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4 Steps to Strengthen Your Online Community Engagement Plan

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

As we discussed in our video on understanding the online community lifecycle, there is no “silver bullet” to building a private online community. It takes time, understanding of your audience, and persistent value-added activity. Whether you are engaging customers, members, employees, prospects, or another stakeholder group, building community always includes a series of steps including onboarding, profiling, and nurturing.

With such a multidimensional engagement plan, where should you point your microscope when your online community is underperforming?  

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Topics: Engagement

How to Improve Customer Retention With a Private Online Community

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM

At you next customer conference or membership meeting, take an informal poll asking people why they do business with you? The data that you gather will be gold to your marketing, membership, and product management teams. While you'll hear answers across a broad spectrum, but they will most likely have this theme in common:

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Topics: Customer Engagement

How to Select the Best Online Community Software: Part 3 of 3

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM

A Big Dance Approach to Evaluating Private Social Networks

Selecting the right online community platform your business or membership organization can be a harrowing experience. While there are significant differences between companies and software options, they are not always clear in marketing pages of each provider's website.

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Topics: Online Community Software

What is Social Business? A Clear Definition

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM

"Social business" is a white-hot buzzword right now. However, there is little consensus as to what it actually means. In a #socbizchat Twitter chat hosted by online magazine CMSWire last fall, top consultants, executives, and marketers spent over an hour debating the question, "What is Social Business?" without gaining an inch of common understanding.

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Topics: Customer Communities, B2B Communities

How to Pick Online Community Software NCAA-Style: Part 2 of 3

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 27, 2012 at 8:30 AM

In part one of this three part series, we covered the initial rounds of action in our bracketology approach to selecting a private social network for customers or members. This included how to cast a wide net and pare down your list of private social network providers based on basic functionality, integration, and each company's core focus.

Now, we are on the Sweet Sixteen, where you'll match your organization's plans and parameters with online community software.

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Topics: Online Community Software

10 Types of Content that Drive Adoption in Private Online Communities

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Are you worried about how to get your customers or members to visit, participate, and return to your private online community? Or do you have a private social network for members that more closely resembles a ghost town than a value-added benefit of doing business with your organization?

Having implemented private online communities at companies and associations for over 10 years, we know that a significant part of increasing usage of an online community is the level of insightful, exclusive content within the community. Members stay active in the community over the long-term due in part to the relationships they form across the network, but the driving force behind engagement over the first 1-2 years is access to content that can help customers or members in their workday, careers, and industries.

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Topics: Online Community Management

The Bracketology of Selecting a Private Social Network - Part 1 of 3

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM

One of the questions that companies and associations come to us with often is, "How do I Select the Best Online Community Platform for My Organization?" Most marketing, membership, and customer care professionals understand customer engagement and social media. However, keeping up with the diverse array of online community software offerings, wading through hyperbole, and deciding which platform, cost structure, and support offerings are the best fit for a specific organization can be daunting and overwhelm, even for experienced social media consultants.

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Topics: Online Community Software

Beware of the Private Social Networking Checkbox

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 16, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Having a private online community does not, by itself, breed successful customer or member engagement. Many associations and companies are finding that out the hard way.

An often overlooked success factor is how the organization uses and positions their private social network in their overall customer or membership management strategy. Here are three common approaches.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community Software

How to Get Customers or Members by Setting Your Customer Experience Apart

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Does the following sound familiar?

Your prospective customer has a problem. They research their problem and potential solutions. It may be that your prospective customer is trying to shrink their sales cycle or increase employee productivity. Or it may be that your prospect is a young lawyer who is looking to start his or her own firm and wants to reach out to others who have done the same..

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Topics: Customer Experience

What Can Customer Engagement Buy You These Days?

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 9, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Social engagement is sought-after currency for many brands, B2B companies, and nonprofit organizations. However, how to actually attain and maintain high levels of engagement with your customer ecosystem is less clear. Part of that has to do with a fuzzy understanding of the real business impact that engaged customers can deliver.

For many marketing and customer care executives, customer engagement is still a pie-in-the-sky concept with few metrics and no way to measure its impact. They know that it is important, but can't pinpoint just how engaging your customers can impact core business goals. We developed the following mnemonic device to remind companies and associations of the power that engaged customers or members can bring to an organization.

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Topics: Customer Engagement

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