A social network community is the answer to the question of how your organization can get closer to its customer target group. It organises your affinity group into a social network community - and they will return on a daily basis - and you will gain additional market insight, a platform for product concept tests and opinion polls, brand loyalty and of course direct revenues from subscriptions to premium content inside the social network community.
Companies like HP with its HP Support Forums and BestBuy with its BestBuy Forum have established Forums to enable customer engagement. As a first step forums are a good solution to discuss different topics, but they are limited in their functionality. Other companies like Dell with its Social Support Community (SSC) Ideastorm have created social network communities to offer more tools like blogs, forums, wikis, media galleries and groups for their customers to engage with employee specialists and with other members of the community resulting in high usage and customer loyalty.
Why companies should consider using social network communities as part of their Business Strategy? Research from Forrester Research, and results experienced from the above metioned companies have shown that customer engagement in Social Support Communities results in reduced support costs. In social network communities customers self-educate, self-support, and require less direct support from your company. Saving your company money you can invest in other initiatives.
A social network community can also be deployed inside an organisation, company, project or club. It fosters the exchange of knowledge inside the organisation, company, project or club. Members can describe themselves in their profiles - by means of text, photos, audio files, video files - and the search function enables members to find the right people with specific skills or knowledge easily and at the right point in time. And not to forget, it is fun for employees to participate in an internal social network community or project social network.
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In addition to improved customer communication and great brand loyalty you can also earn direct revenues from your social network software by giving access to premium content only for subscribing members or by placing ads on your community pages.
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