The Stages of Online Community

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The three stages of online community maturity and member engagement roadmap.

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The Stages of Online Community

  1. 1. L E A D E R NETWORKS Copyright © 2014 Leader Networks, LLC Proprietary & Confidential Early Stage Mid-stage Established/Thriving Developing best practices and business value • Clear business case • Value proposition validated with potential members • Editorial process established • Clear governance and leadership • Lacks business case • Under resourced, lacking in content • Platform technology drives offering • Too much control of message • Losing sight of membership • Activity trumps quality • No content creation process/stale information • Size eclipses personal experience • Failure to evolve, inflexible, bureaucratic • Doesn't deliver demonstrative value to the business Milestones Risks 1 Growth and engagement • Members contribute actively • Target audience reached • Business value tracked and delivering • Scalable processes in place Community scales, insights inform LOB, value pervades organization • Acknowledged business value, meaningful metrics • Strong executive sponsorship • Operational alignment Early stage: <9 month since launch. The majority of member activities online are inspired/cajoled by Community staff. More than 80% of content is Institutional content (IC). Mid stage: 1 -1.5 years if slow member acquisition, or 6 months to 1 year if rapid adoption. More than 60% of content is institutional (IC). Some activity is user driven but frequently spawned by sponsoring organization. Established: Approximately 2 years old + PLUS an active user base, PLUS a core member-leadership team. <20% of members are engaged on a quarterly basis. Balanced UGC and IC. Size and maturity not correlated. Stages of Online Community Development
  2. 2. L E A D E R NETWORKS Copyright © 2014 Leader Networks, LLC Proprietary & Confidential Early Stage Mid-stage Established/Thriving Directed Search for Information • Focus on “Now” • Solve Problems • Find Expertise “Membership” and Corollary Value • Expanded points of engagement • Returning and active members • Members contribute to content co-creation • Best practices evident Operational Risks • Inconsistent, uneven delivery • Weak, thin content • Lack of resources starves transition • Platform and available metrics drive activity Integrated Customer Experience • Recognition of Experts • Community has Influence • Future oriented information • Member voice impacts future direction Expectations Risks • Marketing overrides community mission • Company can’t let go • Social technology advancements • Stuck in present Member Experience Risks 2 Execution Risks • Hard to find answers • Credibility of advice questioned • Unable to solve the problems • Slow response to systematic issues Member Experience Roadmap For Online Community
  3. 3. L E A D E R NETWORKS Copyright © 2014 Leader Networks, LLC Proprietary & Confidential About Leader Networks Leader Networks is a strategic research and consulting firm that helps clients develop social business strategies and create B2B online communities. Leveraging our extensive research agenda, applied domain expertise and hands-on experience, we work with companies to share best practices, create social strategies, develop sustainable business models, and shape user engagement in ways that will extend their operating model by launching and growing online communities, digital marketing and social business initiatives. 3

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