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One of the most important aspects of building a community online is assessing whether customers want to engage with a brand in this way in the first place, according to experts at last week’s Reputation Online Live.

Maz Nadjm, newly appointed head of social media at Ogilvy Group UK, said a brand should first set clear and realistic goals – for instance, to turn passive users into contributors.

He encouraged businesses to assess internally: are your customers interested in talking to you online? Do you have resource to do this?

This point was reiterated by Blaise Grimes-Viort, head of social media and engagement at Webjam, who said that, before investing in technology or talent, a brand must always define why they’re try to build a community.

As well as highlighting the value of inviting people to join in, and telling them clearly what they need to do once they have, Grimes-Viort said a brand needs to promote member activity, build a rewards system, highlight achievement and celebrate growth as a group.

Heather Taylor, head of social media at Giffgaff, and Vincent Boon, head of community for the MVNO, finished off by showing that giving its community free calls, texts and cashback for answering other people’s questions has resulted in a Net Promoter Score – a measure of loyalty - equal to that of Google.

By making it easy for the community to help each other, the brand’s users now turn to Giffgaff’s forums instead of calling its call centre on average 50% of the time.

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Published 14 October, 2010 by NMA Staff

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