2.3.2 Social media performance potential community usage format: Application

Learning objective social media performance potential community: The following content will enable you to

  • Understand communities as a social media usage format and
  • Assess the potential and limitations of communities for developing a social media strategy.
  • assess the performance of social media channels for the community usage format more competently and thus avoid bad investments.

Important Note: This section serves as an introduction to the use of communities from a strategic perspective. It does not replace a profound education on this topic and is definitely not sufficient to develop communities based on it.

Reading time: approx. 30 minutes

Exercises: Exercises are in the PDF of all exercises of this course. Download it from here.

Application

The topic Social Media Performance Potential Application Community deals with the use of a community from a strategic perspective.

  • The goal is to be able to recognize and use the performance potential of a community for strategy development.
  • This section is not an instruction manual for building and deploying a community in social media, as it only covers strategically relevant topics.

We define how we specifically shape our community within our social media strategy in the strategy component Usage Formats. Here we determine the basis for the application of the community as part of the strategy. We clarify the question of whether a community is generally possible for our social media strategy in the social media affinity of our markets and topics.

We define the concept of the community in the strategy component usage format so that we also sufficiently take into account all the tasks from the strategy and the interactions of the individual strategy components with their effects on the usage formats – in this case, the community – as well as the effects of the community’s decisions on the other strategy components.

The business character of the community of a company

Building a community for a business is different from building a community without primary economic goals. The company’s community serves clear economic goals and is accordingly geared towards this performance. If we ignore or neglect the economic nature of a company’s community, the economic benefits possible with the community are jeopardized.

Companies and communities certainly pursue identical goals in only a few cases. Users are in their communities to pursue their interests (user interests), companies run communities to pursue company interests. And these interests usually differ.

It is the task of the community management or the person responsible for the community to harmonize the interests of the users and the interests of the company to such an extent that the community is and remains attractive for both sides.

Business goals of a community

As addressed in the basics of using a community, the community is suitable for business objectives

  • around market development, processing and securing.
  • in the context of supporting corporate functions
  • to ensure the company’s competitiveness in social media and beyond.
  • To support and secure the existing business model
  • in the context of building new business models.

Markets are topics. By occupying topics through communities, we secure a privileged position in the market – not least because we enjoy the support of social media users in securing this position through the function of a community and can also have access to customers of competitors through a successful topic community.

Corporate functions can be supported by social media users. In addition to the classic from the customer service environment, there are approaches for communities at the level of corporate communication and market communication, but sales or market research also benefit from appropriately designed communities.

The competitiveness of a company benefits from competitive advantages. The ability to bind the market and the topics contained therein to one’s own platform constitutes a communicative competitive advantage from which tangible economic benefits can be derived.

Business models can benefit from communities in several ways – always provided that the circumstances allow the use of a community. In addition to securing and intensifying customer relationships, I believe that communication about value propositions, their advantages and disadvantages, and the evaluation of company services is a very interesting benefit of a community – both for improving one’s own performance and because of the support that can be more easily provided by social media users in a community. Not to mention the possibility of direct – and exclusive – contact for questions and discussions about value propositions or services.

Community Targets

In order for a community to achieve economic goals, it must be successful as a community – in other words, it must provide users with benefits and enjoyment. This cannot and should not obscure the central purpose of existence. It also makes little sense to obfuscate this raison d’être for users. It makes more sense to ensure a clear benefit for the user and to ensure this consistently and permanently.

A community is a much more complex structure than an audience. This results in a much more complex target structure for a community. The target levels of activity (of the users), networking, participation and, last but not least, motivation require, in addition to the reach and the user benefit and the company benefit, suitable target systems that should be understood and applied as information and advance warning systems.

The practical application of community as a component of strategy development has two levels. Primarily, it’s about decisions made to build and operate a community as part of a social media strategy. In addition, there are strategically relevant elements of implementation that we should not ignore.

Decisions

If we use the community usage format in our strategy development, a number of decisions result. In these decisions, we define the nature and type of our community and determine what contribution the community should make to the company’s success.

