Tag Archives: JiveWorld 10

Online communities, necessary but better metrics needed to measure success

One topic I found interesting at JiveWorld10 was all the discussions and presentations about communities.  Companies from RIM to Charles Schwab gave some great examples of how they were leveraging Jive Software to develop and manage their communities. However, what was interesting was the fact many of the discussions revolved around the total number of community members and the raw overall growth of the community. Too often what was showcased was the eyeballs that the community had captured. Smelled too much like 1999 when we would hear companies tell us (when I was at Forrester Research) of how many eyeballs they had hitting their web site, how they were growing at such a pace and that they would reach a critical mass of eyeballs…but what did that really mean?

Does it matter if your community has thousands of members, but what are they doing with their community? Similar to the late 1990s this smells like a land grab strategy – go out and grab the eyeballs and then figure out what to do with them. This did not work in the late 90s and it certainly will not work in today’s business. More than ever our cyber attention span is pulled thinner and thinner. At the same time, joining communities and other cyber groups are easier and easier, one or two mouse clicks and voila you are now part of ABC community or XYZ network. You will get push emails or text messages on a regular basis and what will you do? Most likely ignore them. So what does that mean for the company looking to leverage that community?

So we need to measure and highlight better measures for the success and value of a community. Could you leverage financial ratio type measures? Why not? No one looks simply at overall revenue when looking at a company’s finances, that would not give a good overview of the health of a business…I am sure I would have great revenues if I gave everyone a brand new dollar bill for $0.50 back in return, too bad my margins and business would not be so healthy. Ratios like inventory turns or ROI or ROA to measure the health of our business – why not have similar ratios to the health of our communities?

A ratio of unique comments over total members – your community might only have 70 members but have a high rate of comments and discussions. Or percent of members that are active – who have start a conversation or commented over a certain time span. Potentially member click through per postings.

Bottom line, if you are a community manager think about how to  better measure the success and impact of your community. Simple membership numbers is akin to only looking at a company’s revenue figure, does not tell you the true health and success of your organization.

Remember – revenue is vanity, profit is sanity. Determine how that works for your community


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Jive World 2010 – the Social CRM revolution will be tweeted

Last week I was able to go to San Francisco to attend Jive’s annual event – Jive World 2010. For those of you that are not familiar with Jive Software they position themselves as “first in social business.” Basically they provide a platform to allow businesses take the plunge into social media. They allow clients to build collaborative environments for their clients, build blogs, communities and manage collaboration from both an internal and external stand point. Basically they bring together functionality from Facebook, Word Press, Wikipedia and YouTube to name a few onto one platform. Now that is not necessarily a good thing, sometimes when we try to do everything we do nothing well.

The event was very informative, raised some great questions and at times felt like 1999 all over again.

Some thoughts from the event:

  • Lots of discussion about building communities via the Jive platform. Companies from Charles Schwab to RIM talked about how they leveraged the platform to grow their communities. The surprising fact was the large number of firms that were leveraging the platform for internal facing communities. The communities were leveraged for collaboration, idea sharing and simplifying the access to the information captured within a corporation. However this ability to collaborate and share thoughts and ideas seems limited to the safety of a company’s 4 walls. Understandable, I think this reflects companies hesitation to open too much of the proverbial kimono. Clearly there remains great opportunity for companies to start embracing these ideas with external communities.
  • Jive Software is following Picasso’s tenant – “Good artists create, great artists steal.” The UI smells very much like Facebook, the app store…looks like iTunes just to name two examples. Why not! As consumers we have been trained by these consumer applications and why should our behavior change in the work world? Jive is smart enough to not reinvent the wheel. It is interesting to see a continuation of the consumer facing technology leading the way when it comes to delivery method, UI and overall advancement of technology.
  • The exuberance from main stage and the conference was strong. It almost felt like 1999 all over again. Buyer beware. Ok I will admit that I lived through the heady days of the internet revolution and saw the incredible highs – remember NASDAQ 10,000 being a possibility?? I do get a little skeptical when I hear the similar spin…reading about “social media revolution” about to take off …is something that makes me chuckle. Jive is onto something, but at some level it is a continuation of what started with the advent of Netscape. The ability to lower the barriers to communicate, collaborate and interact because of apps, high speed access, mobile and all the other electronic tools that have become a part of our every day lives.

Jive is an interesting play in the market, they deserve a look from anyone that sees collaboration and communities as important to their business…and that is most businesses! Are they the clear cut leader, according to Gartner and Forrester they are a leader but there remains other players to keep an eye on.

I will dive in deeper on some topics that came from the conference:

  • Is privacy dead?
  • How to best measure community success?
  • What does the mobile side of social media mean?

Just some themes that I heard during my time in San Francisco.

If you attended feel free to send me some of your thoughts and ideas!

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Filed under Marketing, Online Community, Social media