Communities could become one of your greatest assets in 2019
Posted by Ayanda Khuzwayo on 16 January 2019 4:00 PM SAST
Communities are without a doubt becoming more and more critical to business, to civil society and non-government organisations, and to government. For the past few years, we’ve curated content and written prolifically about collaboration. A few months ago I decided on a reboot as collaboration is a strong outcome of shared-purpose communities and it seemed prudent to, in some ways rewind to the basics and in other ways fast forward to how communities are built, nurtured, measured and sustained.
Most experts agree that at the heart of every community is a shared purpose. The 2017 Community Values and Metrics Report found that more than half (54%) of respondents listed it as a strategic initiative for their organisation.
“Community is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s essential that businesses invest intelligently in community programs and show the results to prove that they’re making an impact.”
-Jeremiah Owyang, Founder Crowd Companies
If you still believe that a social network is the same as a community, think again!
Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora and Slack provide highly useful social networks that may provide some engagement insights, but when pitted against either public or private branded communities managed by you, they will not provide in-depth insights that most organisations seek.
Firstly companies with branded communities are able to manage and own data.
Secondly, private branded communities, which require a login, help companies develop deeper relationships with customers by giving them a safe place to share ideas, advice and interactions about their brand.
While the focus of the report included, is more on business communities, there is much relevance to be gained for a broader variety of communities. Key takeouts include the low percentage of executive sponsors (critical to sustainable communities), and the permanent engagement of a single or team of community managers, among other metrics.
Look out for upcoming blogs as we take deep dives into the art and science of virtual communities.
Janice Scheckter is MD of Indigo New Media, an organisation that has built smart communities in impact verticals including www.a-better-africa.com, www.aparate.co and www.nomadicways.travel among others.