Here are several excerpts from a post by Arron Strout, Chief Marketing Officer at Powered, 4 Keys to Online-Community Success. Be sure to check out the complete source article for much more. Also, if you’re interested in who the vendors are in this space, check out the Customer Community Platforms listing in our CRM Technology Directory:
While a 2010 report performed by research company, ComBlu, showed that many corporate communities had not evolved over the last year, leaders in the space like Sears, BofA and SAP, will show other companies the way. To me, I’ve seen that there are really four crucial elements that companies need to make sure that community is a success…
- A well thought-out strategy. Who are the people a branded community is trying to attract (be careful of being exclusionary)? How do they plan to engage them? What value will they deliver and what is the company’s value proposition?
- Great content. While consumer generated content has its place, brand contributed content that is educational and lifestyle oriented is a key catalyst in helping to drive community loyalty.
- Strong management. This can come in the form of moderation but in many cases, requires someone to lead the charge. This is someone that nurtures and tends to the community needs and ideally helps foster conversation.
- Integration with third party social networks, blogs and other relevant Web 2.0 properties.
While a well thought out strategy may seem like a no brainer to most marketers, many forget about the need for good content. Unfortunately, some marketers have been provided with the advice that “if you build it, they will come.” Or worse yet, once you put up a community, your customers will start to self-organize and create enough content to sustain your community. While this may be true in one out of every one hundred communities, it’s not the case in most branded online communities.
The big question many marketers are facing today is, can they have their cake (a branded online community) and eat it too (tap into the critical mass of mega social network, Facebook). The simple answer is yes and it’s because of a critical piece of functionality called Facebook Connect. The reason Facebook Connect will play an increasingly important role in the ways brands connect with their customers and other constituents on Facebook is because it allows members to authenticate on, that’s right, communities, blogs and other third party sites using their Facebook credentials.