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Social Business Journal, Volume 5 features Vanilla Forums' Community Playbook. Businesses that invest in building engaged customer communities are going to dominate the market in coming decades, as their customers keep coming back.
Social Business Journal, Volume 5: The Community Playbook
“Branded communities must be functional. Don't just build a branded
online community for any of the following reasons: your competitor is
doing it, it just "feels" right, you want your customers to help
Certainly, those can be good reasons to start to think of how community
can function for your business. But the real case for community is built on
what one business value it will bring, e.g. product improvements, beta
testing, driving new customer referrals through ambassador programs,
engaging a supply-side marketplace community, driving top-of-funnel
marketing awareness through public community-generated content.”
“Social media feedback is largely either mono-directional (your customers talk to
you, you listen) or bi-directional (you talk back). Customer communities allow for
an omni-directional approach, where you can see your customers interact with
each other and join in the conversation as you see fit.”
“I think at this point the focus has to move from content
creation towards the idea of building community,
developing strategies to distribute the content and
marketing to promote every piece. . . . Regardless of quality,
content marketing success must also include community,
distribution and promotion.”
"The Hootsuite Community Forum was initially created as a public
forum for our customers to reach out and get help from Hootsuite
employees as well as customers. We quickly realized that the forum
was useful for more than just support. Hootsuite Ambassadors and
customers are now using the forum to share best practices on how
they use Hootsuite and are making new connections with each
other. It’s a great place to collaborate, learn and grow with other
members of the Hootsuite family.“
“Community is becoming more and more important in the business world each
day. This is in part due to technology, which facilitates communication, control,
and raises expectations. We now have to ask the questions: How do you
motivate people? How do you empower them and distribute control to them?
A company is one collective entity. It is one continuum. Your team is the core
of the community. Your power users aren’t necessarily the core of the
community, they are your team. Your community and audience simply become
an extension of your team. It’s not them and then us. It’s we.
Every single organization in the world has the opportunity to embrace the
same thing that worked for [...] social networks: how to distribute control and
motivate them properly. Community makes your product indestructible.”
"Community for business is about helping customers be successful.
Let's say you're Home Depot. The job of your online community isn't
to sell hammers. There are plenty of places where people can buy
Instead, your job is to show people how to use hammers, so that
when they need one, they think of you. Walmart didn't help them.
Lowe's didn't help them. Home Depot helped them, which makes
Home Depot top of mind.
A community of successful customers is a loyal community. Marketing
brings you new customers - community helps you keep them.“