Motoraddicts - niche online social networking for passionates


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Covers the rationale behind the project and some lessons from the first year of operation; presented at the Blogs and Social Media Forum, London, 2007.

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Motoraddicts - niche online social networking for passionates

  1. 1. Community Building For Passionates Some Lessons from a Web 2.0 Community Marketing Project Lee Bryant, June 2007,
  2. 2. Passion + need --> use cases • Tap into human need • Amplify passion • Start with real use cases
  3. 3. The Idea • Don’t market passionates, let them tell you what they want • Experiment in Social Networking • Create the ‘best petrolhead community website’ • Content focussed: the (user’s) car is the star • Allow members to share their passion, pictures and video
  4. 4. What does the site do ? BLOGS
  5. 5. What does the site do ? COMMENT & DISCUSSION
  6. 6. What does the site do ? GROUPS
  7. 7. Who was Behind the Build? Castrol PCO HQ Headshift Swindon, UK London, UK Castrol Project Manager Istanbul, Turkey BP Tech Marketing New Jersey, USA Important PCO Castrol Marketing Sydney, Aust Important PCO New Jersey, USA Cape Town, SA
  8. 8. Working Together The Motoraddicts project wiki allowed an international team to: • Participate in discussions and research • Collaborate and develop ideas and documents • Comment on designs and early concepts • Monitor development issues as they are raised • Involve a wide and diverse group in decision making • Overcome time differences
  9. 9. The Road to Launch - 1. Market Research Comprehensive market research was undertaken with target group including : • Ethnographic Research • Mood boards • Interviews • Concept tests
  10. 10. The Road to Launch - 2. Develop Concepts • Defined technical features • Created an independent site identity that worked • Built v1 (Beta) • Tested by conventional usability labs in both US/UK
  11. 11. The Road to Launch - 3. Beta Test • Early champions (mix of Castrol employees and external PCO Passionates) started an ‘Insiders’ blog to discuss concepts and ideas • Group shown Beta Version for feedback • Provided access to Beta Version for 2 months in order to populate with relevant content
  12. 12. First Iterations - Version 1.1 Shaping for the Audience: • Community Over Branding • Content over Look and Feel
  13. 13. First Iterations - Version 1.2 • Increase Visual Representation of Conversational Activity • Improve External Feeds / Integration
  14. 14. Motoraddicts Today - Version 1.3 • Design Dramatisation • Time for Video • Hosting Groups from the Real World : Car Clubs • Introduce Brand Ambassadors to the Passionates
  15. 15. Motoraddicts Today and Tomorrow Continue with constant monitoring and ruthless pruning - if it is not loved, it goes • Foster Engagement • Increase Richness and Reach • Motoraddicts as a Platform • Tailrank and ‘Digg-like’ features • Other public social features (e.g. wiki) • Embracing Innovation: The World of Widgets
  16. 16. Key Issues: Moderation • Much debate on legal and brand issues • What do you do when the community’s values are not in line with your brand values? • We have gone for a very un-branded approach • Light touch moderation driven by community members, supported by a ‘daily sweep’ by contracted moderation company as a safety net
  17. 17. Key Issues: Content • Constant balancing act between aspirational ‘editorial’ content and user content • Editorial partners (Haymarket) are very close to the ‘scene’ - encouraged to behave as content ambassadors and set topics and tone • Challenge of keeping content on topic and avoid super users dominating at the expense of others
  18. 18. Key Issues: Group Culture
  19. 19. Key Issues: Dealing with Passionate Super Users Number of photos > = 1 EXC Mr X (2000) Mr X • Member X dominated site - over 50% of user content • Balancing benefits of regular contribution with community domination • Introduced ‘Carotica’ to site which has become widespread • Has now left the community
  20. 20. Key Issues: Sensitive user issues • Member Y insisted profile include video of the 9/11 terrorist attack in Manhattan and also the US Flag • Advised that we would prefer him to contribute content that reflected aims of site - cars • Balance between moderation cost and ensuring integrity and relevance of user community
  21. 21. Key Issues: Design Challenges • Balance between a finished and unfinished design • Finished enough to attract users • Sufficiently unpolished to encourage amateur content contribution • Lessons learnt from Myspace et al
  22. 22. Key Issues: from Virtual to Real World and back again Motoraddicts has landed in the real world... • Motoraddicts stalls at key events - member sign up, speak to expert contributors • Branding on sponsored cars • Recruitment of brand ambassadors - Funk Master Flex, Top Drivers And is widening its virtual world net... • Soon to appear in a video game near you
  23. 23. Key Issues: Performance • Achieved targets set for 2006; on course for 2007 • BUT ... site has not reached critical mass yet, so we need to accelerate its tipping point to achieve real success • Success is not just about numbers, but also lessons learned and experience of this new way of working
  24. 24. Learnings • Social networking with passionates is more desirable than marketing to passionates • Social tools can help grow a project outwards in concentric circles from its initial core group • Community is hard to build and easy to break • Balancing active and passive user groups is tricky • There is still a role for editorial and facilitation • Rapid iteration is better than perfect concepts • If it doubt, let the users decide
  25. 25. Thanks For Listening! For more information, please contact us here: Many thanks to the following Flickr photos made available under a Creative Commons license: Regardless of the CC license, if any photographer objects to the inclusion of their material then we shall happily remove it