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The Evolution of Online Communities:<br />From Knowledge Sharing to Personal Brand Building<br />George Krautzel, Co-Found...
Table of Contents:<br />Section 1: Introduction <br />Section	2: Evolution of Online Communities <br />Section	3: How Prof...
Section 1:<br />Introduction <br />
Who is Toolbox.com?<br /><ul><li>Mission
Provide an online platform that enables professionals to easily share knowledge with their peers
Existing Communities
IT (11 years), HR (<1 yr), and Finance (<1 yr)
More than 3.0 million unique monthly visitors and 1.6 million registered members
Over 2.6 million pages of user-generated content
Advertising Services
More than 800 advertising partners, including: IBM, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, Dell</li></ul>Toolbox.com Growth – Registered M...
Toolbox.com in the Media Space<br />User-Generated<br /><ul><li>  Content is communication, specific appeal
  2-way conversations between friends
  Personal experiences, socially driven
  Content is communication, specific appeal
  2-way conversations between peers
  Personal experiences, best practices</li></ul>Editorial<br /><ul><li>  Content is carefully vetted, broad appeal
  1-way conversation from experts to readers
  News, consumer interests, and trends
Content is carefully vetted, broad appeal
  1-way conversation from experts to readers
  News, case studies, best practices</li></ul>Consumer<br />Business<br />
Section 2:<br />Evolution of Online Communities <br />
Community is Not a New Concept<br />
Usenet <br />Strengths<br /><ul><li>One of the first computer network communications systems (1980)
Precursor of discussion boards, peer-to-peer networking
Organized and categorized for easy knowledge sharing
Significant influence on online culture (coined “spam”, “FAQ”, etc.)</li></ul>Gaps <br /><ul><li>Not moderated
Short binary retention time (although now archived as Google Groups)
No registration, anonymous participation = no brand building</li></li></ul><li>AOL <br />Strengths<br /><ul><li>Made onlin...
Offered a graphical user interface (GUI) instead of command lines
Pioneered the chat room concept
Emphasis on communication with other members as value proposition </li></ul>Gaps <br /><ul><li>Proprietary software/servic...
Repositioned as content provider instead of a community (lost focus)</li></li></ul><li>Facebook<br />Strengths<br /><ul><l...
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George Krautzel: The Evolution of Online Communities

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George Krautzel: The Evolution of Online Communities

  1. 1. The Evolution of Online Communities:<br />From Knowledge Sharing to Personal Brand Building<br />George Krautzel, Co-Founder and President, Toolbox.com<br />OfficeArrow, LLC. 2009. <br />
  2. 2. Table of Contents:<br />Section 1: Introduction <br />Section 2: Evolution of Online Communities <br />Section 3: How Professionals Are Using B2B Online Communities<br />Section 4: Personal Branding in B2B Online Communities<br />Section 5: Why Vendors Should Start Engaging Now in Online Communities<br />Section 6: Q&A<br />
  3. 3. Section 1:<br />Introduction <br />
  4. 4. Who is Toolbox.com?<br /><ul><li>Mission
  5. 5. Provide an online platform that enables professionals to easily share knowledge with their peers
  6. 6. Existing Communities
  7. 7. IT (11 years), HR (<1 yr), and Finance (<1 yr)
  8. 8. More than 3.0 million unique monthly visitors and 1.6 million registered members
  9. 9. Over 2.6 million pages of user-generated content
  10. 10. Advertising Services
  11. 11. More than 800 advertising partners, including: IBM, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, Dell</li></ul>Toolbox.com Growth – Registered Members<br />Q3 2009<br />1,659<br />
  12. 12. Toolbox.com in the Media Space<br />User-Generated<br /><ul><li> Content is communication, specific appeal
  13. 13. 2-way conversations between friends
  14. 14. Personal experiences, socially driven
  15. 15. Content is communication, specific appeal
  16. 16. 2-way conversations between peers
  17. 17. Personal experiences, best practices</li></ul>Editorial<br /><ul><li> Content is carefully vetted, broad appeal
  18. 18. 1-way conversation from experts to readers
  19. 19. News, consumer interests, and trends
  20. 20. Content is carefully vetted, broad appeal
  21. 21. 1-way conversation from experts to readers
  22. 22. News, case studies, best practices</li></ul>Consumer<br />Business<br />
  23. 23. Section 2:<br />Evolution of Online Communities <br />
  24. 24. Community is Not a New Concept<br />
  25. 25. Usenet <br />Strengths<br /><ul><li>One of the first computer network communications systems (1980)
  26. 26. Precursor of discussion boards, peer-to-peer networking
