Customer Communities - Utilization, Traffic and Engagement - what works?
Interested in hearing from those of you who have set up online Customer and/or Partner Communities.
I've been looking at the traffic patterns for many community sites and it often appears that companies are able to drive an initial spike of traffic when the Community is first launched (probably owing to the curiosity factor of customers wanting to 'check it out') - but in many cases then see traffic fall off quite significantly beyond that point.
Have you experienced this? What does your company do to foster ONGOING engagement and participation in your community(s)?
Also would love to hear from those of you who have opened up your communities to non-customers, and particularly any companies that have used tactics such as search marketing to bring traffic and participation from outside your existing customer base. How has that worked out?
Michael Odom(Information Technology Consultant)
In my personal experiences with customer communities and fostering involvement; most of the time it truly is a beginning fad for the users. The trick that I have found is to make sure your community can be easily linked into the plethora of communities that your customers are most likely already a part of. Through these links (APIs) you can essentially poke your customers every now and then to provoke more engagement.
The best setup I've found is allowing the user's of a customer community the ability to log in using either their Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter (and even import their profiles). People don't want to have to go to the information, they want the information to come to them. This setup is fairly easy and will generally net you more returns.