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Social can be daunting for businesses. It's tough to get your arms around the basic concepts and figure out where to get started. To help jumpstart your journey to learning more about online communities, browse our toolkit to understand the basics.
The broad adoption of social media by consumers has created a great opportunity for organizations to use social media for business, hence the term "social business". Online communities support social business. A community is an online hub where people with shared interests can communicate, get support, build relationships and be recognized using today's most popular social media applications.
Keep in mind that online communities are different from social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. The purpose of social networks is for people to build relationships based on common interests. For example, Facebook helps the class of 2012 stay connected after graduation. In contrast, online communities have a business objective, and relationships enable these business objectives to be achieved. For example, online communities help Dell support its customers by connecting product experts to people who need help. Customers receive better, faster service while also uncovering new information about Dell's products.
People have different names for carbonated beverages: soda, pop, soda pop and coke among them. How would you classify a Sprite or a Coca-Cola? Your answer may depend on your geographical location, the name you grew up hearing or simply the name that you think sounds best. The same is true for online community. The use of social media for business is evolving, so there isn't one designated name that everyone uses to describe the concept or the software that supports it. Instead, numerous names have been thrown into the mix to describe different types of private and public communities:
Online communities enable interaction between people who have shared interests. Common features of online community software include:
Organizations use online communities for a variety of reasons. How you use online community will depend on your business objectives. Here are some of the top use cases by community type:
The Essential Steps to Community Success by Forrester
Learn Forrester's strategies for addressing your customers' digital activity and preferences for communication and engagement. This report includes: four steps for creating a social community strategy, five key elements for executing your social strategy, and recent data on consumer preferences and buying behavior in social networks and communities.
Social 101 eBook
Social can be daunting for businesses. It's tough to get your arms around the basic concepts and figure out where to get started. To help jumpstart your journey to learning more about the social ecosystem, flip through our Social 101 eBook.
Social Media Guidelines
Our social media guidelines are designed to empower employees to engage in social media channels while holding steadfast to our core values. They can be adapted to fit any organization's social strategy. Also, check out the social media guidelines from these leading organizations:
Customer Success Story: Dell TechCenter
Read how Dell delivers exceptional customer service on a global scale before, during and after the sale. With more than 300,000 monthly community visitors, it increased community Web traffic 30%, increased sales and improved its product R&D processes.
Customer Success Story: Titleist
See how Titleist engages its brand enthusiasts to discuss golf gear, games and advice. It grew its member base 5x over within one year resulting in a social community for product research and brand engagement that moves the needle in the right direction.
Customer Success Story: AICPA
Learn how AICPA launched This Way to CPA, an online community for college accounting students to network, share information and learn more about the accounting profession. Engagement among members is high; 57% of visitors return to the site and 67% of community members become AICPA members.
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