Overview of the decision-making levels

To build and use our community, we need decisions at the following levels:

  • Markets and topics
  • Company goals
  • CorporateBenefits
  • Range
  • Target groups
  • User benefit
  • Contents and sources
  • Motivation
  • Participation
  • Community platform(s) and channels
  • Community functions
  • Community Management
  • Company resources

In practice, I recommend documenting precisely for each decision-making level which decisions were made with which contents based on which criteria and when. In addition, it is highly recommended that recognizable effects of individual decisions on other areas and strategy components are defined and also documented.

Although this is a bit more work at the beginning, it prevents content incompatibilities of the Community usage format with other strategy components.

Markets and topics

  • That‘s what we have to decide: we determine for which topics – and thus also for which markets – we build a community.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of decision: with the markets and topics we define the field in which we use social media for our company.
  • Information basis: management decision, social media affinity of markets and topics.
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: With the decision to deploy a community in one or more markets, we simultaneously define a key factor in the competitive performance of our social media strategy that is difficult to change later. We can build a structural competitive advantage (temporary nature) with this decision(opportunity). The decision for a community in certain markets and topic areas results in extensive requirements for other contents of our social media strategy and for the resources we need for the successful implementation of the strategy on a permanent basis. Deficiencies in these points involve serious risks for the success of the community and thus of the social media strategy and competitiveness in social media.
  • Impact of the decision: strategic, because it defines the markets to be addressed by this usage format.

Company goals

Corporate goals are goals at the level of the business model.

  • That’s what we have to decide: we define the business goals to be supported by or achieved through the community. As measurable variables with KPI quality.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of the decision: the community is designed and operated to achieve the company’s goals. Goals that are not supported by this part of the social media strategy (usage format) must either be met elsewhere or are not supported by social media.
  • Information basis: performance potential community, business model requirements and other strategic corporate goals.
  • Chances and risks of the decision: we make decisions that can be difficult to correct later and that affect the benefit of the complete social media strategy for the company.
  • Impact of the decision: Alignment of social media strategy and usage format.

CorporateBenefits

CorporateBenefit defines how we achieve corporate goals in social media.

For example, if gaining new customers is a business goal that we support with the community, our business benefit describes how we support or realize this goal in social media. In other words, how and from where we generate leads / prospects in our community and how we transfer these prospects into the company’s processes for acquiring new customers.

  • This is what we have to decide: The business value we need to generate to achieve defined business goals for our community and the methods we use to ensure the business value derived from the business goals from the community.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of the decision: We define how the company specifically benefits from social media – here in the case of the community usage format. The definition of the company benefit as a strategy component also forms the bridge of the strategy into the day-to-day work. A business benefit that we do not define in concrete terms runs the risk of not being achieved in day-to-day work.
  • Information basis: social media strategy and corporate goals
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: A business benefit that we do not define in concrete terms runs the risk of not being achieved in day-to-day work (risk). Through concretely defined corporate benefits, we ensure the implementation of the social media strategy and here in particular the alignment with the corporate goals in day-to-day work. We can review each activity based on its impact / contributions to business benefits.
  • Impact of the decision: Integrating the social media strategy into day-to-day work. Ensure social media supports business goals.

Range

  • This is what we have to decide: the reach we want / need to achieve with our community in order to realize the desired impact for our business goals.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of the decision: Reach represents the scope of the impact we want to / can achieve with social media.
  • Information basis: company goals in the market, customer base, market share goals
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: If we do not align our social media goal for reach with the corporate goals, we disconnect social media from supporting the corporate goals in this point (scope of service) (risk). By clearly linking social media reach goals to corporate goals for market reach (market share), we ensure that our social media goals are aligned with the desired level of support for our corporate goals.
  • Impact of the decision: crucial specification for the social media strategy and the day-to-day work in social media with which we define the extent to which social media supports the company’s goals.

