Do you remember when you first considered launching a community? You dreamt of an online utopia that would surround your buyers with vibrant discussions, awesome content and confident peers.
Whether you ultimately launched it — or got cold feet — the bleak reality of communities today has shattered that dream: one third of communities have fewer than 100 members and 70% of them are destined to fail, according to industry analysts.
Content is outdated. Discussions are uninspired. Members don’t contribute. It’s not for lack of marketing effort, intent or budget, either.
Sure, there are some effective forums out there that decrease support costs. But they don’t engage decision makers and thought leaders. They don’t ignite the enthusiasm of happy customers who could turn out to be your biggest brand advocates. They don’t live up to the promise that so many hopeful marketers bought into.
The reason is plain for all to see. Today’s branded communities offer participants very little in return for their efforts:
- No real ties with other community members.
- No social capital boosting their personal or professional brand.
- No indication as to which content is the most interesting or important.
- No pathways to conversations taking place elsewhere on the social web.
These examples are more engaging, compelling and fulfilling than their branded B2B community counterparts:
- Their compelling Q&A format drives more high quality member responses.
- Their democratic upvoting brings the best interactions to the top.
- Their participants earn points or credits for providing great answers.
- Their open format encourages participants to bring quality content from across the social web part into their discussions. Much of the content takes them outside the community.
Is it a surprise that, no matter how hard well-meaning community managers try, these communities are destined to fail?
When you see customers actively engaged on social networks, forums and blogs all over the web, but silent in your community, something must be done.
When member posts consistently go unanswered by anyone other than your employees, something must be done.
When members receive no motivation, incentives or rewards for their engagement, something must be done.
The time has come for a radical redefinition of community. Marketers and community managers, stand up! It’s time to discover your best (and only) means for a radical redefinition of community.
The Community Marketer’s Manifesto
The Community Marketer’s Manifesto outlines:
- The ongoing importance of B2B communities
- The bleak reality of communities today
- How communities can (and must) be so much more
- A radical redefinition of community
- How to take action toward a brighter future for communities
Will you join us, comrade? Take the first step…