Why care about communities?

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Slides from the Communilytics Intensive at Web2Expo San Francisco, May 2, 2010. Here, we look at motivations for using communities.

Slides from the Communilytics Intensive at Web2Expo San Francisco, May 2, 2010. Here, we look at motivations for using communities.

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  • The web is a part of our social fabric. Ten years ago, we had URLs in movie trailers. Now, we have Twitter names showing up in the credits of TV shows. We take it for granted that we live online. A single person can send content to the planet. The world is flat, at least online.
  • We’re are all digitally connected, as a result of the web’s massive surge in popularity and its means of distribution to many different devices. The differences between households today and households 15 years ago is that then - we had one device that connected us electronically to others, if we were lucky. Today, we have multiple devices that all achieve these functions, such as csmartphones, iPods, laptops, desktops, televisions, consoles and handheld devices.


  • We’re are all digitally connected, as a result of the web’s massive surge in popularity and its means of distribution to many different devices. The differences between households today and households 15 years ago is that then - we had one device that connected us electronically to others, if we were lucky. Today, we have multiple devices that all achieve these functions, such as csmartphones, iPods, laptops, desktops, televisions, consoles and handheld devices.


  • We’re are all digitally connected, as a result of the web’s massive surge in popularity and its means of distribution to many different devices. The differences between households today and households 15 years ago is that then - we had one device that connected us electronically to others, if we were lucky. Today, we have multiple devices that all achieve these functions, such as csmartphones, iPods, laptops, desktops, televisions, consoles and handheld devices.


  • We’re are all digitally connected, as a result of the web’s massive surge in popularity and its means of distribution to many different devices. The differences between households today and households 15 years ago is that then - we had one device that connected us electronically to others, if we were lucky. Today, we have multiple devices that all achieve these functions, such as csmartphones, iPods, laptops, desktops, televisions, consoles and handheld devices.


  • We’re are all digitally connected, as a result of the web’s massive surge in popularity and its means of distribution to many different devices. The differences between households today and households 15 years ago is that then - we had one device that connected us electronically to others, if we were lucky. Today, we have multiple devices that all achieve these functions, such as csmartphones, iPods, laptops, desktops, televisions, consoles and handheld devices.


  • We’re are all digitally connected, as a result of the web’s massive surge in popularity and its means of distribution to many different devices. The differences between households today and households 15 years ago is that then - we had one device that connected us electronically to others, if we were lucky. Today, we have multiple devices that all achieve these functions, such as csmartphones, iPods, laptops, desktops, televisions, consoles and handheld devices.


  • We’re are all digitally connected, as a result of the web’s massive surge in popularity and its means of distribution to many different devices. The differences between households today and households 15 years ago is that then - we had one device that connected us electronically to others, if we were lucky. Today, we have multiple devices that all achieve these functions, such as csmartphones, iPods, laptops, desktops, televisions, consoles and handheld devices.


