A Tire Company Online Community?

Written by on August 24th, 2008

If a tire company benefits from having an online community, so would YOU!

I was talking to a friend the other day about his desire to create an online community.  He was hot on social media and wanted to get in on the game.   He was struggling with what kind of online community he should create.   He owns a game company and has an enormous amount of content that he gets from the gaming companies about upcoming releases.  I suggested that he offer a members only online community where he offers the inside information he is getting.  Now he’s trying to decide if he should charge or make it free!

Our discussion got me thinking about the many clients I’ve spoken with who had similar thoughts.

  • Who would want to come to an online community for a cleaning company?
  • Who would want to come to an online community for a manufacturing company?
  • Who would want to come to an online community for a service company?

So what do I tell them?

My suggestion is to think out of the box.  Think about what your organization can do to make the world, your community or neighborhood a better place.   What are the burning issues that people who use your product are facing?   What can you do to give your clients and others a voice in solving those issues? (…More…)

Emerging Social Media Job Descriptions!

Written by on August 19th, 2008

The Internet is changing everything!

Businesses are having to learn on the fly how to play and do business in a world where the behavior of consumers are changing literally overnight. While many organizations saw the changes coming, most are still unaware that the Internet will fundamentally change the way they do business.

The statistics are easy to find everywhere. In just 4 years, social networking sites have exploded. Sites like YouTube grew to over 100 million users, MySpace to 180 million users, Facebook to 90 million users and even Linkedin (a business networking site) is growing by 1 million users a month!

When you compare that to the fact that the New York Times which was founded in 1851 has only 1,000,000 subscribers you begin to realize that there has been a fundamental shift in consumers behaviors.

What we are suggesting is that social networking, Web 2.0 and online community tools, techniques and strategies are introducing new ways for businesses to acquire, retain and engage their customers. The only problem is, few businesses know how to effectively use them. Worse companies don’t have the right staff to efficiently move their companies into these new areas. (…More…)

Starbucks Missed the Boat?

Written by on August 3rd, 2008

About 6 years ago I sent an overnight letter to Starbucks headquarters suggesting they consider offering their customers a private, password protected online community to continue to build their brand, engage customers and gather more data about their customers.

At the time my firm provided online communities to groups and organizations in the higher education space and we were looking for a way to leverage our product in the commercial market.  The company executive I sent my letter to was preoccupied with other issues at the time and my subsequent follow up phone call was met with a response,  well – similar to what you’ve heard from time to time in your  career – don’t call us, we’ll call you!

Fast forward to 2008 and we see Starbucks coming out with what they call their new customer online community called Mystarbucksidea.com.   The community offers customers an opportunity to help direct where the company is going and is modeled after a number of successful examples including Dell’s  Community Forum and Salesforce’s Ideastorm.   (…More…)

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