the size of the beast
This was the most frequently and strongly cited cause of frustration for clients. Seventy-six percent of participants felt communities “became ineffective when they were under-resourced internally.”
However much the management of the community is outsourced, it will still require time and resource to ensure that it is run and maintained properly and effectively.
Avoid scrimping on the resource and time needed to get things off the ground
One thing to consider is how the responsibilies involved in a community are split between client and agency. Many brands can see definite benefits in running their communities themselves, especially as they often come at a lower cost. However, without prior experience, it can be difficult to estimate how much time is involved in making a community successful.
An interviewee from a telecommunications company originally opted for a lower cost, self-serve solution for their community, but found that their team spent all of their time scripting surveys rather than speaking to stakeholders, building recommendations or driving action in the business. The cost savings on paper ended up “feeling like a false economy.”
The murky terminology around communities doesn’t help either. It’s difficult to effectively gauge the size of the endeavour when “a community” could mean so many different things.
WHEN PICKING THE RIGHT COMMUNITY SOLUTION, CONSIDER THE INVESTMENT REQUIRED BY THE FOLLOWING TASKS (YOUR AGENCY SHOULD TAKE CARE OF MANY OF THEM):
Designing and hosting the technology platform the community runs on.
Both the “internal marketing” of the community and liaising with business stakeholders around new briefs or projects.
Monitoring the business impact of the community. This is often overlooked but it’s worth planning well in advance.
The logistics of building the bespoke layout, design and user experience of the community.
PLANNING PROJECTS PIPELINE
Deciding which business objectives the community is best able to support, and planning a future pipeline of projects.
Planning the appropriate communications and incentive structure to attract the desired audience, logistics of recruitment
Interrogating briefs and designing the right approach.
Not just crafting a deliverable, but planning how to make it land with the required audiences in the business, to create action.
Daily moderation of member discussions, building relationships with members and answering questions.
The design, moderation and analysis of research or innovation activities in the community.
MANAGING ONGOING COMMUNITY HEALTH
Monitoring community participation and engagement (both in terms of quality and quantity).