Entry submitted by: Patricia DiPasquale (pmdCanon) Sr. Manager, Internet Marketing
Community: Canon Forum (forums.usa.canon.com)
Lithy category: Best New Community
The Canon Forum has been a long time in the making. Not being permitted to respond on other forums, we wanted one of our own, although the risk factor was high since it would be living on a Canon property. Our risk mitigation plans had to be spot-on and accepted by executive management, as well by the Canon Call Center since they would ultimately be responsible for moderation. After great success with our Facebook launch, we knew the community would appreciate a forum hosted by Canon, and we were proven right.
Going with best practices, our Web Intelligence team scoured the web for active, positive, passionate Canon advocates to participate in the beta release. All who were invited were excited to be a part of the launch, with one gentleman making his way out from the wilderness to find a signal in order to respond.
We gained a great deal of valuable insight from these Pioneers—as we have tagged them—from functional issues to suggestions as well as asking what was to be expected from a Canon Forum… both how Canon would participate and what the members would be able to discuss. The Canon Community is vocal and passionate, leaving us to walk a fine line between providing information when possible and remaining quiet when it would otherwise spiral out of control.
The Forum was implemented to provide both a place for these passionate Canon fans to congregate with like-minded people as well as allowing Canon to hear the voice of the customer, meaning, hearing firsthand what people were saying. We want to know the good, the bad and the ugly so that we can learn from it.
Our initial marketing plan included a post to Facebook, a press release and an email to our over 2MM person email list.
However, the spike in registrations we saw after the Facebook post (1) and Press Release (2) went viral (over 1,000 registrations in a single day!), caused us to postpone our email plans. Our Call Center was just beginning to get acclimated to this new platform, and feared that the email might be too successful and overextend their resources.
The Canon Forum was launched publicly on November 5, 2012 and since then we have accumulated over 5,100 registered users and have over 2.8MM page views. Of those registered users, almost half are Contributors, with less than 1% of the Contributors (17 members) providing 27% of the content. The Community Health Index (CHI) score is a respectable 525.
*Top 17 are comprised of Frequent, Super and Valued Contributors
As of March 10, 2013, the stats are as follows:
Just recently, two of our members became Super Contributors and another became a Valued Contributor, rank levels 9 & 10, respectively. They have 778 posts, 17,068 page views, 224 kudos received, and 22 accepted solutions between them. And this was in a just under four months time.
We went from 5 boards to 16 boards in a matter of weeks. As expected, the Camera board grew the quickest, first splitting into three boards and soon thereafter splitting into the seven separate boards that it is now.
Our moderation rules are such that Canon will not respond for at least 48 hours, unless it is something that cannot be answered by the community, such as a warranty question. But when it’s a question of quality, it is the Canon way to be quiet until a full review has been completed by the parent company (Canon Inc.), which is something we know isn’t acceptable in the social arena. It didn’t take long before an issue bubbled up from other forums and an investigation began in earnest.
First we responded by saying only that we got the message, but once the issue was determined, details of the cause were revealed and that a firmware update would be released as soon as it was ready. The community was ecstatic—even though the solution wasn’t ready to go—and the thanks came pouring in no sooner we announced that a fix was in the works… 25 minutes to be exact!
This occurrence has made it crystal clear to executive management that the Community is beneficial, even when the news isn’t good. We are working out faster response times that will benefit both Canon and our end user.
And now that we have gained the trust of our most ardent fans, we will continue to listen and respond in a timely manner, without shying away from hot issues. The next steps for enhancing the Forum will be to have a bi-monthly “Chat with an Expert” events. The Forum has provided the opportunity to interact directly with our customers, and from there, almost anything is possible!
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