This is the third part of my notes from the Hyper-Social Summit sponsored by the Human 1.0 Network. It is based on research conducted by Francois Gossieaux of the Human 1.0 Network and Ed Moran, Director of Innovation at Deloitte. I will highlight some of the key findings that were presented. Their book, The Hyper-Social Organization, covers this research in more detail.
There was a wide range of companies involved in the study: 22% had revenues over 1 billion and 32% had revenues under a million. The smallest group was the 500 million to 1 billion revenue group which accounted for only 2% of the sample. Within the sample 56% were considered B2B, 23% B2C, 9% were nonprofits and 2% were government.
There was also a range of experience with 14% having communities up for more than three years and 24% less than 6 months and fairly even representation in between. The size ranged from 26% less than 100 members to 11% with over 50,000 members.
Francois pointed out that the dynamics of pilot will be different than a large scale implementation so be careful with pilot results – 53% did pilot and 47% did not. A community can be successful either way. Many piloted their external communities internally so the results might not be relevant on many levels.
There was a wide range of objectives for the communities: 50% served marketing research, 46% were PR related, 45% had branding objectives, 43% provided thought leadership, 39% supported reputation management, 32% provided customer support, 28% provided lead generation, and the same number supported knowledge management.
Marketing was by far the most function engaged in the development of a community with participation in 79% of the communities. Next, was IT at 37% and sales at 36%, followed by knowledge management at 22% and legal at 17%. Similar results occurred for community management with 53% marketing, PR and community development at 11%.
These results suggest a strong external focus and that was the case with %*% externally focused, 10% internally, and 28% hybrid. Within the external and hybrid communities 81% were customers focused, 49% were prospect focused, and 37% were partner focused.
There was often a mismatch between goals and implementation. There can be too much marketing focus when non-marketing goals have been generated. Related to this finding, there have been too many programs around products rather than audience.
The objectives considered most successful were: generate more word-of-mouth 40%, increase brand awareness 27%, increase customer loyalty 25%, bring outside ideas into the organization 24%, and improve customer support quality 23%. The least successful was to increase sales at 22% of the respondents. At the same this was the leading measured used for success at 38% followed by increase leads at 33% and generate awareness at 28%.
Success factors included: ability to connect with like minded people 50% and ability to help others 45%. The findings stressed the importance of social factors for success and secondary importance of other incentives.
The biggest obstacles were getting people to engage 66%, getting people to come back 42%, and attracting people 42%. The number of active people varies as to whether you can rely on user-generated content. Only 25% deployed external people to develop content and 65% did have internal people develop content. A big factor is the level of passion. However, a community should still have some professional generated content to seed it and direct it.
The investment were mostly modest with 68% spending less than $50,000 a year on the community and 16% between 50 and 200k. Most community were managed by employees 84% and only 8% out sourced. The investment in management was also modest as 51% have less than one FTE and 16% deploy 1 FTE. Looking ahead, 50% plan to increase investment and 45% stated than the level of investment will stay the same. Looking at what types of investments will increase they found that 85% will increase time, and 68% will increase funding. In addition, 68% will invest in content development and 58% will increase their marketing efforts for the community.
These trends indicate that companies do perceive they are getting value from the communities as only 5% plan to decrease investment. However, communities are still primarily driven by marketing goals and some are really marketing programs with little social components or focus. There is often a disconnect between objectives and success factors. The companies are missing the value that can be derived from strong leadership as only 45% indentified leaders within the community.
While there is some success, there is a lot of room for improvement by injecting a greater social focus into the communities. This is very consistent with then theme of the event. It is the human much more than the technical that will make a community work. Communities will be a major component of company’s success going forward. The winners will realize that these are human networks and act in this framework.