CEO and Founder at Ztudium / IntelligentHQ.com
29 October 2009 23:14pm
I am doing research about Social Media and SEO Features: and how to create a community. I wrote about this in my website: http://www.dinisguarda.com/post/Social-Media-and-SEO-Features-Creating-a-Community.aspx
As a lot has been written about SEO and Social Media features
and about creating a community, I am trying to understand the key points for the
total present web performance. Web is Search and Social at the same time and one needs to get in both technical, content and business wise. Working with SEO awareness and Social
Media is key in these days and in fact creating a community is a great
challenge that requires above anything a big passion for networking and be
friend and social with other people. But I would like to hear some input on how to start a community both technologically and business wise. I found the technology side of this task almost one third of the work that needs to be done to have a successfully community. Also the business way of getting in the consersation and listen are key to success and to avoid risk. I would like to hear the opinion of the Econsultancy community on this.
Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney
30 October 2009 07:54am
It depends on what the goals of your community are. I'm not sure why the technical aspect is so great in this project - I fear you're going about this the wrong way.
Why are you building a community? Is it to provide a better marketing strategy? To increase awareness of a brand? To increase engagement, or to provide a feedback channel? Once you have your goals in mind, then you can put together a community plan. You can then decide what type of community platform you're going to use. A "me" platform, focussed on the user, like Facebook, with profiles, photos and the like. Or an "us" platform, for reviews, forums etc, like Tripadvisor.
Building a community normally involves 3 stages:
1) Seeding. You should identify those customers/visitors you currently have who are the most engaged and vociferous. You should then invite them personally in on the project. Create a closed community of these users, and use their feedback to develop the functionality of the site.
2) Nurturing. You should then give "invites" to these superusers, so that they can invite their friends, or other customers, to the closed community. THis gives you the opportunity to further refine the experience for new users, check things like load testing, and to add network functionality such as friend lists.
3) Moderating. Once you have an initial community working, you can then open it to the public at large. You can either choose to moderate it yourself, or elect superusers to moderate it for you.
These 3 steps are 99% of the work involved, which is why I don't think the underlying technology should be such an issue. There are many open-source community platforms you could employ as a proof of concept. If you want to do it professionally, I would suggest employing a dedicated "community building" agency, such as FreshNetworks http://www.freshnetworks.com/
Technical Project Manager (MBA, MBCS, CITP, CEng) at Naxtech.com
30 October 2009 09:46am
In addition to the above, it may also be important to look at what you can and cannot do with a particular sector and country.
Although social media, social marketing and other similar activities may seem straight forward it is important to look at rules which regulate a certain industry, country or sector.
An interesting example, in the case of the US and the UK is the Pharmaceutical sector where doing anything social-media -wise can be very dangerous and hurt you. (http://social.eyeforpharma.com/blogs/denis-kondopoulos/social-media-and-pharma-issues-opportunities-and-solutions)
In simple terms, there is no simple answer or receipe for doing something online in terms of social media. But after reviewing your objectives, methods and other relevant parameters I am sure you will be able to reach a solution or model that will work for you.
I hope the above help.
Deniswww.naxtech.com - web development and online marketing
31 October 2009 01:49am
Hi Mathew and Denis
Thanks a lot for your precious comments and advice.
I agree completly with both of you and that is my main focus at the moment. I understand that as you put it, perfectly, Mathew the "Seeding, Nurturing and Moderating" are key to success. In my case I am working with complex products and services and multi-national goals so the complexity are bigger and the challenges more risky although very rewarding as well (as you Denis mentioned very well)...
Still I am kind of obsessive about social technology / application and how to interact with users and with the "seeding, nurturing and Moderating" inside platforms that are not Facebook or the mainstream ones, in new niche platforms and with conventional websites that include new social features. That was (is) still my concern. The web is getting more complexer than ever and simple traditional SEO work is not enough in some competitive markets and industries and that is why I think international corporations need to develop applications and some technology of their own in order to have their brands and products on the top. Of course this does not mean we forget Facebook, Twitter and other vehicules of utmost importance...
Thanks and kindest regards! the econsultancy community real has precious value!
Analyst at Websoft
31 October 2009 21:03pm
Social media allows you to connects with businesses, consultants, customers, analysts, and think tanks etc. These people are some what technical in their roles and some how they are all social too.
Social media people feedback and analyst feedback can help community to grow in bith sectors like technical and social. Technically community should be started with latest stuff and broader in sence and businesswise it should allowed people to connect in different groups relating to their business sectors.
Developer at Caleb Jarvis Enterprise
02 November 2009 09:58am
Social media is brilliant for those who are unable to attend an event at the last minute and would wish to keep up to date with information, facts and future occasions via internet conferencing and newsfeeds.
Web PR Consultant at Clickthrough Marketing
16 November 2009 12:19pm
I agree with much of the above, especially identifying what your key reason for doing this. If it is purely to go beyond the search engines eg more than simple SEO and is for marketing, you may find that it is very hard work to nurture that community to get the results that you could possibly get elsewhere for less effort.
Once you have identified your reason, you need to look at who your community are and what they want.
Community=engagement and if you are in a complex, specialised and high-level sector, you may find that those who you want to attract are simply too busy to engage and interact, unless there is core value in it for them. Hence the comment about achieving similar results for less effort. A community that is rarely contributed to will do more harm than good.
For instance, I run a social network for a niche programming language. Whilst it could migrate to a Facebook or Ning type environment, these are geeks we are talking about, and they don't want the community to socialise or talk about their latest gadget, nor post photos etc.
The community wants timely advice on coding issues, in general, or for bug checking etc on specific code. So, it's an email group with an associated fully searchable website/archive and it works brilliantly. It costs nothing to run, shows up on all the search engines because it is the one place that all of these coders visit for answers, so it is content rich.Therefore, I would say don't get distracted by the technology, because often the right solution for the job is not all-singing, all-dancing, nor do many communities need to be.
The original set up, seeding, nurturing and marketing of our community was sponsored by the company behind the language and that sponsorship included a key developer to act as their representative and also to gather feedback and information for themselves. This person is involved on an almost daily basis, and it is his continued presence that has meant the ongoing success of the community. The company pay him rather than giving us direct funding, and that is invaluable in making it the 'place to be'.
The point being that you need a fairly dedicated 'human resource' to make a community work - a champion, if you like. Plus you need to be able to rely on trusted members as moderators, contributors etc who ensure the value is constantly being added. getting those ducks in a row can be harder work to get your website noticed than just creating a content rich website.
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