You wouldn’t throw a party and not invite your closest friends, would you? You might even encourage them to come…
Online communities offer traditional businesses an opportunity to bridge the gap with customers and keep them connected to your company and your services through out the year. This is a benefit that customers appreciate because it allows them access to their peers and to the information they need in order to support their purchase around the clock.
Through the use of an online community, customers can be provided with a superior level of support. Especially with big ticket items or those that have a complex deployment environment, such as with technical products or consulting services, the customer needs more than just the annual conference to make the most of their purchases. Community creates ongoing opportunities to learn about the future and from those on-staff experts you pay so well to demonstrate credibility. Community offers a ready-made platform for thought leadership. Also, by having access to their peers they can tap into coveted hand-on experience when their projects encounter difficulties and learn a better way from others like them.
To demonstrate the strategic impact a community can have on an organization, a number of operational needs must be addressed and tended to clarify the value of the community’s financial returns. To illustrate this point, let’s look at common operational needs across an organization. For example: Marketing as a discipline raises awareness about products and services, defines audience segments and targets to reach new prospects and builds customer intimacy to retain existing customers.
Online social predators and community bullies pervade the internet. You know the type — out there in the social sphere…
Useful, usable and engaging, these are the qualities that successful online customer communities are made of. But, while all…
Online communities are not neutral. They fundamentally change the nature and way a company does business. All too often, an organization creates a social strategy and thinks nothing will be altered but the tools they will use. And then, the change hits the fan and they are left trying to react to the impact.
Our series on Social Business Readiness is intended to focus attention on performing the due diligence needed to understand if key departments are ready to innovate and implement social business solutions within their functional areas. Managers of those functional departments ignore this step at their peril. Few initiatives can boomerang and create chaos as quickly as an ill-considered and haphazardly implemented social media effort.
Funny thing about customers: unlike staff, you can’t make them stop talking in public about what they like — or don’t like — about your products, services, policies, practices or personnel. But you can respond in public — if you’re careful — and maybe even develop a pro-active customer care strategy that integrates best practice using the social web.
ocial media is all about marketing, right? Wrong. Marketing has been advancing the role of social media in business quite actively for some time, and are likely to have evolved social media use and experimentation ahead of the other lines of business. However, best practice often reveals that the most successful marketing programs offer a blended approach of traditional and social media driven programs. To strike the right balance in a social strategy informed by marketing, consider the following questions as part of the due diligence process: