The Hard Truth About Standalone Communities

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Social Media is the hottest thing in marketing. Everyone wants to build a community with blogs, wikis, forums. But - can they be successful? can they produce real business results? where are the communities that were launched a year or two ago?

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The Hard Truth About Standalone Communities

  1. 1. The hard truth about communities<br />Can Standalone, Customer-Facing Communities Succeed?<br />
  2. 2. Let’s build a community!<br />Social media experts told us we should build a community<br />Wikis!<br />Blogs!<br />Profiles!<br />Forums!<br />Ideas!<br />It will be so engaging!<br />We will be the Facebook of our Industry!<br /> Our competition will be jealous!<br />
  3. 3. But then reality strikes<br />
  4. 4. Most Community Sites Fail<br />Why Most Online Communities Fail<br />“60% of the online communities failed to gain traction as measured by the number of members”<br />– Wall Street Journal<br />Lure of “Bells and Whistles” results in over-spending on technology<br />Inexperienced or no community moderationteam<br />Challenge of measuring success of an online community<br />4<br />
  5. 5. Gartner’s Opinion<br />“.About 70 percent of the community typically fails to coalesce.”<br />“Furthermore, of the 30 percent of the communities that do emerge, many revolve around interactions that planners didn&apos;t envision, that don&apos;t provide business value and that may even be counterproductive”<br />http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=758914<br />
  6. 6. Community Site Lifecycle Challenge<br />Build a community<br />Develop critical mass of engaged users<br />Develop critical mass of useful content<br />Sustainability <br />Getting users to come back, increase engagement, keep it going<br />Make it valuable<br />How to keep the conversation relevant<br />How do you make UGC valuable for all your users<br />How does your main site benefit your community<br />Determine ROI<br />Awareness, activity, fans and followers don’t pay the bills<br />6<br />“Chicken and Egg“ problem<br />
  7. 7. Participation and Value<br />7<br />Traditional 1/9/90 Rule<br />90% <br />Majority of Customers don’t know community exists, how it works, can’t find it, or don’t have time.<br />9% <br />Enthusiasts<br />will find a forum, read answers and vote<br />1% <br />Experts<br />will blog, answer forum questions, drive community<br />
  8. 8. Community Destination Sites<br />Instead of “fishing where the fish are”, standalone communities try to be a destination site<br />Brands want to own the conversation. <br />How many brands can realistically have communities around each topic? How many cooking communities do we need?<br />How many profiles online do real users maintain? On how many sites are they active?<br />8<br />
  9. 9. What about the success stories on the press?<br />We have seen lots of community launch press<br />Companies don’t do publicity about their failed attempts<br />No one has paid attention at the graveyard of communities…<br />
  10. 10. Community Graveyard Categories<br />1/9/90<br />community fails to impact a significant percentage of site visitors<br />Stale<br />No recent activity, no engagement<br />Launch and Crash<br />Big launch, then no one comes back<br />Dead Communities<br />Community dies, no longer exists<br />Note: The intention of the next few slides is not to discredit or criticize any particular brand, but to illustrate a point and raise awareness about the difficulties of standalone communities.<br />
  11. 11. 1/9/90<br /> Only 0.33% of Allstate visitors ever visit the community<br />
  12. 12. 1/9/90<br /><ul><li> Only 3% of Priority Club visitors ever visit the community</li></ul>Data from compete.com<br />
  13. 13. 1/9/90<br /><ul><li> fans.wwe.com represent only 10% of total site traffic</li></ul>Data from compete.com<br />
  14. 14. 1/9/90<br />14<br />Less than 5% of Sears visitors go to MySears.com<br />
  15. 15. Stale Communities<br />
  16. 16. Stale communities<br />Traffic is very low<br />Featured groups have 1 or 2 members<br />
  17. 17. Stale Communities<br /><ul><li> Very few forums have recent activity
  18. 18. Remember this is one of the world’s leading brands hosting a community for the most popular sport in the world</li></li></ul><li>Stale Communities<br />No activity on site<br />Traffic is irrelevant<br />Questions and Discussions with no responses<br />Data from compete.com<br />
  19. 19. Low Engagement<br />MySears.com gets ¼ the Pages/visit of the commerce site<br />Data from compete.com<br />
  20. 20. Launch and Crash<br />
  21. 21. Launch and Crash<br />
  22. 22. Launch and Crash<br />
  23. 23. Dead communities<br />Featured community redirects to homepage (RIP)<br />
  24. 24. Dead Communities<br /><ul><li>http://wildspace.wild949.com/ No longer exists
  25. 25. http://zzone.z100.com/ No longer exists
  26. 26. http://hotspot.hot995.com/ no longer exists
  27. 27. http://connect.kdwb.com/ no longer exists
  28. 28. http://kissnation.1061kissfm.com/ no longer exists
  29. 29. http://wildspace.wild955.com/ no longer exists</li></li></ul><li>Can Communities Work?<br />YES!<br />
  30. 30. Intent-driven Community<br />“Communities succeed if they solve a need, share an interest/passion and/or connect me with people I care about.”<br />http://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/2009/05/31/ghost-town-brand-community/<br />
