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Online Communities: How brands are edging their way into the heart of the conversation


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Social network numbers are exploding. It’s conservatively estimated there exists over 2,500 social networks globally. Over a billion people are active in tens of millions of communities and groups across many social networks. Activity and interest is high and the opportunity for brands to be part of this social space is possible through communities and groups. There are challenges however.

This presentation looks specifically at the realities surrounding communities and groups online. How communities and groups have evolved, the opportunities and challenges facing brands and their agencies and how becoming part of the conversation beyond the banner ad will be key themes.

Published in: Education
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Online Communities: How brands are edging their way into the heart of the conversation

  1. 1. Be heard. The heart of the conversation: challenges brands face edging their way into this sacred space
  2. 2. Take off your marketing, PR, advertising, sales, market research… hat for a moment Source:
  3. 3. What do we mean by online communities?
  4. 4. people Source:
  5. 5. interest Source:
  6. 6. purpose Source:
  7. 7. technology
  8. 8. 8 Community Types    Corporate Voice Community    User‐Generated Content/ Micro Site Campaign    Enthusiasts Community    Associa>ons/ Subscribers Community    Loyalty Community    Innova>on Community    Peer Support Community    Event Community  Source: Awareness
  9. 9. Why are online communities interesting to brands?
  10. 10. That’s where  people are  Reason#1 hanging out 
  11. 11. People are  sharing what  Reason#2 is important  to them 
  12. 12. People are  listening to  Reason#3 what others  are saying 
  13. 13. People expect  brands to  Reason#4 listen, learn &  contribute 
  14. 14. First mover  advantage  Reason#5
  15. 15. And influence off course! 
  16. 16. Brands be aware 
  17. 17. Source:
  18. 18. It’s not a place where you win  awards for beau>ful  adver>sements 
  19. 19. .. but rather to build social capital Source:
  20. 20. You win the hearts and minds  of people based on how well  you listen, contribute and react 
  21. 21. Snapshot of Market    1,700,000,000 people online    500+ million people in social networks    Over 2,000 social networking plaYorms    Over 80 million online communi>es    US$60 billion is spent online to reach consumers    80% of companies are using LinkedIn as their primary tool  to find employees 
  22. 22. Genuine  Metrics used to measure the  success of social media ini>a>ves  according to B2B and B2C  companies in North America  (September 2009)  
  23. 23. Time spent in social networks is  increasing 150% year‐on‐year 
  24. 24. 4.4% 27.8% +
  25. 25. Decrease in search. Increase in  community. 
  26. 26. Average age across social networks 
  27. 27. For the next 2 hours, we’ll explore…    Evolu>on of online communi>es    Approaches brands have taken to engage with online  communi>es    Opportuni>es and challenges brands face when engaging  with online communi>es    Building an engagement campaign 
  28. 28. Evolution of online communities   Adapted from presentation given by Trebor Scholz | Department of Media Study
  29. 29. 1970’s-80’s: CompuServe CompuServe allowed members to share files and access news and events. But it also offered something few had ever experienced – true interaction. Those forums proved tremendously popular and paved the way for the modern iterations we know today.
  30. 30. 1974: Universities + Governments
  31. 31. 1978: Crisis Support
  32. 32. 1980’s: Health
  33. 33. 1987: Gaming
  34. 34. 1980’s-90’s: BBS BBSes were often run by hobbyists who carefully nurtured the social aspects and interest-specific nature of their projects – which, more often than not in those early days of computers, was technology-related.
  35. 35. 1995: Culture, Politics & Tactics
  36. 36. 1990’s: Social Networks AOL. Yahoo. Classmates. Friendster. Six Degrees. Asian Ave. Blackplanet. MiGente.
  37. 37. 2000’s: Social Networks Friendster, LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook: The Biz Grows Up
  38. 38. Approaches brands have taken
  39. 39. This is how not to do it
  40. 40. This is how you want to do it
  41. 41. Nike encourages the people of Spain to  prank their friends and sign up to the  Nike+ running community.  Ring, Ring, Run, Run!
  42. 42. Some key success factors
  43. 43. In online communi>es it is the content that  maeers most.   People talk to and with each other not  because they know each other or are already  connected. Rather, because they share a  similar interest, ques>on, concern, ambi>on,  query, challenge or other issue.   People engage with each other on content  and not on connec>ons. You can meet and  share ideas with strangers because you are  both interested in the subject. 
  44. 44. 10 things your grandmother can teach you about social media By Eric Fulwiler from   Social Media Today 
  45. 45. Mind your manners   Social media is s>ll social. Even though we are interac>ng  in a virtual space, the same tradi>onal social rules, laws,  and faux pas s>ll apply. If you act like a jerk, don’t expect  many friends. 
  46. 46. Tuck in your shirt   How you present yourself is just as important in the  virtual world as it is in the real world. Make sure you are  always aware of how you appear to others. 
  47. 47. Send a thank you card   People s>ll appreciate being appreciated. It really doesn’t  take much to convert an acquaintance to a friend, which  will offer exponen>ally more value.   A simple thank you, or any genuinely human interac>on  of gra>tude goes a long way towards this goal. 
  48. 48. Keep your elbows off the table   Ac>ng respecYully in front of others proves that you value  them, which will usually make them value you more. And  in social media, it’s all about value.  
  49. 49. Turn your music down   Don’t contribute to the noise.   Listen to whatever you want in your own personal space,  but when your personal preferences start to become a  distrac>on to others, people will tune you out. 
  50. 50. Finish what you started   Any way you look at it, engagement is a commitment.  When you make an effort to become part of a community,  it’s not only up to you when or how olen you interact  with other members.   If you put yourself out there as a friend, be prepared to be  there when people reach out to you. 
  51. 51. Finish your vegetables   There are some aspects of social media that aren’t sexy.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important to your  growth and health.   Make sure you are keeping up with the essen>als, and not  just chasing that buzz you get from a social sugar high. 
  52. 52. Whatever happened to a good old  fashioned…?   Some>mes all these new gadgets and thingamabobs  aren’t as important or effec>ve as we make them out to  be. Some>mes a good old fashioned email, phone call, or  even in person “get‐together” can accomplish things that  social media can’t. 
  53. 53. A man is only as good as his word.   The currency of social media is trust (or social capital).  And if people can’t trust you, you have no value to them.  
  54. 54. Think twice before you speak.   You can always say something, but you can never take it  back. Especially in social media where everything you say  can be heard by anyone, forever, there are just too many  “finites” to not reconsider everything you say before you  say it. 
  55. 55. Interactive workshop
  56. 56. What are all the  interac>ve  elements a brand  Question 1 could engage  around within an  online community? 
  57. 57. Engagement points  Discussion forum  Video  Photo  Blog  Event – online/  Newsleeer/ email  Ac>vity feed/ wall  Survey/ poll  off‐line  News  General info  Audio  Games  RSS  Links  Admins  Banner ad 
  58. 58. Feeders of content  Community  Community  Community  Social network  manager/admin  member  sponsor/ partner  Community  Content  embeds content  Google adwords  Banner adnetwork  adnetwork  stream 
  59. 59. Top 3 resources   Cream Global   PR Daily newsletter   The Moderator Community
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  61. 61.
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  63. 63. @mariasipka    Let’s stay in touch…