  • In the past, you had to mail someone a letter to have your issues heard. Today, angry moms can change the course of a multi-million dollar marketing campaign in days.
  • Sometimes they’re not angry; they’re just talking
  • (Just as a note: It’s easy to replace “community” with Twitter. Or Facebook. That’s inaccurate. Communities aren’t new.)
  • Similarly, it’s naive to think of “lytics” as followers. Being noticed is easy. Being remembered, and engaged, and acted upon, matters.
  • The communities we see today are a natural evolution from the early days of the web.
  • Communities are as old as tribes and families
  • Early interactions on BBSes were limited to nerds and hobbyists.
    Many of the things we see in communities -- from voting, to posts, to email, to games, to downloads, to search -- started in BBSes. But they lacked the widespread adoption.
  • Even early BBSes formed communities around topics, a precursor of hashtags and lists we have today
  • And then the web happened, and made it easy for everyone to get access to things.
    Early on, directories organized everything.
    The web had tons of information, and used a pull model. We loaded pages on highly technical and expensive web servers and fetched them to our computers.
  • Around 1996, the web was on its way to becoming a platform for interaction instead of a just one for information consumption.
    Hotmail was one of the turning points of social networking -- a shift from one email per computer to one per person, independent of machine.
  • Instant messaging made it possible to chat with others quickly and easily.
    While IRC had done this for years, it was the integration of chat with portals like Yahoo, MSN, and AOL that made it accessible.
  • Social networks and blogs made it easier than ever to have a page on the web -- attracting a broader mass market than ever.
  • Social aggregators like Digg, Slashdot, and Reddit have given us other, more collaborative, ways to decide what’s interesting.
  • We also started repurposing chat. Rather than talking to our friends all the time, we re-used the status field to tell our friends what we were up to.
  • This led to Twitter and other interfaces -- basically chat with the chat stripped out -- whose social patterns produced extremely fluid social dynamics. Today, a popular Twitter user like Stephen Fry can generate Digg-like traffic to a site through a simple mention.
  • Today, there are thousands of online communities. This is Brian Solis and Jess3’s Conversation prism.
  • Today, communities are everywhere.

  • Today, communities are everywhere.
  • The problem is that ads are everywhere. So present that we’re saturated to the point where we barely notice that ads exist on sites anymore.
  • It’s easy to craft a message. Getting genuine attention is the hard part.

    Online marketing made advertising accountable thanks to web analytics.

    Viral marketing approaches makes it easy to spread messages that have high returns.

    Community marketing now makes it possible for others to genuinely be interested in a product by not feeling like they’re getting messages from a company with ulterior motives to sell.
  • it is only natural that this has led to a new kind of PR.
  • Online advertising -- paid, affiliate, or SEO -- gives marketers better control. But you still have to pay for it; message strength grows with the money you spent on ads.

    Marketers retained control over the message, but less so over where it was shown and to whom.
  • Viral marketing made the marketing dollar go further by infecting customers with the message in the hopes that it would spread, much as this diagram of a pathogen’s spread shows a few initial carriers (black) infecting others.
  • Nothing was better at this than Hotmail, which gained millions of users in a short amount of time with a simple embedded message.
  • Hotmail’s adoption was predicted decades beforehand by a professor who studied how messages diffuse out through groups.




  • Hotmail’s growth closely mirrored this. It had all the things needed to go viral:
    - A good story
    - Support from community leaders
    - A large end audience
    - A platform for distribution


  • Communities help facilitate a new kind of PR, but one in which you lose control of both the means and the audience in return for a genuine message and cheap distribution. Not all messages can survive this transparency, and all members of the organization are involved in the interaction.

  • Support communities can show the earliest form of ROI for many companies. They allow the customer to support themselves. Customers like it, and it costs less. Some companies have gone to great lengths to replace their traditional support sites with community platforms.

    Online communities offer specialized, rated, organized feedback mechanisms than generic communities such as a mailing list or Usenet can’t provide.


  • Turns out that there are very good reasons to implement support communities.

    The cost of any other support is extremely high.
  • Turns out that there are very good reasons to implement support communities.

    The cost of any other support is extremely high.
  • Turns out that there are very good reasons to implement support communities.

    The cost of any other support is extremely high.
  • Turns out that there are very good reasons to implement support communities.

    The cost of any other support is extremely high.
  • Turns out that there are very good reasons to implement support communities.

    The cost of any other support is extremely high.
  • Even if you don’t want to build one yourself, sites like Getsatisfaction can allow you to build quick self-service portals that can actually be seeded and moderated by non-employees.

  • Testing on visitors: you can crowdsource your product development, resulting in faster and more accurate iterations. In this case, backtype created a ‘Trends’ tab without actually launching the feature, opting instead to let users share ideas about the feature before rolling it out (or perhaps even building it).
  • Getting feedback from existing customers: Communities can take interesting turns, helping you with product, campaign or business recommendation.

