In Part 1, we explained how to use Barry’s Community Flower to determine the top three characteristics of your community. Next, we determine your community members’ wants.
“I want to…”
People often forget to identify the needs/wants/objectives of their community’s members. Not doing so results in yet another cold, lifeless website instead of a potentially thriving community.
For an example of how to avoid this, see this reference to Groundswell‘s case study about Proctor & Gamble’s BeingGirl site, in which the authors describe how P&G created a community to enable teenage girls to talk about teenage girl things, rather than tampons and menstrual pads – oh, I’m sorry, um, “feminine hygiene products” – can’t forget to sanitize biology for mass consumption, ha ha! I digress. Where was I?
To be thorough, you may want to do this next exercise for every persona that will interact in your community, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just lump them all together for now.
If you’re designing primarily an employee community, think about what your fellow colleagues want to get out of it, keeping the Top Three Characteristics identified in Part 1 in mind. If you’re designing primarily a public community, think about what members – both customers/partners/prospects/developers and employees – want to get out of it.
BIG HINT: “What will members get in my community that they can’t get anywhere else?”
Here are examples for an employee community:
- Find across all of ACME people who can help me get my work done (Relationships)
- Tap into ACME’s broad collective experience to help me be more innovative in my work (Groups)
- Give back – help others I may not know yet get work done (Sharing)
And for a public community:
- Find education and marketing information that will help me sell more of ACME’s products (Content)
- Build relationships with other ACME customers (Relationships)
- Learn from ACME’s customers about what it’s like to be an ACME customer (Conversations)
- Find what others are doing with ACME solutions and services (Sharing)
- Tap in to ACME’s expertise (Groups)
But, they can get this somewhere else!
Especially in the case of employee communities, the “I want to…” examples above are seemingly already satisfied by existing collaboration and networking applications. I’m not going to get into the colossal chasm that all too frequently exists between what the business really wants and what IT forces them to use, but I’ll just pull a Dr. Phil here and say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”
Usability – and all-employee access – matters. But, that’s a whole other blog post.
As for public communities, probably the top reasons potential members will participate – what they can’t get anywhere else – are access to your company’s “official” information and more importantly, your employees. However, if your people are already interacting with your customers/prospects/partners on third-party message boards or in Facebook or LinkedIn groups or Twitter or whatever, you’ll obviously need to entice those employees to stop doing that as much there, and start doing it in your community more (assuming this jibes with one of your top three characteristics).
Then, all those other social media interactions become engagement channels where employees can drive participation to your new community.
Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll add the top three characteristics to these member wants to figure out how to design your Jive SBS community.