  31. 31. Where can Communities Succeed?<br />Connects me with people I care about<br />Facebook works because most of your and my friends are there — it solves the need to connect and stay up to date, thus carrying more weight as a “social resume.”<br />Facebook, LinkedIn, Google won – you can’t compete with them<br />Solves a real problem <br />Intent-based community<br />Post-Sales peer-support communities – forums mainly<br />“Dell support forums work because they allow asynchronous conversations to solve a technical problem for a frustrated computer user.”<br />
  32. 32. Keys to Intent-Driven Community<br />Contextually relevant community<br /><ul><li>Embedded into website experience
  33. 33. Relevant to visitor’s intent</li></ul>Create paths of continuous participation <br /><ul><li>Engagement drives value</li></ul>Everyone benefits from community<br /><ul><li>From experts to casual visitors</li></ul>Community must drive results<br /><ul><li>Strategy, Measurement and Analytics </li></li></ul><li>Contextually Relevant Social Media<br />Customers go to your site to get something done. <br />Social media should help them achieve their goals.<br />29<br />Right on the visitor’s path<br />Without having to visit a community site<br />
  34. 34. People go to your site to make decisions about your products and services<br />Sharing other customer’s Opinions, Knowledge and Experiences to help them buy from you<br />Experiences<br />Opinions<br />“I would highly recommend this mortgage company – superb process, excellent responsiveness, a pleasant experience.”<br />“When I think of Julia Childs, I always smile and giggle a little…she inspired an entire generation of young chefs.”<br />Knowledge<br />Q: “What lamp can I use to replace the 9004 for street glow appicatioos?”<br />A: “The ZX483922u Xenon Bulb can replace it”<br />
  35. 35. Create Paths of Continuous Participation<br />31<br />Approval e-mail invites customer to answer questions<br />2<br />5<br />1<br />3<br />Site offers additional opportunities to participate like sharing photos<br />Customer writes a review<br />Customer writes a story that references products<br />More customers attracted to the participation chain<br />4<br />Contextually relevant interactions foster engagement<br />
  36. 36. Emotional engagement (helping others, sharing, affinity, badges)<br />Deeper and more meaningful value exchange <br />83% of online shoppers would make more purchases if sites offer more interactive content<br />Participation creates a sense of community, fosters loyalty and advocacy<br />People who participate visit sites 9x more often and purchase 2x more often<br />Customers helping customers also result in fewer returns and fewer support calls<br />Create Paths of Continuous Participation<br />32<br />
  37. 37. Participation and Value for Every Customer<br />33<br />EVERY CUSTOMER BENEFITS MORE ENTHUSIASTS MORE EXPERTS<br />Majority of Users benefit from expertise and enthusiasm<br />Read reviews, opinions, stories and answers<br />Enthusiasts participate in the community<br />Comment on stories, rate content, share with friends<br />More people are enabled to share expertise<br />Answer questions, share stories, write reviews<br />MORE KNOWLEDGE AND MORE PASSION<br />INCREASE PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT<br />
  38. 38. Community that Drives Results<br />On Your Site<br />Increases Engagement<br />Can Help Every Single Customer<br />Proven Business Value<br />It’s called Social Commerce<br />
  39. 39. It works.<br />Proven increase in awareness, traffic and engagement but also conversions, SEO, revenue and average order value, reductions in returns, etc.<br />Shoppers who browsed &quot;Top Rated Products&quot; had a 59% higher conversion rate than the site average and spent 16% more per order than other browsers of products. <br />- Bass Pro Shops, June 2008<br />Consumers were willing to pay between 20 to 99% more for a 5-star rated product than for a 4-star rated product, depending on the product category. <br />-comScore/Kelsey, October 2007<br />Giving shoppers the ability to sort products within a category by customer rating led to a sales increase of 41%per unique visitor. - PETCO, June 2007<br />Customer Stories campaign drove13,000 new prospects for La-Z-Boy. -2009<br />With the use of customer Q&A, JC Whitney experienced a 23% decrease in product return rateson average. - JC Whitney, 2008<br />25% of search results for the world&apos;s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. <br />-Socialnomics, August 2009<br />Consumers who recalled seeing customer reviews on a Web site reported 9% higher customer satisfaction levels, were 9% more likely to make a purchase and 8% more likely to purchase the next time they came to that site. - ForeSee Results, January 2008<br />27% of users report a spending increase of 5-10%; almost 7% report a spending increase of 20%+ with reviews<br />- Razorfish &quot;Digital Consumer Behavior Study,&quot; October 2007<br />Products with 50+ reviews have a <br />65%lower return rate <br />- Bazaarvoice PETCO Case Study, 2007<br />35<br />
  40. 40. Tested, Proven, Real<br />The Proof Points<br />Case Studies<br />Industry Statistics<br />Lear more about Social Commerce<br />

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