3 Online Community Presentations for Serious Businesses, Associations, and User Groups


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The conversation has turned from “will this work” to “how do we make this work.”

Increasingly, people are talking about how online communities are delivering tangible results to companies and nonprofit membership organizations. The insight is becoming more clear. The research and success stories are mounting.

Online Community for Businesses, Association, and User Groups

Private online customer and member communities are a central part of conversations about the future of marketing, customer management, and employee productivity.

We want to highlight three presentations from top online community and customer engagement professionals. These 191 slides dive deep into the real opportunities, challenges, and paths to success for organizations planning online communities for customers, members, partners, or employees.

Business Benefits of Online Customer Communities

This presentation was recently given by IDC analyst, Michael Fauscette, at the CRM Evolution Conference. Along with a high-level framework for understanding the benefits of online communities, the slides provide some great examples of businesses that are reaping those benefits today.

Key Online Community Insight:

  • Building ongoing relationships with existing customers is the cornerstone of business growth.
  • Implementing online community software is the number one social business priority for businesses over the next year.
  • Analyze the business benefits of your online customer community through these 5 lenses (the slides give some great examples):
    1. Adding new customers
    2. Product innovation
    3. Controlling support costs
    4. Business intelligence-driven marketing and customer service
    5. Improving positioning and influence
  • Creating and maintaining meaningful online customer communities is a complex process that takes time, change management, and focus.

Technologies Don’t Change Companies. People Do.

This presentation comes to us from “future of work” expert, Ayelet Baron. She does a great job of bringing together core principles of social business strategy, online community lifecycle, and the science behind engagement.

Key Online Community Insight:

  • Segmentation is critical in maintaining online community engagement.
  • Online community members are not either in or out. Just like any customer lifecycle, there are many steps along the way. Develop strategies and tactics to move people to the next stage in the community lifecycle, rather than from new member to established member in a single move.
  • Understand where each member is in your community’s engagement funnel.
  • Events are important to your online community. Communities occur both online and offline.
  • Success should be measured in economic value, as well as the change in behavior that supports that value creation.

The Psychology of User Adoption in Online Communities

Customer experience expert, Joyce Hostyn, offers an extensive look at how the brain processes change and how you can use that insight to increase user adoption.

Key Online Community Insight:

  • At its core, getting customers, users, or members to use your online community means getting them to change their habits and behaviors.
  • Online community adoption is a journey with many rest stops along the way.
  • Spur change faster by telling your community’s story.
  • How you frame your online community to your customers or members is important.
  • If your audience is new to online communities, map it to something familiar (e.g. Facebook, your old listserv, your in-person networking events, etc.).
  • Seek quick wins with both small and large payoffs that require a small degree of change.
  • Setting subtle defaults in your community can result in large engagement gains.
  • Onboarding and getting people off on the right foot is critical.

Online Community Takeaway

Online customer and member communities have significant business-level benefits. One of the reasons that online communities are implemented and lauded at a slower pace than strategies that involve public social networks, CRM, or email marketing is the complexity, board reach, and ongoing maintenance of social business plans. However, there are clear paths to setting strategy and growing your online community based on well-known research and proven methodologies.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joshua Paul
Joshua Paul is the Director of Marketing and Strategy at Socious, a provider of enterprise customer community software that helps large and mid-sized companies bring together customers, employees, and partners to increase customer retention, sales, and customer satisfaction. With over 13 years of experience running product management and marketing for SaaS companies, Joshua Paul is a popular blogger and speaker on customer management, inbound marketing, and social technology. He blogs at http://blog.socious.com.


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