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

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 27, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

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, Online Community

10 Types of Content that Drive Adoption in Private Online Communities

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM | 3 minute read

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, Online Community

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

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM | 2 minute read

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, Online Community

Beware of the Private Social Networking Checkbox

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 16, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

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, Online Community

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

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

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, Online Community

What Can Customer Engagement Buy You These Days?

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 9, 2012 at 1:25 PM | 4 minute read

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, Online Community

How Associations Use Private Social Networks to Impact Legislation & Regulations

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 6, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 2 minute read

Today is Super Tuesday! For both organizations impacted by government and the politically-minded among us, today is the biggest indicator thus far in the 2012 election cycle for determining the future of organizations' lobbying strategies for the next several years. Association leaders across the country, from the state level to national organizations, are paying close attention to today's exit polls, candidates, and outcomes.

However, not all associations can afford to influence a candidates "Super PAC." In the age of social networking, many membership and advocacy organizations are utilizing the grassroots nature of their private social networks to consolidate ideas, focus their voice, and mobilize disparate groups.

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Topics: Associations, Online Community

3 Must-Read Approaches to Online Community Engagement Metrics

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 2, 2012 at 2:31 PM | 2 minute read

"The price of light is less than the cost of darkness."
- Arthur C. Nielsen

This pioneer in the science of marketing research has it right. However, consistently executing on the proverb above is challenging for many organizations. Often times companies and associations put so much into designing their online customer or member communities to be valuable to their target audiences (which they should) that they have to scramble to define measures of success at the last minute or after the launch.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Online Community

How to Align Your Online Customer Community With Real Business Goals

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 2 minute read

Why Does Your Organization Want an Online Member or Customer Community, Anyway?

Online communities, private social networking, social CRM, member engagement, and social business are amazing, awe-inspiring, life-changing, and the new way that organizations do business. Why wouldn't you want these tools and strategies? Now, ask yourself, why DO you want these things?

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community

How B2B Companies Use Online Communities to Convert Leads Into Customers

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 23, 2012 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

How would your company and career be impacted if you found a way to convert 2X more leads into customers? Recently, I have heard several business-to-business companies report that their lead-to-customer conversions jumped 200-400% when integrating a social business strategy into their lead nurturing process.

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Topics: B2B Communities, Online Community

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