Truly effective businesses encourage their customers to get involved. When paying customers feel involved and valued, they want to contribute to the business’s further success. In addition, successful businesses learn from their customer base about how best to serve it in ways that align with the business’s mission. Creating and hosting an online social community achieves that.
One problem for many businesses is they can get lost in the process details instead of focusing on the bigger picture – getting the tangible results the community was designed for, monitoring those results, and making best use of them. The two best ways to avoid that mistake is to:
- Follow a proven community planning and building strategy.
- Pass the process details to experts, so you can focus on the community itself.
The Community Strategy Canvas has three main levels, and each level focuses on clear elements. Let us look at them in order.
Level 1 – Aligning Business and Customers
- The community’s purpose must align with the business’s mission, values and goals.
- The community must support the mission and goals.
- The community must benefit its members at different points on their customer journey.
- The business must know who its ideal customers are, so it can attract them to the community and to participate in it. The community builds on this by encouraging them to share their own wants, needs, and problems so they will be better served.
- The community must position itself so it is clear to existing and potential community members what it is, why it exists, and what benefits it offers them.
Level 2 – Delivering the Right Member Experience
In order to develop an effective community, the business must be clear about what it wants its different members to experience.
- What its members will expect from the community.
- What the members will do.
- What kinds of members the community wants. Obvious ones are potential members, new members, active, dormant, leading and passive members.
- How those members will identify with, and socialize, with each other.
- The content and programs that will deliver the best experiences for different members.
Level 3 – Management
Creating, delivering and monitoring the content that meets both the business’s and the members’ goals and preferences is essential. Notice that this is the third level. Address the first two levels – the ‘Why’ and the ‘Who’ and no one will get lost in the details of the ‘What’ and ‘How’. Answers to these questions ties everything together.
- Who will create and manage the content and the member activity?
- Who will measure its success?
- How will each team member communicate with each other?
- How will they communicate with outside specialists who manage the technology?
- Who sets, monitors and manages the community budget?
- How will community success be measured in purely financial terms?
- How will the management team members communicate with each other and with the outside specialists?
Business communities help to make businesses more successful. Getting the strategy right will get the community off to the best possible start. Take this strategy and lay it out as a visual plan. Make the plan visible to all involved – and you have the canvas on which to paint each detail so your community is a total success.
Thanks again for stopping by. We hope this help out. If you have any questions feel free to contact us and if you want to try your hand at creating your very own SocialNetwork, give one of our Free Trials a shot!
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