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.
There are different reasons why people participate in online communities. Not one size of inspiration fits all online community members. People tend to respond better to appropriately designed reward stimulus. Simply put, if they get what they need online, they will be more likely to continue their participatory acts. And, as any seasoned community manager knows, without the active posters, the community is just a content shell. Post-less communities don”t serve the customer needs as well as an active community does, especially within the B2B world as engagement is a main measure of social business success. So, when designing scalable engagement programs it is critical to first typify the categories of membership into profiles or personas in order to encourage and reward them for their online visibility.
Business-to-business companies have always needed closer relationships with their customers than business-to-consumer firms. It makes sense, since strong relationships help generate repeat business. Most B2B firms expend significant resources on relationship-building assets such as highly trained sales forces, lavish trade show exhibits and sponsorships, focus group research, private seminars, white-glove service and support, and glossy customer-oriented magazines.
A month ago (Jan 2011), I had the pleasure of doing an interview on the Social Business Strategy Map with…
Policies are dull. No one wants to create them, no one likes to read them and certainly, few desire the job of enforcing them. But they can play an important role in outlining the rules of engagement around a particular set of online behaviors and have a strong role to play in the face of new situations where there are no standards. This is especially true with the wild west world of social media in business.
My previous blog post talked about the importance of including Beta members in the creation of an online community and…