On Wednesday, we all came together for another monthly Tweet Jam -- this time to discuss how to grow and engage customer communities. Sure, it sounds simple enough but we wanted to dig deeper to learn what really goes into developing and managing opportunities for customer engagement. Since there were lots of questions, we've separated our recap into two parts. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

The Collective Community

Customer communities are great, but only if they drive organizational success. What does that mean, exactly? It means getting everyone involved, from employees to stakeholders to customers and giving community managers the resources they need. As for who owns a community? If done correctly, it belongs to everyone and relies on everyone to help sustain it.


What Can Customer Communities Do For You?

Customer communities can provide many benefits to organizations. Of course, it depends on your organization's goals, but if set up and managed successfully, customer communities have the potential to provide businesses with feedback, crowdsourced content, idea generation, insights and best of all, the ability to form meaningful relationships, which can lead to long term customer loyalty. While customer communities can definitely provide valuable information, it really does depend on how organizations choose to use the insights they've gained.


The Measure of People

There are a few schools of thoughts when it comes to metrics. One says "tell me why you want a customer community and we'll tell you what to measure," while another says all communities are about people and you can't measure people -- you can only evaluate the quality of the relationship. However, if you really have to measure something, most participants say if you can figure out how communities are driving revenue, you'll be on the right track.



Add Value, Encourage Engagement

Want to know the secret to successful communities? It's about adding value. Does your community add value to the customer experience? Is it providing valuable insights to the company? Of course, what's of value is in the eye of the beholder. For some, it's unique content and opportunities for further engagement. For others, it's a place where questions are answered promptly, feedback is welcomed and conversations drive engagement.



On the Path to Community Success

So far, so good. Things are looking up for customer communities. They must be people-centric, focused on adding value and have the potential for providing businesses with insights. But as we'll explore in part two, there are challenges ahead!