Social Communities, not just Social Media

Today, over 1 billion people use social in one form or another. And did you know that social accounts for 25% of the time we spend online? There are tons of other great stats that talk about how important social is, but I don't have to tell you because most of you already understand the enormous impact of social.

Instead, what I want to highlight is what happens in all of these social channels because of another interesting statistic – 50% of people that spend time in social channels update content monthly. That's at least 500 million people; and it is creating a massive amount of data. 

And if you are a business (no matter the size), it is the data that you should care about:

  • Who owns the data being created? When your brand is discussed on Facebook, it is actually Facebook who owns that discussion.
  • How is that data being used? If you aren't tapping into the social conversations your customers are having, you are missing a significant opportunity.

One of my predictions for 2013 is that businesses (both small and large) will re-think how and where they deploy their social investments. Specifically, I believe that investments will shift from consumer-facing social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) back towards their own public, on-domain communities. Why?

  1. Data is valuable: Businesses are recognizing that the data their consumers create is invaluable. Take for instance, the recent flap with Instagram that highlighted a concern.
  2. Consumers expect online customer service: According to Forrester, 70% of online consumers expect companies to try harder to provide superior online customer service. So just think, if they are getting that customer service elsewhere, the brand is missing an interaction opportunity that the customer expects.
  3. Your website is your #1 sales resource: While people may not start at your website, it is still where they expect to go to find authoritative information about your products, services and capabilities.

Social communities create experiences that your customers can have with your brand, and in the end, you keep all of the data created during those interactions. Plus, with the right social community, you can drive more traffic to your site and still integrate with the consumer-facing social channels that will continue to be important (such as Facebook).

Interested in learning directly from companies that have social communities? Dell is a great example of a company that is delivering exceptional customer service on a global scale through its social community. Take a look at Dell’s case study to learn more.

[Community image source:] Big Stock Photo