  27. 27. Organized and categorized for easy knowledge sharing
  28. 28. Significant influence on online culture (coined “spam”, “FAQ”, etc.)</li></ul>Gaps <br /><ul><li>Not moderated
  29. 29. Short binary retention time (although now archived as Google Groups)
  30. 30. No registration, anonymous participation = no brand building</li></li></ul><li>AOL <br />Strengths<br /><ul><li>Made online service available to the masses (30 million users at peak)
  31. 31. Offered a graphical user interface (GUI) instead of command lines
  32. 32. Pioneered the chat room concept
  33. 33. Emphasis on communication with other members as value proposition </li></ul>Gaps <br /><ul><li>Proprietary software/service needed to gain access (“walled garden”)
  34. 34. Repositioned as content provider instead of a community (lost focus)</li></li></ul><li>Facebook<br />Strengths<br /><ul><li>Dominant reach- 250 million active members
  35. 35. Well designed to create member engagement
  36. 36. Wall/newsfeed functionality highlights activity of connections
  37. 37. Various applications for sharing/collaboration
  38. 38. Ability to leverage for B2B and B2C with Facebook Fan Pages</li></li></ul><li>Twitter<br />Strengths<br /><ul><li>Simple communication vehicle – “What are you doing” in 140 characters
  39. 39. Easy way to stay current on news and trends in your areas of interest
  40. 40. Potential to connect with and influence the influencers
  41. 41. Fluid process for “following” and “unfollowing” connections</li></li></ul><li>Section 3:<br />How Professionals Are Using B2B Online Communities<br />
  42. 42. Tracking Social Media Consumption Among Professionals<br /><ul><li>Trend: consistent increase in social media consumption, up to 4.72 hours per week in June 2009
  43. 43. Results from the Toolbox.com/PJA Social Media Index Survey of 3,000+ IT pros in each of the four waves</li></ul>Source: Toolbox.com/PJA IT Social Media Index, Wave 4, June 2009<br />
  44. 44. How and Why Professionals Use Online Communities<br /><ul><li>Increase productivity and efficiency through knowledge sharing
  45. 45. Manage careers
  46. 46. Stay current
  47. 47. Solve problems faster
  48. 48. Research vendors
  49. 49. Make better decisions
  50. 50. Tap into tools for peer collaboration
  51. 51. Personal networks
  52. 52. Blogs
  53. 53. Discussion groups
  54. 54. Wikis</li></ul>Cost-effective, timely, and better solutions<br />Member question<br />Community feedback<br />
  55. 55. Solving Problems – Discussion Group Example<br />
  56. 56. Section 4:<br />Personal Branding in B2B Online Communities <br />
  57. 57. Managing Your Personal Brand<br /><ul><li>Personal branding is “your promise to the marketplace and the world”
  58. 58. Tom Peters, best selling author on business management
  59. 59. According to a recent survey by ExecuNet, the average tenure of an executive with the same company has slipped to 2.8 years
  60. 60. Loyalty to “You” does not have to be in conflict with loyalty to your company
  61. 61. In today’s business environment, proactive career management through active shaping of your personal brand is essential</li></li></ul><li>The Permanence of Participation in Communities<br /><ul><li>“What happens in Vegas, stays on Google”
  62. 62. Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford Motors
  63. 63. While this quote has a negative connotation, the same understanding also creates opportunity
  64. 64. Professionals can leverage this permanence to support their personal brand management through active networking and participation</li></li></ul><li>Reputation Management - Creating Value for Individuals and the Community<br /><ul><li>A clear, logical reputation management system can be a tide that lifts all ships in a professional community
  65. 65. For individuals
  66. 66. Answers “what’s in it for me” and provides a foundation for personal brand management
  67. 67. Increases likelihood of responses to inquiries
  68. 68. Produces the opportunity to leverage the community to vet answers
  69. 69. For the community
  70. 70. Provides incentive for transparency
  71. 71. Increases the quality of contribution</li></li></ul><li>Reputation Management Key Ingredients – Ratings<br />Example: Digg<br />Ratings Systems<br /><ul><li>Easy to use voting system
  72. 72. Community assesses value
  73. 73. Highest rated posts receive the most visibility</li></ul>Ratings Systems in a B2B Community<br /><ul><li>Helps determine the “best” solution to an issue
  74. 74. Provides a quick input to judge the competency of the poster</li></li></ul><li>Reputation Management Key Ingredients – Achievements<br />Example: eBay<br />Achievements Systems<br /><ul><li>Powerful means of rewarding participation
  75. 75. Can be based on quality, quantity, response time, etc.
