Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Successful Communities Start Here - Lithium Technologies


Published on

Key success factors in creating an online community for your company. Presentation delivered by Joe Cothrel, Vice President of Community Management Services at Lithium Technologies, on May 13, 2008 at the Community 2.0 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Published in: Business, Technology

Successful Communities Start Here - Lithium Technologies

  1. 1. Successful Communities Start Here Joe Cothrel, Vice President, Community Management Services, Lithium Technologies Community 2.0, Las Vegas, Nevada May 13, 2008
  2. 2. Lithium Technologies
  3. 3. Some of Lithium’s customers
  4. 4. What do I mean by “community”? <ul><li>Large, ongoing, user-driven </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By large I mean >5,000 target audience. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Created by a company for its customers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Otherwise known as an “enterprise community.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Including the following technologies, in this order: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everything else </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Do your numbers work? <ul><li>What scale make success most likely? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mid-hundreds and below </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mid-hundreds to mid-thousands </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mid-thousands and above </li></ul></ul><ul><li>90-9-1 and 30-10-10 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>90% will browse, 9% will participate, 1% will account for most content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Within a 30 day period, 10% of people who see an invitation will come, and 10% of those will post. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An average of 5-10 new posts per forum per day </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This tells users: “my question is likely to be answered,” and “I should come back regularly.” </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Why do companies create communities? <ul><li>To build loyalty and satisfaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer retention is 50% higher for community users than non-community users. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To reduce support costs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost per transaction in community is typically less than15% the cost of live interaction. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To increase sales </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community users spend 50% more than non-community users. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To gain insights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer issues or problems surface in the community days or weeks before they appear in other support channels. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Ten keys to success <ul><li>A business owner who oversees budget and sets direction. </li></ul><ul><li>A community manager who conducts planning and day-to-day decision-making. </li></ul><ul><li>A moderator who sets the tone, enforces rules, and helps users. </li></ul><ul><li>Defined roles for staff and users, and software that supports those roles. </li></ul><ul><li>A set of comprehensive user guidelines . </li></ul><ul><li>Well-defined procedures for when violations or other issues arise. </li></ul><ul><li>High visibility to potential users. </li></ul><ul><li>The proper structure and atmosphere to engage users. </li></ul><ul><li>A well-managed group of “ superusers .” </li></ul><ul><li>Strong measurement processes focused on business value. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Warning signs <ul><li>“ We want to do a pilot .” </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;We want to use this primarily as an acquisition tool .“ </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;You will have to register in order to see the community.“ </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;We need to keep this under the radar for the first few months.“ </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;We don't know who will be serving as our administrator/community manager .“ </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;We think networking is the primary reason people are going to use the community.“ </li></ul><ul><li>“ We want to start with 20 (or 200) forums .“ </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;We want people to pay to participate.“ </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;This is a marketing community , not a support community.“ </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;We are targeting the CXO level .“ </li></ul>
  9. 9. 1. Business Ownership Have a business owner who oversees budget and sets direction. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>Mission for the company is well-defined. </li></ul><ul><li>Mission for users is well-defined. </li></ul><ul><li>Business owner takes an interest in community success. </li></ul><ul><li>Business owner is in a logical place in the company relative to the community’s mission. </li></ul><ul><li>Mission and direction are reevaluated regularly to ensure they are still current and relevant. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>Community is a skunk works effort with little support or visibility. </li></ul><ul><li>Community is considered primarily a technology project. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Invitations
  11. 11. 2. Community Management Have a community manager who conducts planning and day-to-day decision-making. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>Community manager or administrator is clearly identified in the community. </li></ul><ul><li>Plans for the next 30, 90, or 180 days are known. </li></ul><ul><li>Decisions in the community are prompt and unambiguous. </li></ul><ul><li>Community roles and permissions are closely managed. </li></ul><ul><li>Community structure (forums, blogs, other features) changes as community grows. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>Community activities drift away from the mission. </li></ul><ul><li>Superusers become dissatisfied and leave. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Community Management at Lenovo
