Unfortunately, many organizations start their thinking too late in the process and end their planning too soon.
The true business goals of online customer communities can get lost in the planning process. All too often, companies focus more on creating an active, thriving community at the expense of first developing a well-thought-out plan for integrating the online community into their business.
Considering most companies are launching an online community for the first time, this is an understandable problem. It’s perfectly natural that the focus is on creating a functioning and health community, because this is a very involved process and that goal is often easier to define and measure.
Here’s the problem, though: simply developing a thriving community isn’t going to lead to improved business performance.
Focusing on community management personal and processes before settling on an online community strategy causes many companies to throw their hands up and declare that their private online customer community isn’t “working.” Often, projects stall before they get off the ground because the business outcomes and how their will come to fruition are not clear to executive stakeholders. Their goals aren’t achieved because they weren’t well-outlined in the first place.
So, how can you make sure your customer community will be sustainable, as well as serve a bigger purpose for your organization? The solution requires changing your approach to building an online community. Rather than starting with plans for how to create an active community, design your online community with a greater business-level end game in mind.