Target groups

  • That’s what we have to decide: the target groups we want to reach and work with our community.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of decision: the target group is a crucial orientation for the development and design of the community due to its preferences, needs and behavior. At the same time, it is a yardstick against which we can measure the success of the community.
  • Information basis: marketing, market research, business model
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: clear specifications for the target groups we want to reach with social media – and here with our usage format Community – reduce the scatter effect. With the Community usage format, we can more easily identify who our users are as part of our target audience (opportunity) than with an Audience. If we fail to make this decision or are imprecise in doing so, we run the risk of building up a reach that contributes less to our company’s success (risk) but permanently ties up resources.
  • Impact of the decision: success-relevant decision that affects the quality of the reach and the success that is possible for the company as a result.

Competition

  • That’s what we have to decide: the competition we enter with our community in social media and, above all, the competitive position we want to achieve with and through our community – in social media.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of the decision: with the decision about our future competitive position with our community in social media, we define requirements and goals of this community, which require corresponding resources and competences.
  • Information basis: competitive situation in social media in the subject areas and usage format.
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: Targeting the community for a required competitive quality can result in a community with the quality of a competitive advantage for the company. However, the risk of overstretching (resources and especially expertise) should not be underestimated either.
  • Impact of the decision: the definition of the competitive position we want to achieve with our community defines the claim we have to realize with concept and execution of the community.

User benefit

  • That’s what we have to decide: the user benefit that we generate with our community for its members. The user benefit of a community results on the one hand from the community and on the other hand from the topics. It is advantageous if it is possible to position the user benefits of the community – via the topics – as far as possible not too far away from the services of the company. This does not mean, however, that we are trying hard to construct a user benefit that is as close as possible to the company’s performance. The primary criterion of the user benefit is its attractiveness for the user. The second criterion for the user benefit is its reach in the intended target groups. If we would only insufficiently reach our target groups with an excellent UserBenefit, we have to extend this UserBenefit with additional benefits with which we bridge this gap.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of the decision: the user benefit is a success-relevant element in the strategy, which defines whether and which success we have. UserBenefits that do not prevail in competition do not contribute to the success of the community. How attractive the user benefit is for desired target groups of our community defines the scope of possible success through the community.
  • Information base: behavior, wishes and needs of our target groups in the context of the topics of our community.
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: The best user benefit is not helpful if it does not interest our target group. An only marginally relevant UserBenefit also enables only a marginal impact by our community. When making our decision, we must therefore not only consider the quality of the user benefit, but also the quantity – in the form of relevance for target groups / markets.
  • Effects of the decision: Relevant to success. Convincing user benefits are competitive advantages. In addition, the relevance of user utility is a critical point that we easily overlook. If a user benefit does not match our target groups / markets / topics, we may be successful in a field we did not want to play in the first place.

Contents and sources

  • That’s what we have to decide: The essential content of a community is produced by the users through their activities. A content contribution of the company lies in current content and topics that promote user activity and user generated content, i.e. initial content. The sources of initial content should have appropriate experience.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of decision:
  • Information base: Topics of our community, topics of our markets and our target groups.
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: Initial content can stimulate the activity of social media users. With initial content, however, we should be very careful to avoid the risk of “populating” communities with too much editorial content.
  • Effects of the decision: a wrongly dosed handling of initial content bears the risk of quickly turning our community into an audience of more or less networked but inactive users.

Motivation

  • That’s what we have to decide: The nature of the motivation and the motivational structures of the community
  • Strategic importance and decision criteria: Communities thrive on activity. Motivation for activity is therefore relevant to success. The nature of motivation has a direct impact on the style and character of our community. The use of motivational systems can scale the impact of motivation – compared to manual motivation or ad hoc motivation. Motivation, and motivation systems in particular, can become a differentiator and a competitive advantage.
  • Information basis: needs and behavior of our target groups
  • Chances and risks of the decision: Motivation is a sensitive level. Conceptual and technical errors can cause the opposite of the desired success.
  • Impact of the decision: scaling effect on success.

