Research Your Community’s Needs – SMPG Community Building Checklist


In our previous post, Define Your Community Goals, we gave you some ideas to help you define your goals for your community.

In this post, we continue posting our exclusive checklist that you can use to execute your project for building your community – The Social Media Performance Group Community Building Checklist™. We discuss the importance of researching the needs of your community, deciding on a logistical approach, and finding out what’s already out there.



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Research Your Community’s Needs

  • Both external community and internal community
  • Communication — how will information flow
    • Within enterprise
    • Member-to-member
    • Member to enterprise
  • Sharing — how information is shared
  • Donating time — how members can help manage and sustain the community
  • Gauge community’s likelihood of engaging — evaluate alternatives to your community
  • Motivation — how to motivate members to join and remain part of community
  • Support — what the community expects from the enterprise
  • Evaluate the risk, including worst case scenarios — how to disengage if the community doesn’t work
  • Understand the required culture change — internal and external — for success
  • Consider using the Social Media Performance Group’s Social Media Readiness Survey

Decide Logistical Approach

  • What role should enterprise play?
    • Passive / Background — enabler rather than leader?
    • Engaged / Directing — visible in everyday life of community?
  • What type of community culture will be sustainable?
    • Free-for-all — relying mostly on community self-policing
    • Managed — visible role for community manager
    • Controlled — think twice before implementing strict organizational control
  • What community activities should the enterprise facilitate?
  • What types of content and features should the community have?
  • Should the community be a Website extension, built on third party site such as Facebook, or built using customizable social-media-building sites such as Ning?
  • Consider extending existing communities
  • Understand the costs of creating a new community
  • What types of members does the community want to include?
  • How to recruit influential / valuable members?
  • How do you handle troublesome members?
  • What kinds of activities are members prepared to participate in to help your enterprise?
  • Should you do fundraising in the community?
  • Should you encourage advocacy?
  • Should you link online events with offline?
  • Take time to do extensive searches for existing conversations:
    • Mentions of enterprise name
    • Mentions of your product category
    • Issues and topics faced by your target audience
    • Mentions of key employees / board members
    • Advocates or spokespeople for your products
    • Mentions of competitors
    • Use the sites and techniques in the Find Your Community post

Find What’s Already Out There

  • Develop a body of knowledge about:
    • Key news sites
    • Most-active potential community members
    • Influential voices online
    • Thought leaders
    • Active potential partner communities
    • Key blogs
    • In-person meetups and events
    • Where your community isn’t, but should be

Research Your Community’s Needs is the 164th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’ve been doing this since 2011 and we’re just past page 405. At this rate it’ll still be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

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About Social Media Performance Group

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
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