities –exploiting the long tail 5 The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Anderson, C. , 2006
  • 6. Community Principles Communities have a lifecycle Communities have a unique set of dynamics
  • 7. Participationvalue is achieved through participation Community dynamics Collectivecreated & expanded from wide contributions Emergencevalue emerges from collective interactions Persistence contributions captured for sharing, viewing Independent engagement anytime, anyplace, at will Transparency participants see each other’s contributions The Social Organization: How to use social media to tap the collective genius of customer and employee, Bradley, A., , McDonald, M., Harvard Business Press, 2011
  • 8. Community Lifecycle Inception Establishment Growth Maturity •High value content sparks engagement •Comm. Mgr. direct outreach, initiates discussions, prompts response, relationship building, seeks interaction to content •Program of online events –forums, expert bloggers, original content •Growing sense of community •Regular communications •Social media channel engagement •Recruit volunteers •Survey, poll members •Recognition programs •Promote community •Advanced analytics •Higher levels of interaction , engagement •Community sense of shared history, achievements •Volunteer-led activities •Advancement in UX, platform, metrics, analytics •Community more self-sustaining •Subgroup, affinity group formation •Reformation of purpose A life-cycle perspective on online community success, Iriberri, A ., Leroy, G., ACM Computing Surveys, Volume 41 Issue 2, February 2009
  • 9. Stage 1: Inception •Engage and education stakeholders •Identify strategic business alignment •Plan for inception & establishment •Determine critical success factors and KPIs for early phases •Lay groundwork & infrastructure for growth and maturity phases
  • 10. Business Strategy Alignment •Customer engagement and loyalty –Obtain feedback and information on customer needs & requirements –Improve customer service •Visibility and reputation –Improve or enhance reputation –Increase access to expert knowledge –Exchange information with credible sources •Productivity –Increase quality of knowledge & advice –Increase idea creation –Enhance problem solving –Accelerate new business and product innovation –Save time during information seeking and sharing •Employee communication & trust –Better understanding & alignment across organizations –Increase level of trust 10 External Facing Internal Facing Inception
  • 11. Community Business ModelCompetitive StrategyPosition in value network Revenue ImpactValue Chain Market Segment Value Proposition Being involved in this community is important to me because… Customers or prospects, partners or employees. Market segment(s), targeted level (CXO, leaders, end users etc) Expert curation> original content > topicalforums > showcase customer leadership > demonstrates commitment to customerDifferentiation, customer loyalty, satisfaction, underserved segment, disruptive potential, product insightIdentify how the community is aligned with business initiatives or strategic engagements or programs Enhance customer loyalty, accelerate opportunity with partners, give access to expertise, value to product or support. Inception
  • 12. Community Architecture •Original content •Expert curation •Regular, online events •Targeted discussions •Promoting trending topics Community ManagementFacilitates, stewards daily interactions Manages volunteersFace of community, promotes community Monitor, measure, report Evangelizes , recruits internal , external advocates Define, refine strategy, outcomesContent & Events Programming •Social media engagement & promotion •Regular member communications •Marketing strategy (online, partners) •Compelling, evolving UX •KPIs, Benchmarks •Identify, manage tools •Educating stakeholders •Metrics reports for humans Governance Terms & Conditions Company Policies Executive Sponsor Legal, IT, HR Social Media, Marketing, CommunicationsPlatform, UXAnalytics , Operations Inception
  • 13. Critical Success Factors •Effective education of stakeholders •Identify executive sponsor •Resourced for lifecycle and business strategy success –Community manager, social media manager, content specialists, analytics talent –Content and programs: Plans and budgets for events, content development, content curation, recognition programs –Communications and marketing plan in place –Metrics: tools, services to analyze effective performance •Governance model alignment with larger organization •Technology and user experience attuned to targeted community 13 Inception
  • 14. Stage 2: 14 Establishment •Cultivate, facilitate along spectrum of engagement •Identify leaders, influencers •Recognition, volunteer programs •Regular cadence of events, programs, communications •Refine resource requirements for growth •Internal and external advocacy •Partnerships in place •Active cycle of engagement •Analytics, metrics aligned with purpose, relevant to management •Benchmarking, active listening
  • 15. Cycle of EngagementCustom content research = Unique news & resource discoveryOngoing content refresh = Increased site traffic + Newsworthy SM activitiesSocial media interactivity = Additional content discovery + credible voiceFeatured leadership voices + topics of the day = people like meNew interactive technologies = modeling collaboration & SM usePromotions, SM communications,= stimulated community engagement + new members Community Management, Content, UX , Original Programming Social Media, Communications Establishment
  • 16. Stage 3: •Shared sense of history, ownership in community •Community management, content and events program still strong •Varied, tiered volunteer program –empowered leaders •Affinity group formation •UX and analytic evolves with sophistication of community engagement 16 Growth
  • 17. Stage 4: •Robust level of subgroup, affinity group formation •Increasingly self-sustaining interaction •Evaluate purpose-mission – tune or repurpose 17 Maturity
  • 18. Case Study •Business benefit -visibility and reputation •Segment –education leaders and innovators •Purpose –foster peer-to-peer leadership dialogue –education innovation •Expert curation, original content, events, featured luminaries •Recognition program •Customer UX oriented at education leader segment Public Service of Cisco Inception
  • 19. Know Your Leaders Inception
  • 20. Using Social Media for Public Service of Cisco Establishment
  • 21. A Focus on Community Building Awareness and global reach –new members Engage with and facilitate leader conversations Drive participation and community engagement Advance sense of connection for leaders Better understand community needs –active listeningEstablishment
  • 22. Awareness, Reach Recruitment Awareness Global Reach Engage new members •LinkedIn Group –Promoting events, content –Bring content to relevant discussion groups –Email through LI -campaigns to bring in your members •Twitter –Targeted, focused outreach to influencers, leaders, innovators –Meet and greet –call to action to join •Facebook –Targeted ads to leaders with geo expansion –Global content, commentaryEstablishment
  • 23. Community Connection Engagement Participation Active listening Authentic voice •LinkedIn –Listen & participate in relevant domain groups –Monitor expert discussions –Calls to action to community events programming •Twitter –Monitor domain #hashtagsfor trending topics –Participate in #hashtaglive chats –Promotion of community events, content •YouTube –Great, original content featuring peer leadersEstablishment
  • 24. Community Engagement Be an authentic, active participant in the conversation You have to be engaged to get engagement •Focus, target outreach at members level, quality engagement peer-to-peer •Actively participate in conversations, bring great content, cultivate authentic stance •Bring new experiences –help them become more adept •Innovate, experiment, display leadershipEstablishment
  • 25. Value Metrics for Community A New Framework for Measuring Results in Social Media Jeremiah Owyang& John Lovett, The Altimeter Group, 2010 •KPIs –Audience Engagement –Share of Voice –Advocate Influence –Idea Impact –Sentiment Ratio •Benchmarking •Test-experiment with tools, frameworksGrowth
  • 26. Catherine Shinners President Merced Group Palo Alto, CA and Cambridge, MA +1-650-704-3889 catherineshinners@mercedgroup.com blog: www.collaboration-incontext.com www.mercedgroup.com www.linkedin.com/catherineshinners @catshinners Skype: CatherinePaloAlto Social Business Strategic Consulting and Enterprise 2.0 Services