Participation

  • This is what we have to decide: Type and extent of user participation within our community.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of decision:
  • Information basis: needs and behavior of our users / target groups
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: Participation means involvement and co-design. This is always fraught with risk. Companies that function more hierarchically and are control-oriented are quickly overwhelmed with the development of genuine participation offerings and easily generate offerings that are ignored or viewed critically by users.
  • Impact of the decision: In addition to the economic impact on the cost of running a community, we also see the market impact that can be made through user participation – in building and growing the community, as well as in working to create daily benefits for the community’s users. User-driven communities are also significantly more credible than purely corporate-driven communities.
  • Recommendation: Create an overview of the tasks that have to be performed within a community by the operator and compare these tasks with what can be performed by users of the community and what necessarily prevents users from performing these tasks. Think of tasks with a market and external impact as well as tasks with an internal focus. This approach gives you an additional view of user engagement and its impact.

Community platform(s) and channels

  • We have to decide that: we determine on which technical platform and via which social media channels we build and operate our community. The technical platform on which we operate our community does not necessarily have to be identical to the social media platforms through which we build and communicate our community. The reason for separating the community platform and social media channels can be the insufficient equipment of important social media channels for the operation of a community or the avoidance of dependence on an external provider. In cases where a technical platform/community and social media channels are separated as communication channels, it is not least a question of user benefit whether this approach is sufficiently successful. A weak benefit will do little to motivate users to jump to a community beyond the social media channel they currently use.
  • Strategic importance and decision criteria: Platforms and channels define what we can achieve with our community and how far an intended community can be successful.
  • Information basis: performance potential of the relevant social media channels, technical and conceptual requirements for the community platform based on the community’s specifications. Platform requirements for the platforms used and interaction of platforms.
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: We can integrate indispensable social media platforms with an independent social media infrastructure without becoming dependent on the operators of the external social media channels and without being hampered by their restrictions. However, we can also fail with this constellation due to an unclear use of the UserBenefit.
  • Impact of the decision: The decision affects the functions of the community as well as the success and thus the economic value of the community. The issue of the company’s dependency increases with the importance of the community for the company’s economic success.
  • Recommendation: In a situation that argues for the separation of community platform and social media channels and the notwith a superior user benefits If we are able to act as a “community of operators,” we should consider establishing an “operator community” on its own platform, which would then create and distribute content, communication, and user benefits for the external social media channels. In this situation, we will probably not be successful in attracting many users from external social media channels to our community platform. The hard core of the community can collaborate more effectively on the community platform, the less active users get the benefit where they are and can – adhoc or more frequently – also be active on the community platform. If many users use the community platform, this is anything but a disadvantage. If our assessment is confirmed, we will have a more powerful and attractive offering for users in the external social media platforms.

Community functions

  • We have to decide that: Every community needs a minimum of functions to be able to function as a community. The more powerful the features, the better for the community’s success. In addition, a set of functions may be relevant based on specific community topics and service areas – such as for specific forms of collaboration.
  • Strategic importance and decision criteria: If important functions are missing or insufficiently designed, this inhibits the development of the community, makes it vulnerable to competition and prevents the community’s potential success.
  • Information basis: social media competence of the community manager. Anyone who cannot create a convincing functional concept and define and justify the necessity and execution of the individual functions should not bear responsibility for a community.
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: Functions are the technical foundation of a community. So, by deciding on the features we use, we are defining an essential part of our community’s attractiveness and utility. The development of functions requires corresponding experience in design, production, maintenance and further development. If our functions do not meet the expectations of the target groups, user retention and user activity will be limited or even non-existent. Shift functions. If the functions and their use are not maintained, this is to the detriment of the development of the community.
  • Impact of the decision: Deficits in conceptual nature and technical implementation prevent a successful user experience for the users and a success of the community for the company.

