Category Archives: Online Community

Social Media Coming of Age – at the tipping point?

Super Bowl Advertisers Tap Social Media:

“Brands employed social media, whether to poll consumers to determine how well their ads were received, or to drive additional traffic to Facebook where they could actively engage with their potential customers – something that TV simply can’t facilitate. To generate additional traffic for the social sites and online communities that have been integrated into their marketing strategies, several brands enhanced their Super Bowl microsites with social content, and in turn added promotional content from their brand sites to their social efforts.”

BBC says Use Social Media – or Leave:

“BBC news journalists have been told to use social media as a primary source of information. For BBC news editors, Twitter and RSS readers are to become essential tools, until now the broadcaster has been very cautious about social media.”

Meet The First Miners of the New Social Graph :

“These days, it’s all about who you don’t know. That’s the theory behind a group of very interesting software projects being built on top of the giant graph of friend/follower connection data that Twitter exposes about its users. Name 3 people whom you admire, despise, work with or otherwise pay attention to and tools like HiveMind, Follower Wonk and Twiangulate will quickly calculate who all those people are following in common on Twitter. Say you’re a reporter covering New York city schools. Who might be a good source to contact? Here’s what Copeland recommends: Look at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s list of followers on Twitter. See which ones look like education-related organizations.”

The State of Social Media Around the World 2010:

This is an extensive post and well worth clicking through to see the well illustrated detail.

The Conversation Prism

“Upon review, it’s clear that Facebook, at 400 million, is truly earning a global audience, which naturally burrows its social roots with every new connection and the connections of connections forged within the network. According to research, Facebook dominates in 100 out of 127 countries measured. In 50% of the countries included in this study, online photo sharing dominated the list of social media applications. It is also among the oldest of social services within the included mix. 44% of the countries in this survey embrace online profiles in social networks suggesting that their personal brand, whether for engaging in personal or professional interactions, is becoming increasingly important. 81% shared photos and online profiles as the top 1 and 2 activities with the exception of Japan, China, and South Korea where blogging displaced social profiles as a top application. 94% of countries reported that micro-blogging (think Twitter) were among the least pervasive with the exception of Japan, where it ranked fourth – just below social network profiles and above video.”

Selecting a Community Platform – 10 tips from Jeremiah

Forrester analyst, Jeremiah Owyang’s freshly published report, The Leaders In Community Platforms for Marketers provides valuable insight into 9 vendors. Here is a summary in 10 bullets:

1.       Social network and online community adoption is on the rise and are being seen as cost effective channels for product and brand marketing and a  growing tech segment is for community platforms providing community infrastructure and features, reporting and integration with business applications – these 10 bullets are dedicated to helping evaluate a vendor.

2.       This Forrester Study assessed 9 vendors: Awareness, Jive, KickApps, Leverage, Lithium, LiveWorld, Mzinga, Pluck, and Telligent – selected from a field over over 90, these focused on large organizations, interactive marketers  and have a strong services component.

3.       Applicability and reputation: vendors specialize in markets and vertical and therefore their feature set is tuned to certain segments (e.g. KickApps for media) – make sure your vendor has experience with your market needs.

4.       Speed and ease of deployment: How quickly you can launch a community and then extend and expand will be determined by the amount of configuration and the ease of use of the tools, componentized or widget based platforms make this easy

5.       Features to look for: Basics will include threaded discussions, comment, live chat, document and image upload, blogging forums and more advanced features are Wikis, Multimedia (audio, video) support, polling and surveys, social networking features, premium content support and of course system security to prevent hacking, web analytics to report basic usage .

6.       Advanced features you will need: Widget creation and customization, full service reporting and analytics and performance dashboards, ability to add custom code, the ability to setup automated import of content, analytics to identify influencers and understand community conversations and to make recommendations on action.

7.       Completeness of offering: Full functionality is complemented by the ability to integrate with other applications (e.g. CRM or BI) will be required as will the ability to exchange (I/O) data via APIs, how much control do you need over the layout, navigation and graphics and a strong and easy to use administration layer.

8.       Services to keep you on track: Implementation consulting to ensure that you are trying to achieve the right goals, installation services to ensure correct deployment, essential support and maintenance to make sure data is backed up, recoverable, the service can be restored with minimal downtime and no data loss,

9.       Of the 9 vendors (who all seem to claim market leadership), Jive Software and Telligent came out on top across all categories – of particular mention, Jive’s intuitive UI , Telligent’s strong analytics, Lithium’s forum and blogging solution, Awareness’ quality of site design (pixel perfect graphics),  KickApps widget technology and Pluck’s content management.

10.       The Elephantear’s take on this is that there is a broad enough range of vendors out there to suggest that this is a maturing market, as with any technology vendor selection, viability and reputation are always a concern, but make sure that you rank importance of what you need to achieve with your community and the application features and support you will need to do this – this will help you select a vendor that will provide the right solution for your needs.