  13. 13. 3. Community Moderation Have a moderator who sets tone, enforces rules, and helps users. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>Discussions are productive and on-topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Comments have a predominantly positive tone. </li></ul><ul><li>Problems are detected rapidly and resolved or escalated. </li></ul><ul><li>Users have someone to turn to with questions about forum software. </li></ul><ul><li>Regular reports on community activity are produced. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>Discussions are largely negative and critical. </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial messages drown out genuine contributions. </li></ul><ul><li>Users don’t come back. </li></ul>
  14. 14. 4. Roles Define roles for staff and users, and configure software to support those roles. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>For company users, separate roles are defined for administrator, moderator, support specialist, subject matter expert. </li></ul><ul><li>For customers, appropriate ranks are defined to reward active users. </li></ul><ul><li>For a small number of active customers, a special role and permissions are provided as an incentive and recognition. </li></ul><ul><li>Eventually, users assume voluntary roles in keeping the community active and orderly. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>Some users lack permissions they need, others have more than they need. </li></ul><ul><li>Users confused about role titles and what they mean. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Lithium Permissions System
  16. 16. 5. Comprehensive Guidelines Create a comprehensive set of user guidelines and terms and conditions. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>Community mission is plainly spelled out for users. </li></ul><ul><li>Standard community prohibitions are addressed (unlawful activity, copyright infringement, harassment of users, site hacking or interference). </li></ul><ul><li>Consequences of violations are spelled out, including suspension of community privileges. </li></ul><ul><li>Advice is sought from Legal, Communications, or other departments when guidelines are developed. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>User misbehavior prevails. </li></ul><ul><li>Proper expectations have not been set, so users are dissatisfied. </li></ul>
  17. 17. 6. Procedures Define rules for action when violations or other issues arise. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>Standard warning messages are drafted for the 80% of problems that are repetitive in nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Separate steps are defined depending on the severity of the violation. </li></ul><ul><li>Steps include removing post, notifying user, and documenting action. </li></ul><ul><li>Internal notifications (management, legal, security) are also specified. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>Problems linger while actions are being decided. </li></ul><ul><li>Users complain that rules are applied inconsistently. </li></ul><ul><li>Moderator time is wasted. </li></ul>
  18. 18. 7. Visibility and Promotion Make community visible to potential users. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>Link is main navigation bar. </li></ul><ul><li>Link is on the main support page. </li></ul><ul><li>Access from the home page. </li></ul><ul><li>Email newsletters feature pointers and articles to community. </li></ul><ul><li>Efforts have been made to create awareness inside the company. </li></ul><ul><li>Community content or link is on product pages or in products. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>Community doesn’t share company branding. </li></ul><ul><li>Few or no links from the main web site. </li></ul>
  19. 19. myFICO
  20. 20. 8. Structure and Atmosphere Create the proper structure and atmosphere to engage users. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>The number of features and forums is appropriate to the size of the user base. </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities are provided for users to give suggestions and feedback. </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities are provided for users to have off-topic discussions. </li></ul><ul><li>Support is available to users when they get stuck or need advice. </li></ul><ul><li>Company users receive guidance and support as well. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>“ Wide-open front door, wide-open back door” syndrome. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Symantec
  22. 22. 9. Managing “Superusers” Manage “superusers” differently from other users. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>Reputation system rewards active participation over passive participation. </li></ul><ul><li>Reputation system rewards quality as well as quantity. </li></ul><ul><li>Superusers receive regular communication from company and community manager. </li></ul><ul><li>Special programs or activities are developed that are accessible only to superusers. </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards are offered when appropriate. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>User ask questions but they don’t get answered. </li></ul><ul><li>Most active users are the loudest critics. </li></ul>
  23. 23. 10. Measuring Business Value Focus measurement on business value. Attributes of High Performance + <ul><li>Link community IDs to customer database IDs so that the value of community users can be tracked. </li></ul><ul><li>Include community in regular customer satisfaction surveys. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide both quantitative and qualitative information in weekly reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide access to weekly reports inside the company on an opt-in basis. </li></ul>Attributes of Low Performance - <ul><li>Community and web metrics are shared with little context or explanation. </li></ul><ul><li>No attempt is made to quantify business value. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Emerging Trends <ul><li>Integration of community with enterprise processes </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of community with enterprise systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Better analysis and reporting of insights from community. </li></ul><ul><li>Formal programs for engaging the social media sphere around your community. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Thanks! Joe Cothrel VP Community Management Services Lithium Technologies [email_address]