I am pretty new at Lithium community and I must say I already learned a lot via exploring lots of thoughtful discussions and best practices.
So I am in the process of developing a community strategy and therefore I need a good arguments and story-line to support my strategy.
Within my community strategy documentation, I would like to answer following questions:
- Why you should invest in your own branded community?
The intention here is to provide arguments regarding the added value of branded communities. Imagine, today, there are already very prominent public communities on Internet e.g. stackoverflow, kickstarter, motor-talk, etc. If as a company you have the idea of having a community with a similar objective, why don't you just join those instead of creating an own branded one?
I did some research already and thanks to Lithium Community I have found following arguments:
- "Branded communities have a greater opportunity to create more loyalty and lifetime customer value than through social networks like Facebook or Twitter"
- "Community adds a sense of belonging to a Web site. This can encourage repeat visits and more interest in the site as a whole"
- "„Building own online communities means that you will be in control of the communication and relationship with your customers. Besides that, the data generated by your community will be just yours, and not available to your competitors."
- "If the community is yours, you have control over the direction, look, feel, and even the revenue opportunities"
- "„From a brand's perspective, communities allow users to develop deeper relationships with their users and site visitors, and since these communities reside on a brand's website or other owned "online property," companies with branded communities are able to manage and own data about their site visitors, and reap the SEO benefits that community content tends to provide. Even more, it allows engagement between users around a central and shared interest."
Do you maybe have more arguments that could be also used to answer this question?
Now more interesting part is coming 🙂
Let's say I am convinced to invest in an own branded community, how do I make sure that I attract the target audience, who is already participating in public communities, so that they come to my community?
I am still working on this part. I would appreciate if you have any material or ideas to answer this question.
Solved! Go to Solution.
Good luck with your project @erginkantar.
You need to be very confident that there is an existing need for this new community. As you note in your second question, if your target audience is already participating in existing communities, then it is likely you haven't come up with a compelling, unique offering and that you are going to find attracting new members extremely difficult. After all, most people do not want to join yet another community. They will only do so if they feel they have a compelling need that is going to be satisfied.
The harsh reality is that most branded communities fail. I would recommend that if you haven't already started targeting and building relationships with potential superusers, you start doing so now. They will help answer these questions for you. You will certainly learn a lot from them about their needs. You could even start a defacto group on a public platform and allow them to interact with each other before you invest in creating your own. This core group will be very important - forming the basis of your new community down the track.
@JasonHillthank you so much for your feedback! Understood! Then I feel like we are on the right way already. I think of explaining the objectives of our community in a way that it also explains what would be the additional value / unique need of our community so that the target audience is attracted by that.
Thank you so much for the hints regarding superusers btw. I will also look into that!
I back @JasonHill on the engagement with prominent members of those existing communities. In a previous community we "poached" Superusers from existing communities. And these weren't fans of the brand. In fact many were huge critics. But actually by bringing in a Branded community we were able to reach out to them to say we wanted to engage, and listen, and that's why we were doing it. Most came, some were still our biggest critics, but they also became our Superusers or most active members.
For launch success you're going to need a very tight, detailed plan of action to engage over the first x months and weeks. Content ideas, topics to discuss, lots of thanks and encouragement etc. And of course the right signposting and marketing to drive traffic and registrations.
Every Community is different, but your community purpose and goals will need to be clear so you can engage those external communities and members, and do the right value analysis on why you should do it. I think you've got the main points listed already.
Good luck! Exciting times
@JMcJohnstonthank you for your valuable contribution as well. Superuser management will be definitely one of the topics that I will consider. In the end, as you have stated it is going to be a transformation and will not happen from one day to another. It is important to realize this and make a plan accordingly.
@JMcJohnston brings up a valid point about reaching out to some of the active posters on other communities. However, before doing that, we have always recommended that you first reach out to the community manager of these various forums to let them know that you will be starting a branded community. That will be interesting and useful information for them. By bringing them into the plan you may get some help in reaching out to selected community members, who may be very interested in participating in your community in addition to the one in which they are already a member. From yours they have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise, appear in leader boards, potentially influence or at least inform other users, and learn about issues from the company's viewpoint, either from blog articles, TKB articles or participation by staff directly in community boards.
@RobbL is totally right in approaching those communities in the right way i.e. talking to those running them as well as the highly active members.
As I read my post back it maybe comes across as a little aggressive in terms of "poaching" from other communities.
Point to note, those members were still very active in the communities approached after joining ours - but they helped give some credibility to our emerging one.