The next key component is the initial launch. At this point, knowing when, why, and what you plan on launching should be defined. It needs to be coordinated and well executed. You have one shot to bring users in, spark their interest, and entice them to come back. A poorly designed site is one that does not take the users’ needs into account or whose applications detour rather than attract. An initial launch needs to have a plan to help and support users. Users need to know what to do and where to go when the site works and if the site doesn’t work. The only way to speak directly to your users needs is to get the requirements directly from them. Additionally, very site needs FAQs, training information, users support groups and a direct link for technical support. Viral or otherwise you want to keep users on the site and doing what you want them to do.
Because not all users are equal or always behave the way you would like them to, you need to have analytics set up with your site. This will gauge the success of your strategy. When you are implementing analytics, determine your KPIs, as these will help support an ROI discussion when you need to justify, enhance or upgrade your site as time goes on.
Users typically fall into a framework nicely captured in Forrester’s Social Media Ladder. http://convenienceoversophistication.com/post/178898247/the-social-technologies-ladder-forester-research *
A user strategy determines how you plan to engage them in order to move up the ladder. Some key user groups such as subject matter experts, reference accounts, or product /service user groups may need to move quicker than others. If the movement does not happen on its own, it’s important to have a usage strategy that is both a push and pull. This accounts for top down, bottom-up and sideways-in users and aligns with your overall strategy.
(*It is important to customize this ladder by labeling each key area with the activities that are enabled in your specific site. Then when you develop your KPIs, you will have a means of understanding if your community is thriving or not).
Join me next time as I talk about key roles in your community.
Noreen Poli is product manager and consultant at Ready, Set, Go Social! Her projects range from award winning methodologies to end-to-end mobile gamified applications. Her background in product management is enhanced by experience in user research, analytics, human behavior, and social giving her a unique skill-set custom made for this era of realtime analytics and personalized products.