Community Management

  • That’s what we have to decide: The organization, staffing and equipment of the community management. In the organization, we regulate not only the organization within community management but also the integration of community management within the company. In the staffing we decide on the scope of the staffing and on its expertise. In the equipment, we decide on the equipment with working tools and with budgets.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of the decision: the decisions have a direct impact on the chances of success of the community and the economic benefit of the community for the company. The criteria for deciding on the organizational integration of community management should correspond to the goals of the community and ensure the necessary freedom of design and independence from additional goals – beyond the corporate goals and social media goals – for the development and operation of the community. The criteria for staffing the community management team are based on the community to be developed and operated and the associated conceptual and technical requirements. The staffing of the community management team is based on the goals and content of the community.
  • Information base: Professional experience with communities and social media, especially the practical requirements from setting up and running communities, as well as the concept of community and related business objectives.
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: the quality of community management is an underestimated success factor. Effective community management is a competitive advantage when competing with rival communities. Weak community management also harms successful communities. In addition to technical competence, there are also risks in the organizational classification of community management. If community management is subordinate to functional areas with short-term interests – such as sales, VKF – or is integrated into functional areas that are accustomed to a different communicative orientation, there is a risk that community management will be influenced in favor of the goals of these functional areas. This can cause lasting damage to the development of the community.
  • Impact of the decision: inadequate community management jeopardizes the success of the community or the company’s benefit from the community.

Company resources

  • What we need to decide: Securing resources for the community – corporate resources and, if necessary, social media resources.
  • Strategic importance and criteria of the decision: without permanently securing corporate resources for the community, we run the risk of losing the impact of the community. Safeguarding should cover both the levels of financial resources and human resources and also take into account the risks of staff turnover.
  • Information basis: budget requirements, long-term budget security, personnel requirements and their permanent qualitative and quantitative security.
  • Opportunities and risks of the decision: With an unclear safeguarding of resources (“we’ll start there and then see”), a clear commitment of the company for this usage format is missing. This deficit can affect implementation and success (risk). A clear commitment ensures the staying power that structural development work in social media requires. This contributes – e.g. by enabling the permanent development of the community platform – to lasting success.
  • Impact of the decision: relevant to success – especially in terms of sustainability and duration of success.

Strategically relevant elements of implementation

Network effects and community building

To understand communities at their core, it helps to remember the differences between networks – such as the personal network that social media users maintain in corresponding platforms – and the communities they join based on corresponding interests.

We can’t assume a network effect exists in communities, but we can use a network effect if we use it.

User Interests – User Profiles – User Profiling

Userinterests stands for both the interests that the user pursues within the community. By this we can and should also understand the interests that describe the user in relation to the company’s performance, that is, that make the economic value of the relationship clear and usable.

User profiles

User profiles are used for self-presentation of the user and to inform the community about the user. The quality of user profiles has an enormous impact on user retention, user satisfaction, user activity and, last but not least, user networking. The more thoughtful, interesting and activating user profiles are designed and the maintenance of these profiles is supported (motivation system), the more the profiles contribute to the success of the community. Even though profiles alone will not ensure success, it is hard to imagine a successful community in the long run without powerful user profiles. Maintaining the profile offering, maintaining profile content, and developing profiles should be clearly defined and assigned as a core responsibility in community management.

User profiling

User interests can originate directly from the user – information provided by the user – or result from the user’s activities in the community. In both cases, the consent of the user is mandatory for the collection and use of this information. Please note that not only the legal requirements have to be considered here, but that transparency and comprehensibility in this point is a necessity for the acceptance of the community and the support of the users. If we play with hidden cards here, this can damage the community in the long term.

Connection to corporate processes

In a well-designed and managed community, we do our best to support our users in using the community and pursuing their interests. This way we get to know our users better and better, build a relationship and can also benefit from the support of our users. The better the community is linked to relevant corporate processes, the more likely it is that the potential benefit of the community will become a real benefit for the company. Knowledge about customers and their needs that is not incorporated into appropriate business processes – market research, support, sales, product development, etc. – simply leads to missed opportunities. User engagement that does not impact business processes is also less useful.

Community management

Building and managing an active and commercially valuable community is, in my estimation, the most interesting challenge in social media. The technical expertise required for this is different from the expertise we need to build and operate an Audience.

