Yep, another ‘2009′ post, but this was such a good find I couldn’t resist…
The Top Ten Reasons for Building an Online Community in 2009
(courtesy of Vocici blog)
- You know 2009 will not be like 2008. Will the recession end next year or will it become the longest recession in 60 years? How will the economic and political changes affect your customers, your prospects, your partners and your employees? You need an online community to get frequent insight into the changing attitudes and requirements of these key constituencies.
- Give customers a place to discuss your organization. With almost 150 million U.S. adults participating in online communities, they are already talking about you on the Internet, in social networks, forums and mailing lists. Give them a place where they can talk about you, with you.
- Increase loyalty just by having a community. Just like conducting a customer satisfaction study can improve satisfaction, simply having a community can improve satisfaction. The Deloitte and Beeline Labs study, 2008 Tribalization of Business Survey, researched 140 organizations with communities. Of these, 24% had already seen increased loyalty, and this was for young communities, as the majority were under two years old.
- Introduce prospects to your organization. A virtuous circle of community engagement helps expand an open community and even win you business. The more community participation, the more pages to be indexed by search engines: the more pages, the higher the search engine traffic: the higher the traffic, the more prospective customers discover your organization and engage with existing customers to learn about it. (And she told two friends, and they told two friends…)
- Generate thousands of ideas. Within eight months, My Starbucks Idea generated – and prioritized! – 55,000 ideas. In its first 18 months, Dell IdeaStorm generated over 10,000 ideas. As organizations and individuals adapt to the challenges of 2009, look to your online community for fresh ideas to help you improve your business.
- Help your staff internalize and distribute feedback. Dell has 40 employees participate in a team called Communities & Conversations. CEOs always talk about making their organizations “customer centric”: by talking to customers and evangelizing their viewpoints across the company, as these Dell team members do, the organization truly becomes centered on the customer.
- Provide a rich source of qualitative insights. Brad Bortner of Forrester said it best in his independent white paper, Will Web 2.0 Transform Market Research?: “Market research online communities (MROCs) will shock the qualitative market research world. They provide cheaper, faster, and newer types of insights that today’s traditional qualitative research modes, such as focus groups, don’t currently provide.”
- Provide comprehensive quantitative feedback. Integrate online communities with panel management or enterprise feedback management, and you can conduct projectable, representative surveys that help you size the problems and opportunities uncovered by your qualitative research.
- Compress the traditional feedback cycle. In 2009, you don’t have the time or the resources to use the traditional feedback cycle. You need to streamline your market research with online communities, so that you can continuously act on the voice of the customer.
- Sustainable competitive advantage comes from the changes you make. Community members will participate in your new online community because they want your organization to serve them better. You will engage employees in the community so that they can be customer ambassadors. Short term, you’ll develop an infrastructure that will enable you to rapidly implement new ideas. Long term, you’ll develop a culture centered on customer-driven innovation and co-creation.
Fantastic list of reasons. So, if you can’t call your website an online community yet or you aren’t even thinking of evolving it into an online community, maybe these reasons helped.