Archive for January, 2012
Whilst a lot of Community Managers focus on community growth (and that’s not a bad thing) there’s another dimension they need to be aware of, especially if you are a one-man band in your organisation. What do your growth plans look like internally if your community suddenly experiences an influx of new users or your organisation expands in to new markets?
Chances are your community will have a core language or target audience based on location. Adding new language support or trying to entice new users from a different territory will need a change of focus. Do you expand your internal team to meet this new requirement? If so, what does the reporting structure and process look like? Who focuses on the tactical and who on the strategic? Do you expand with a new recruit for each new market or language?
Do these new recruits sit in the same office as you or do they work remotely / in local territory offices? These are a few of the questions that I may be faced with in the future as the company expands and looks at new markets. My experience at EA may well have shaped my responses to the above questions but the setup they had there worked well; local CMs for the major territories based in the local territority offices, weekly status calls and yearly offsite symposiums to discuss strategy. Having them based in local territory offices meant they were in a better position to cater to local users and potentially bridge that gap with offline events.
Each organisation and each community is different but the main focus has to remain on the user and what will give them the best experience.
I’m starting to notice a major difference between B2B and B2C communities and when asked the other day to sit down and think about Gamification elements for a B2B community I spent a lot of time staring in to space. The biggest hurdle for me to overcome was the one that goes “is it worth it?”. Gamification for me is about enhancing the experience of users, setting challenges to encourage participation, risk and reward along with gaining the ability to brag about how much better you are.
But what about B2B? If your community only connects on a [user - brand] level and not [user-user] because it’s all business focused then some elements of Gamification become null and void. Bragging rights don’t really work but leaderboard might, ranks and levels for contributions aren’t as fulfilling if users aren’t going to engage with each other, rewards have to be geared towards B2B like discounts on account renewals and overall it becomes a shadow of a former glory.
Don’t get me wrong it can still work, and I’ll be working to try and prove that but when compared with some of the cool stuff you can do in B2C communities, it just isn’t quite the same, at least from where I’m sitting. If anyone has had success with Gamification in a B2B environment then I’m all ears but from this side of the table, I’m not sure the effort involved would generate enough of a return for the business.