  • Another good reason to monitor communities is because what happens on them may put you at risk. Whether that’s someone slandering you, stealing or leaking your content, or even using you as a platform for malicious attacks -- such as those linked to from President Obama’s campaign sites.
    Libelous or slanderous content
    Intellectual property theft
    Your own liability

  • Referrals are another big reasons for joining or building a community.
    Whether your company is looking for new customers or for new employees, websites are quickly becoming the most efficient tool for establishing those relationships.


  • Many people think community platforms is about creating a platform for marketing.

    But there are many other reasons for community building, each with their own types of things you’ll want to watch.

    In other words, it would be wrong to think that marketing is the only reason companies need to engage communities.
  • And there are many compelling reasons to have a presence on online communities. Consumers themselves have high expectations of traditional brands, often expecting them to be online for no other reason than “having a presence”.

Transcript

  • 1. Why care about communities The conversation’s the thing
  • 2. Three factors drive community adoption New ways to interact The consumerization of the web Empowered, vocal markets
  • 3. Consumer web: we’re always online.
  • 4. Consumer web: we’re always online.
  • 5. !
  • 6. “Community” ≠
  • 7. “-lytics” ≠ http://www.flickr.com/photos/the359/2406555562
  • 8. A quick history of communities
  • 9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jelles/471147583
  • 10. !
  • 11. !
  • 12. So why care about them?
  • 13. Why care: Getting a message out
  • 14. Press releases are so twentieth century.
  • 15. ------------------------------------------------------ Get your free private email at http://www.hotmail.com ------------------------------------------------------
  • 16. The Bass diffusion curve
  • 17. Spread of message directly relates to money spent on spreading it. Converted actions Time
  • 18. Spread of message directly relates to money spent on spreading it. Converted actions Time
  • 19. Spread of message directly relates to money spent on spreading it. Converted actions Time Buyers = (message effectiveness) * (number who hear it)
  • 20. Later, spread depends on number who amplify the message (the original Retweet!) Converted actions Time
  • 21. Later, spread depends on number who amplify the message (the original Retweet!) Converted actions Time
  • 22. Later, spread depends on number who amplify the message (the original Retweet!) Converted actions Time Buyers = (message effectiveness) * (number who hear it) + (message infectiousness) * (buyers)
  • 23. Why care: Encourage self-support
  • 24. !
  • 25. You really don’t want web users to call you. $15 $12 $9 $6 $3 $0 Web self-service IVR Email Live phone Cost estimates BiT Group White Paper: “Web Self-Service Lowers Call Center Costs and Improves Customer Service” Low Average High
  • 26. You really don’t want web users to call you. $15 $12 $9 $6 $3 Can$0.24 $0 Web self-service IVR Email Live phone Cost estimates BiT Group White Paper: “Web Self-Service Lowers Call Center Costs and Improves Customer Service” Low Average High
  • 27. You really don’t want web users to call you. $15 $12 $9 $6 $3 Can$0.24 Can$0.45 $0 Web self-service IVR Email Live phone Cost estimates BiT Group White Paper: “Web Self-Service Lowers Call Center Costs and Improves Customer Service” Low Average High
  • 28. You really don’t want web users to call you. $15 $12 $9 $6 Can$3.00 $3 Can$0.24 Can$0.45 $0 Web self-service IVR Email Live phone Cost estimates BiT Group White Paper: “Web Self-Service Lowers Call Center Costs and Improves Customer Service” Low Average High
  • 29. You really don’t want web users to call you. $15 $12 $9 $6 Can$5.50 Can$3.00 $3 Can$0.24 Can$0.45 $0 Web self-service IVR Email Live phone Cost estimates BiT Group White Paper: “Web Self-Service Lowers Call Center Costs and Improves Customer Service” Low Average High
  • 30. !
  • 31. Why care: Test out product ideas
  • 32. Why care: Mitigate risk & catch libel
  • 33. Change you don’t want on your computer
  • 34. Why care: Building a network and finding leads
  • 35. Why? Ultimately, because customers want you to.