This presentation by Joe Cothrel, Chief Community Officer, Lithium Technologies, Inc who recently blogged for us about Enterprise Customer Communities: Hot Topics for 2009 has begun to discuss recent conversations his had with some of Lithium’s clients. He highlights 5 trends he is seeing from:
- community to network
- fragmented to integrated
- intuition to measurement
- listening to responding
- practice to discipline
So in consideration of community to networking, the need is to look at the unique community elements many companies already incorporate within their own branded networks to the larger overall community, where discussions and engagements occur outside of companies’ direct control. The necessity then is to reach out beyond their own community to external social networks and incorporate some of their features such as Facebook Connect. But the concern is the lose of control outside of their branded communities.
So now corporations must consider which external nodes are important to participate, but again, how? and move beyond simply listening to actually effectively responding with these external communities.
Next, from Fragmented to Integrated, customers are pulling together all available social media and integrating them across enterprise systems. The result and fear corporations have again is the loss of control over member experience, but the opportunity is to improve the customer experience and provide them the experience they expect and want. As the technology becomes leveraged across enterprise systems, the importance and necessity to integrate or even consolidate components increases, but it can create efficiencies and become easier for organizations to measure and determine ROI.
Now comes the need to move from Intuition to Measurement. Integrating web and community analytics helps you to identify the community content and users that drive business outcomes. But there are multiple focus areas to measure, it is still ctricial to measure community health such as # of pageviews and registations. Once the community reaches critical mass and is sustained, then you can measure the bottom-line ROI.
Now, Joe touches what he thinks is the bellweather trend of listening to responding. In the early era of communities, which he considers to be from 1995-2005, focused on enabling interaction so that customers can help each other. Currently, we are at a point of time where the need is to improve listening to customers within our communities, learning to hear exactly what expectations they have. But what will soon occur is that customers will move to those companies that have learned to listen effectively AND ARE RESPONDING ACTIVELY.
Finally, very simply, from practice to discipline that the role of community managers is changing drastically and the knowledge that they have is completely unique within organizations and their value is growing and will become very critical in the growing importance of social media to corporations.
Joe has posted his presentation, and here you can view it: