In our latest research study, “The Business Impact of Online Communities,” we found that almost half (49%) of communities report revenue gains from their online community. This is an exciting proof-point, but it warranted further investigation. What enables some communities to be financially productive while others remain a cost center?
How do organizations track the impact of their online communities? How do they measure expenditures, revenue, and cost savings? How do they link the community to competitive advantage? To get answers to these critical questions, we partnered with Higher Logic and The Conference Board to conduct a survey of nearly 300 marketing and community leaders. Today, we’re pleased to share the results and our analysis in a new Leader Networks study: The Business Impact of Online Communities.
For community managers, knowing the right questions to ask is the key to success. Why? If you can crack the code on what community members want and need from each other – and from the organization – then your content and conversations are much more likely to drive engagement. Plus, if you can meet your executives’ business needs through the community, then you will have a champion in your corner and some truly powerful outcomes to report.
With that in mind, we created this infographic to help community managers ask the right questions and deliver the right results.
For years, social media marketers have had tools like Hootsuite, Sprinklr, and Hubspot to do their work faster and better. But what about online community managers? We were left to our own devises. We had to track, facilitate, outreach, and report on the impact of our branded community without a tool in sight. So we lost precious time, and suffered frequent burn out, because we had to perform ongoing and critical relationship building and reporting activities by hand. My colleagues and I set out to change that – and we created Network Activator.
It’s no secret that community management is one of the most challenging roles for a knowledge worker. Success relies on minute-by-minute mini decisions, driven by an overall strategy. Great community managers must be equal parts therapist, improv comedian, shepherd, and Navy SEAL. Yet, being great at something often depends more on the things we don’t do, than the things we do. This is how we achieve rock-star status. And this is especially true of community management.
Here are the top 6 things rock-star community managers never do.
In fact, the customer journey has long been an integral part of the online community experience. Many – dare I say most? – online communities make “the journey” a key part of their mission, aiding the customer before, during and after the point of purchase or other key decision. Communities are dedicated to helping customers and other stakeholders understand, explore, question and learn about products and services. This “Ah-Ha!” moment for the customer journey highlights two different but parallel approaches – let’s call them tracks – for understanding this process: one is mapping the customer experience; the other is building customer engagement. In our ever-more-connected world, these two tracks are now merging to become one.
As part of our ongoing interview series, I had a chance to speak with Rahul Sachdev, CEO of Get Satisfaction, about his role, and vision of the future of online communities. He also shared some examples of exciting communities and what they can accomplish when customers and companies work together to solve problems and innovate. Here’s what he had to say…
Your content is well-written and well-produced, engaging, even useful. But is your audience really paying attention? We all know what it’s like when someone won’t stop talking — it’s very hard to stay engaged. Have you tried listening to your audience instead?
The Social Business era has arrived, and with it, individual customers now have a voice. “Listen to me,“ they shout from digital rooftops. “Meet my needs and exceed my expectations,” they demand – online and offline. They’re not passive recipients of products, services and one-way messaging any more. Since the dawn of commerce, businesses have tried to get closer to their customers. That day is here.