When you’re starting out with building a corporate community there is an important step you need to take, that of defining business objectives. Without being clear on your objectives it’s kind of difficult to achieve much. However, this is just one half of the equation.
Typical business objectives
Typical Community objectives
Most communities are focused around getting help, access to expert advice, learning more about the product/service, it’s about helping one another, stepping up and being there, and networking.
The challenge with community programs
How do you match business objectives with community objectives? You need to create and evolve shared objectives as starting your community with only your business objectives is not going to go too far.
You need to evolve shared objectives
Examples of Shared Objectives
1. You want to reach potential new customers via free word of mouth marketing – Empower them – Make the community members feel special, provide them first and exclusive access to your products and services. Heck announce it via them, make them a part of your product or service launches. Example Microsoft often launches new software products along with key speakers being from their communities, their MVP’s and RD’s or community leaders.
Making them a part of your programs, empowers them, compelling them to share with their networks. This gives your messages massive reach, enabling word of mouth marketing, the most convincing method for enabling a sale.
2. You want to reduce support costs – Most community members often pay it forward. They want to help others and they do like the gratification of being seen as experts. Everybody likes to be recognized and rewarded. You need to evangelize the key contributions made by your key community members. Microsoft MVP’s answered more than 10 million questions a year. Can you even begin to calculate the ROI of that.
3. Innovation – We all want our products to be better, matching the exact requirements of our clients, we want them to provide feedback on our products and services. It obviously helps to reduce the R&D and the testing costs. Provide the community the opportunity to Engage with you. They often know your product better than your internal employees as they are using it day in and day out. Enable them to tell you what they want the product to do, encourage engagement and feedback. Let them know how their feedback is changing the way you are evolving the product.
|Business Objectives||Community Objectives|
|You want free word of mouth marketing||Empower them – They want first, exclusive access, make them feel special.|
|You want to reduce support costs||They want to help others and be seen as experts, They want to be recognized and rewarded – Evangelize the advocates.|
|You want to innovate and want feedback on your product||Engage – They want the product to do more specific things which help your product innovate. They test it, helping you iron out the bugs. It helps if they get first access.|
You need to evolve the specific shared objectives between your business goals and your community members goals.
Most corporate communities anyways run the risk of becoming online ghost towns. Beginning with shared objectives enables you to involve your community members upfront and get deeper buy in.
What are the shared objectives you’ve defined for your community. Drop me a note in the comments below.