Monday, June 19, 2006

Myspace and B2B Customer Communities

Anya Kamenetz offers a nice overview of the fact and future of online social networks--the broader definition of customer communities—in her article.

In fact, it's hard to overstate the coming impact of these new network technologies on business: They hatch trends and build immense waves of interest in specific products. They serve giant, targeted audiences to advertisers. They edge out old media with the loving labor of amateurs. They effortlessly provide hyperdetailed data to marketers. If your customers are satisfied, networks can help build fanatical loyalty; if not, they'll amplify every complaint until you do something about it.
Don’t be fooled by statements like this:
"Social networking isn't a product or, God forbid, a company, but a feature that lives in service of some other mission," says Bradley Horowitz, head of technology development for Yahoo. "The spirit of social computing is the concept of leaving value in your wake."
Customer Communities are about “leaving value in your wake.” This doesn’t mean that there can’t be a financial reason for a community. I would argue that the community MUST have a self-serving purpose and that purpose MUST be very obvious.

Kids see the ads on their Myspace pages. They get the cost and the stakes (neither high at all). We must do the same in our Business to Business customer communities. Make it easy for members to be valuable to others, make it clear what you’re up to, and get out of the way.

Thanks to Miles Sims via The Bootstrap Network.

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