Online Community Vibrancy – What Does it Take?

blog-BT-CommunityVibrancyBestPracticesOnline branded communities have become mainstream with companies of all kinds leveraging them to help support their overall business and growth objectives. The majority of branded communities are designed to serve at least one if not all three of purposes: to provide user support, to compile feedback and to foster advocacy. While starting an online community to help build your brand is an important project, maintaining a community that has engaged members, vibrant discussions and a sustainable membership it is not a simple task. Ongoing attention and care to ensure community vibrancy is crucial to your success.

ComBlu was recently commissioned by Lithium Technologies to conduct a research study on the hallmarks and best practices in community vibrancy. Our study examined a blend of qualitative and quantitative measures that focused on the four primary areas of vibrancy best practices:

icon-Engagement Engagement: The interactions online community members have with the brand, each other or persons outside the community on behalf of the brand and/or its mission
icon-ContentExperience Content Experience: The textual, visual or aural content that is encountered as part of the members user experience
icon-Gamification Gamification: The infusion of game design techniques, game mechanics and/or game style into the member rewards and recognition program
Icon-CommunityManagement Community Management: Strategies and efforts that work to build, grow and manage an online community

Weighting for each area was determined by their contribution to overall community vibrancy as established by ComBlu’s proprietary scorecard developed for our own annual State of Branded Online Communities study.

The study targeted 90 mature branded online communities that provided membership without requiring specific product registration information or prior purchase. Industry verticals included in the study were: High Tech Software, High Tech Hardware, Consumer Service Product, Retail, Gaming, Consumer Electronics, Financial Services, Travel and Professional.

The study identified several key areas that have the largest impact on vibrancy when not properly executed. Over the next couple of weeks, we will examine these areas and offer findings and insights from our study. The first part of our community blog series will focus on the role of content in community vibrancy.

More to follow, so check back periodically – we are sure you won’t want to miss it.

Brenda Todd
Brenda Todd

Social engagement and community manager specialist. Current focus on: online communities, community management, consumer/advocate content and engagement strategy, advocate identification, social media measurement and tracking, and social listening programs, along with production and event management. Brenda has 18+ years of experience in both traditional and social marketing programs

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