  76. 76. Feeds the human need of “Everyone wants a gold star”</li></ul>Achievements Systems in a B2B Community<br /><ul><li>Creates a carrot for greater engagement and higher quality
  77. 77. Provides a system to identify high value contributors</li></li></ul><li>Reputation Management Key Ingredients - Profiles<br />Example: Toolbox.com<br />Achievements: <br />Provides a systematic way to recognize high valued contributors, whether it is based on volume, quality, or response time.<br />Participation:<br />Shows contribution from a user that has taken place within the Toolbox.com community.<br />Capability: <br />Online résumé to detail relevant experience, accomplishments, interests, and values. <br />Connections:<br />Lists the community members who are part of a user’s network.<br />
  78. 78. Benefits of Active Participation – <br />Example: Nic Harvard<br />“By participating in an active community, I can benchmark my skills and understand my knowledge gaps. By doing so, I can plan my career path, better position myself for new appointments, and/or understand the greatest value-add ability to a current employer.  At the very least, it allows anyone, no matter where they are in their career, to know what they don’t know.”<br />
  79. 79. Progressing Reputation to Commerce – <br />Example: Ron Fisher<br /><ul><li>Founder of Profiling Solutions, an Atlanta-based company
  80. 80. Transitioned from a consumer of Toolbox.com to a contributor to enhance brand
  81. 81. Benefits of participation:
  82. 82. Builds brand awareness
  83. 83. Positions company as having a deep pool of knowledge
  84. 84. Contributes to top line growth – 20-25% of annual new customer acquisitions come from the community</li></li></ul><li>Section 5:<br />Why Vendors Should Start Engaging Now in Online Communities<br />
  85. 85. Universal Truth in Marketing<br /><ul><li>“Advertising dollars always follow the audience”
  86. 86. Scott Karp, CEO of Publish2, Inc., and various sage marketers</li></li></ul><li>Attitudes About Vendor Participation in Online Communities<br /><ul><li>More than 76% of community members believe it is important that vendors listen to their audience and participate in conversations
  87. 87. Results from the Toolbox.com/PJA Social Media Index Survey of 3,000+ IT pros in each of the four waves</li></ul>Which of the following statements best reflects your attitude about vendor participation in online communities? <br />Source: Toolbox.com/PJA IT Social Media Index, Wave 4, June 2009<br />
  88. 88. The Evolution of Online Marketing<br />Relationship<br />Direct Results<br /><ul><li>Value: Web as a relationship management platform
  89. 89. Primary Goals: Engaging prospects and customers outside of their Web site
  90. 90. Secondary Goals: Lead generation, drive traffic, thought leadership and branding
  91. 91. Measurements: Cost of sales, customer retention, brand penetration and measurements from direct results stage
  92. 92. Marketing Tactics:
  93. 93. Vendor communities
  94. 94. Two-way ads
  95. 95. Messaging connections using trigger marketing
  96. 96. Successful tactics from direct results stage</li></ul>Experimentation<br /><ul><li>Value: Web as a direct results platform
  97. 97. Primary Goals: Drive traffic and lead generation
  98. 98. Secondary Goals: Thought leadership and branding
  99. 99. Measurements: CPL, CPC, brand measurements confirmed through surveys
  100. 100. Marketing Tactics:
  101. 101. Search ads
  102. 102. Lead generation – white papers, webcasts
  103. 103. Branding - IMUs, larger units, microsites
  104. 104. E-mail – list rentals
  105. 105. Value: Web as a promotional vehicle
  106. 106. Primary Goals: Trial a new media concept, gain eyeballs, build brand and drive awareness
  107. 107. Measurements: Cost per impression
  108. 108. Marketing Tactics:
  109. 109. Branding – buttons, banners
  110. 110. E-mail – newsletters, list rentals</li></ul>2004-2009<br /> 2010-2015<br />1996-2003<br />
  111. 111. Impact = Site visits/leads<br />Effort = Funding<br />Marketing ROI – Traditional Campaigns<br />Traditional Campaigns<br />With traditional campaigns there is a direct relationship between funding and results – once a campaign is over, that activity usually ceases (landing page visits, etc.).<br />VALUE<br />TIME<br />Source: Pauline Ores, IBM<br />
  112. 112. Impact = Relevance and engagement<br />Effort = Funding<br />Marketing ROI – Online Community Campaigns<br />Social Media Impact<br />Social media marketing requires continuous, steady investment to build and manage the network, with eventual value created as the network grows and becomes self-sustaining.<br />VALUE<br />Marketing through an online community allows advertisers to quickly engage and make an impact with their target audiences.<br />TIME<br />Source: Pauline Ores, IBM<br />
  113. 113. Creating a Beachhead Within Active Communities<br />About Section: <br />Provides an overview of the vendor, as well as links to allow community members to quickly connect with or contact the vendor.<br />Connections:<br />Lists the community members who have expressed their interest in engaging and staying current by creating a connection with the vendor.<br />Vendor Assets: <br />Prominently displays the vendor’s information assets, including white papers, webcasts, product demos, news, PR, and more. <br />Participation:<br />Shows related postings by the vendor within the Toolbox.com community.<br />
  114. 114. To Start, Devise a SMART Strategy<br /><ul><li>Do not start without a basic strategy, execution should come second
  115. 115. Test, listen, engage, and learn
  116. 116. Like personal brands, in communities your company’s brand is being formed with or without your participation — actively shape it</li></li></ul><li>Section 6:<br />Q&A<br />
  117. 117. Contact Information <br />George Krautzel<br />Toolbox.com Co-Founder and President<br /><ul><li>My profile on Toolbox.com: http://it.toolbox.com/people/george_krautzel
  118. 118. My profile on Twitter: </li></ul>http://twitter.com/georgekrautzel<br />

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