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Topic: Strategy

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Building/growing Online Collaboration Community PRO Member

Posted by mneumeier on 125 Points
I'm putting together a high-level business plan (objectives, strategy, high-level time line and investment) re: building and growing an online collaboration community primarily for customers. My organization would actively manage the community and drive engagement. We are considering Spiceworks as a platform. I'm looking for best practices around setting up such a community that will inform the business plan.

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    Focus the plan on why specifically people would want to engage using your offering. How do they currently engage? Why would they switch? Can you find case studies of other collaborative solutions being introduced success? Also, estimate customer acquisition costs.
  • Posted by telemoxie on Accepted
    If this were my project, I would want to be clear about my company's management with relation to "managing the community".

    Certainly there are administrative matters. But does the senior management in your company expect you to be able to influence discussions and opinions? You talk about customers, is there any concern about giving others access to your customer base? What happens if someone starts complaining about your product or service on the forum?

    You might be opening a can of worms, and letting the cat out of the bag, and other idioms like that. If this were my project, I would be much more concerned with setting objectives initially than with technology. What can the company reasonably expect to gain? How will the participants benefit? What will the ground rules be?

    If this were my project, I would very much like to have some sort of an association with an expert in such online communities. I applaud your company's consideration of setting up such a forum. But I wonder what level of commitment your company is willing to make in the long-term, over the next 3 to 5 years.

    If your company is more concerned with short-term results than long-term strategy, you might consider setting up a group on LinkedIn. I would personally be more comfortable spending money on social marketing / social engagement expertise rather than on technology. Good luck.
  • Posted by dubois on Member
    I started an online community for independent consultants 18 years ago and it's still going with about 2,000 members. I've started other online groups using FB and LI ranging from 100 to 3,000 members, on both business and recreational topics. .

    Jay and Dave has asked some good questions (as they always do). Please reply with more info and I'll gladly share more advice.

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