You’re well aware that your community can help you engage more deeply and widely with your customers, and reap the benefits of that engagement. A great community can make the all the difference between being a world-class company that dominates its niche, and being an also-ran.
It’s true not every community rocket-fuels the business. Maybe it takes too long to engage your audience, or maybe it attracts a lot of talk but little that converts into a hard return.
If your community doesn’t – yet – deliver world-class value, don’t despair. You are not alone, and there are a lot of simple steps that can help you on your way.
Take a good look at yourself
Some organisations do build successful, profitable communities without pain – but they’re in the minority. Others start off, then find the journey longer than they thought. Their communities may look fine – yet they never quite attract the enthusiasm nor deliver the results that were hoped for.
Are you one of these?
Even if your Telligent community is doing pretty well, chances are there are some areas you could improve on. If you haven’t given it a health-check recently, looking both at the technical performance and the business planning behind it, you may be missing some tricks.
Why isn’t your community flourishing?
Of course there may be technical issues. The content may have a load of broken links, 404 errors. You may be running an old version of the platform, or you may not have the integrations you need to make it intuitive for users. If your customer community doesn’t link well with your website, you’re working with one hand tied behind your back. And sorting this out may be a low priority on your IT team’s roadmap.
But it is just as likely that business reasons are the cause. A few questions
If you’ve answered “no” or “don’t know” to any of these, then here are some steps to could help you:
"Talk to the boss. Does she understand how important your community is? Is she prepared to support it publicly?" < this one is incredibly important. Getting executive leadership to understand and publicly back the community is contingent upon communicating the value of community. And it's not just about identifying the success metrics (as you allude to in #2, #7 and #9). It's critical in my experience that your leadership team is aligned with what you think the goals of the community ought to be. If the company's leaders don't perceive the value you're focusing upon, then you'll have a tough road ahead. Thanks for the thoughtful blog entry Peter!