Online community management has (finally) risen to the rank of a being a respected and understood profession. Practitioners now have official titles, proper job descriptions, and sometimes even a bit of budget to allocate. And, due to that well-earned honor, we carry a recognized responsibility to be the voice of the customer, partner or employee for the organization. As the champions of human interaction, enabling a vibrant exchange of ideas and shepherding member-created insights to the forefront of the business so they can be acted on in tangible ways is an essential part of the role. And it doesn’t stop here. Due to the elevation of the profession, community managers are experiencing unprecedented levels of visibility within the organization.
Archives for 2013
Does your IT and Marketing team collaborate on social business projects? Should they? What would happen if they did? What is the impact of IT and Marketing collaboration due to social business? These are the questions that Oracle, Leader Networks and Social Media Today examined in a recent research report entitled Socially Driven Collaboration that explores how each of these groups perceives the opportunity for increased collaboration as their organizations evolve towards becoming socially enabled enterprises. It is rather sizable mixed methods study of 925 Marketing and IT leaders from over 500 organizations around the world from over 20 industries and 52 countries and includes in-depth interviews with Paul Gillin, Shell, Chubb & Son and Whole Foods. While the study report won’t be available for download until next month, I wanted to share some of the highlights and the opportunity to listen to a webinar.
True online community successes are cause for both celebration and examination. For that reason, it is with great pleasure that I am focusing this month’s blog on outstanding case studies and interviews with the best of the best. My hope is that through these examples, ideas, and best practices, online community leaders can gain actionable inspiration. Today we have with us Nick Howe, Vice President of Learning and Collaboration at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).
Nick and his team recently launched HDS’ first global online community for customers, partners and developers and it is causing quite a stir due to its’ innovative approach to collaboration. The HDS online community has already been widely recognized by the media and a candidate for a number of industry awards in less than 6 month’s time post-launch. (Disclosure – HDS is a client). However, magic didn’t happen overnight, as many months of strategic planning and development were dedicated to the formation of this online community. It is likely that the online community’s solid foundation may be one of the main reasons why it is experiencing such rapid and ongoing success.
What happens behind the scenes of major B2B online communities? How do traditional businesses like manufacturing use online community to advance? As part of our ongoing series of interviews with outstanding B2B online community leadership, we spoke with Jennifer Mitchell, the Lead, Community & Social Business Center of Excellence at Analog Devices, Inc.
Analog Devices, Inc., (ADI: NASDQ), is an American, multinational semiconductor company specializing in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts. Their revenues top $2.6B.
Just last week, EngineerZone won not one but two premier awards for B2B online community. EngineerZone was awarded the winning entry for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Award in the category of Social Relationship, Business to Business AND The Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) 2013 Commendation of Excellence in the Online Community Category Corporate Division.
Online communities come in many shapes and sizes, and serve a wide range of needs. Not surprisingly, the performance of an online community will also vary widely. One reason some organizations do not achieve the results they would like from their online community is a mismatch between the style or focus of the community, and the type of interactions between the members and the organization. There are four styles of online communities: Marketing Megaphones, Lead Generators, Customer Hugs and the coveted but often elusive Innovation Center.
Sorry, the party’s over. The days of social media celebration are gone. It’s not as if a random collection of “Likes” and “followers” had any real meaning but, hey, it was fun to watch the cool kids all get drunk at the bar of social media promises.
It’s time to sober up and put the kids to work. Business executives, in the parent role, have arrived on the scene and are calling for more focus on business goals and authentic measures of success. The caretakers are taking a hard line as social business enters young adulthood. So how do the kids win the trust of those parents in the executive suite? Where is the Kevin Bacon for this social media “Footloose” story? Learning to think critically about business concerns and addressing the needs of the business execs is the burning question for today.
Social customer care is more than just basic customer service. It means creating ongoing, detailed and sustained conversations with customers, prospects and even those who are “just looking.” Through online communities and other forms of social interaction, there are more opportunities to foster sustained dialogue, ask “tough” questions and follow up on issues raised. Instead of relying on verbal communications that dissipate as soon as the words are spoken, there is a written record of questions, responses, opinions and comments. The challenge is turning this detailed anecdotal information into data, and then using that data to improve results for both the customer and the business.
Spend time with your C-level clients so you can understand their desired outcomes. What are they hoping to achieve from participating in the community? How would they measure success? The path to value from participation will be much clearer for them if you answer these questions together. Take the time to develop a strategy before engaging a C-level audience; they are well worth the investment of time up front to get it right.
To explore how organizations are leveraging social technologies and practices, Oracle, Leader Networks and Social Media Today partnered to survey more than 900 marketing and technology executives from organizations around the world. The results showed that transitioning to a socially enabled enterprise, also known as a social business, is a key priority for business executives. The study also highlighted the challenges organizations need to overcome to realize the potential of social technologies and practices.