Online Community Roundtable @ SAP: Wrap up

A big thanks to Mario Herger and Mark Finnern from SAP for hosting the group, and for their continued support and participation.

We had a really great turn out, and lively discussion.

First, we are relaxing the “soft NDA” policy quite a bit. We are now asking participants to let other attendees know what shouldn’t be blogged about. This will allow (I hope) a lot more content to come out of the sessions.

We always start the roundtables with a cocktail hour. During this time, we encourage folks who are going to lead a discussion to sign up “on the big board”. Last night’s topics included:

  • Community Net Promoter Scores
    A discussion of the artice The One Number You Need to Grow,” by Frederick Reichheld. Should community managers use net promoter scores to asses teh health of their communities? The discussion concluded that this was a helpful indicator, but that it should be used with other quanatative and qualatative data. Interesting article that responds to Reichhel’s article here:
  • Building bridges to Academia
    Community managers might be interested in connecting with academics studying social media, social netowrks and specific measures of activity and value. This will only work if your org feel comfortable opening up your metrics to outsiders.
  • How to Kick start a community, I hear it’s hard
    A discussion about how to grow a community, and how to determine logical target size. The interesting bit for me was the various measures of customer base vs. community membership. These ranged from 1% to 25%.
  • The road to vibrancy
    This session was combined with the session above. On the fly. Mashup-style. Becuase that’s how we roll at the roundtable.
  • Injecting “controversy” within the community –Why it’s not always bad
    I had a hard time following this discussion, but I think the net of it was that sometimes it’s an interesting marketing tactic to intentionally stir up contreversy in order to feature your service or product. The discussion also went in to the idea of tolerance around controversial content and personalities in a community (encouraged).
  • Scaling Community
    This discussion revisited the previous topic around logical community size, and techniques to scale up membership, participation and content.

Other Interesting tidbits:

Time / value as a metric: This applies to “hanging out” on news pages, twitter, or in virtual worlds. A proposed metrics around time invested, vs value returned per minute. I have no idea how you would quantify value (maybe member self-reporting?), but I found this though-provoking.

Logical community size: How do you determine a logical community size for a community? Having an existing customer base is helpful, but what about startups that are soley focused on growing communities? What is the equation to determine this? I generally advise clients with existing customer bases that 1-10% of base converting registered membership is great. This is mostly based on my experience.

Aesthetics for Social Applications: I’m a recovering UX guy at heart, so when the discussion turns to design, I’m all ears. Christina Wodtke made a really great point that succesful social applications tend to have a “signs of life” feature, which is essentially a news feed of activity. Think facebook or twitter.

Corporate Rebels DO get it: I would hazard to guess that there are “pockets of resistance” in even the most stodgy corporate environments that are doing everything they can to connect the org and the customer through social experiences. I keep hearing that most companies “don’t get it”. Ok, sure. This keeps those of us consulting in the community / social media space in business. But I constantly meet people at these supposed clueless corporations who are fighting tooth and nail to get the execs to listen. These are my peeps, as I count myself as one of their lot while I was at Autodesk. The fact that we had 15 people who were mostly from these “clueless companies” spending time after hours discussing how to better serve their respective communities gives me hope that we are on the right track.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the amazing discussions last night.

Jeremiah O blogged about this as well on the Web Strategist blog. (highly recommend / read it daily)

We created an Online Community Roundtable group on Facebook.

3 responses to “Online Community Roundtable @ SAP: Wrap up”

  1. […] networks, and widgets, I’ll give the attendees a choice to get their hand on the report. Bill Johnston the organizer since 2005 has the details on how you can attend. A few rules, no vendor pitches, and there’s a ’soft NDA’ where much of the […]

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