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Social Strategy Series | Should We Invest in Community?

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10 things an organization needs to consider when asking itself if it should invest in community.

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Social Strategy Series | Should We Invest in Community?

  1. 1. #socialstrategy series | jeromepineau.com“SHOULD WE INVEST IN COMMUNITY?” an enterprise perspective
  2. 2. 1. darn good reason got a reason? communities are premised on shared purpose –and usually aligned along major pain points or interests. unlike channels such as Facebook or Twitter, they represent focused interest networks. if you don’t have any compelling pain points to solve or significant interests to build upon, you might want to rethink community to begin with.
  3. 3. 2. budget got a dime? contrary to popular belief, community platforms and supporting tools are not free. nor are the people you’ll need to build, bootstrap, monitor, moderate, manage, and measure them. enterprise-grade community platforms for large global logos can cost up to $250,000 per year and then some. better have clear objectives and a decent ROI proposition for the executives.
  4. 4. 3. buy-in will they all play? unless most of your business units can leverage your community -such as sales, support, HR, marketing, legal, events, PR, product and so on -it may not be cost effective. so don’t just sell your direct management on community, but also get buy-in from your peers in various lines of business. one of the positive outcomes from enterprise community is helping to break down internal silos on the way to becoming a genuine “social business”.
  5. 5. 4. success what’s success? community success metrics are highly dependent on –and should be aligned with -overall corporate business goals. they also depend on the type of community at play –is it mainly for support, for marketing, e-commerce, ideation? For all of the above? one good way to start is to think about both leading (operational) and lagging (outcomes) metrics. measure community’s contribution to top line, customer experience, innovation, churn, and cost reduction.
  6. 6. 5. yes, but… latest social network craze “we’re already on Twitter and Facebook” is a common pushback against owned community initiatives. but earned channels serve different purposes and cannot be controlled, tweaked, gated, and measured as closely as owned communities. communities are also way more stable than tomorrow’s latest and greatest public social network channel. the proper mix and orchestration of both earned and owned channels is key.
  7. 7. 6. advocates who loves ya baby? if you already have evangelists and advocates among your customers, then you already have one of the most critical ingredients of community building. if you don’t know whether or not you do, then community will help you identify them very quickly. that in itself is a priceless reward for any brand.
  8. 8. 7. monetization katching! communities are inherently monetizable when you realize that customers active in brand communities are more likely to: •spend more (*) •spend more often •be loyal •defend the brand during hard times •recruit more customers •narrow your consumption gap •help you produce and curate content •work on your behalf (*) Gallup business journal
  9. 9. 8. time & patience you can’t rush it communities, not unlike fine wines, take time to create, nurture, grow, and exploit. not all corporate cultures or business needs can support this fact. if your need is for quick, blitzkrieg solutions with immediate results, community investment might be unwise at this point in time.
  10. 10. 9. who’s done it right? this stuff works… very few major global organizations do nothave some form of owned digital community. this alone is telling. some of the greatest online communities live at SAP, Autodesk, HP, Dell, AMEX, Barclays, Cisco, GiffGaff, Nike, AT&T, and Best Buy to name a (very) few.
  11. 11. 10. the ultimate do you love customers? asking if you should invest in community is a bit like asking if you should invest in customers –both existing and potential. no company ever went under for investing in and loving its customers too much. the inverse is almost always true.