So if you’ve already successfully built an audience, that doesn’t make you competent in the topic of community. Especially when someone refers to his audience as a community, more than just due skepticism is in order.

Communities are always about activity, because without activity, communities are dead. Therefore, below are some important requirements related to securing activity that community management must provide. For this purpose, it is highly recommended that the respective responsibilities and competencies are clearly defined and that corresponding goals, tools and methods are installed.

Activity through networking

Networking users with users is crucial to the success of our community. We can leave this networking to chance and the users or support it methodically and software-based. We should keep in mind that the most commonly used method for this (friend of a friend / Foaf) comes from the field of social networks and was explicitly developed for this area. It is significantly less helpful in communities than in its own habitat. Using an interest-based networking method is much more advisable. A clear objective to connect new users is highly recommended.

Activity through UserBenefit

Communtiys without user benefit drift more or less quickly into inactivity and die. Or are converted to audiences. Active communities – communities in which the users are active and not the operating company – attract other users. Promoting user benefit is thus a central task of community management, which in my opinion cannot be valued highly enough and should be ensured through appropriate incentives – such as motivation systems – and diverse and beneficial participation opportunities. That in this context the possibilities of awarding users should not be forgotten but should be used comprehensively as part of a system of user retention sounds obvious, but unfortunately it is not the normal case.

In the case of communities, the user benefit should lie both in the interests of the users and in the social activity. If the interest orientation is missing, the users will not find us at all. If the user benefit is not aligned with social activity, the community is in danger of being thrown into life as an inactive or inactive construct. If we succeed in creating a user benefit in our community that grows with the activity of the users in the community, we will have reached the top of the Champions League of social media, because we will have installed a network effect within our community. This network effect ensures more dynamic growth because it encourages users to be more active, the community as a whole becomes more active and attractive, and, above all, users also become active for the community outside the community, thus generating new users.

So invest some more thought into how you create a UserBenefit for your community for the individual user that grows with their activity and networking. It’s worth it.

Processes for reoccupancy are necessary and useful. Processes that detect and counteract a drop-off in activity at an early stage are no less important. For both, in addition to the methods and tools for this, appropriate goals for community management are also recommended.

Activity through motivation

Motivation cannot replace UserBenefit, but it can take community use to the next level with compelling UserBenefit. The nature of the motivation is not insignificant.

Operator-based motivation through appropriate tools and systems of the community platform are helpful. User-based motivation – e.g., recognition visibly awarded by users to other users based on their activity – is also a very helpful means of keeping communities lively. In both cases, this requires appropriate tools (functions of the platform), which, however, are not available in many external social media platforms. Therefore, the decision as to which platform the company uses for its community must also be made under the aspects of user benefit, motivation and participation. We easily run the risk of launching into the extremely intense competition in social media with a possibly cheap-looking but less competitive vehicle if we make careless decisions. However, participating in a race in a way that doesn’t allow you to win is a questionable decision.

Activity through engagement / participation

Activity of users within the community is the foundation of the community. User engagement with the community is a good basis for healthy community growth. User engagement for brand, services or company is a turbo for the benefit the company gets from the community.

All these levels have in common that they need their place in the community and have to be recognized and used by the users to exist. In other words – if the user does not find or perceive the opportunities to engage, if the functions for this engagement are not available and sufficient, and if the motivation to engage is not there, this engagement will fall by the wayside. With the corresponding consequences for the community and the company. Because of the strategic importance that engagement has at all three of the above levels, community management should have each of these levels in mind and provide for appropriate and functionally compelling opportunities for engagement. If this commitment has an additional user benefit, it contributes even more to the company’s success and speaks not least for competent community management.

The topic of engagement and participation is also relevant to success, and every function relevant to success needs someone who has it in mind, implements it, and is responsible for it and its outcome.

Company benefits

We have already addressed the enterprise benefit as an element of the community. In order for this element to contribute effectively to the company’s success, it must be recognized and perceived as a task by community management. Through goals for the individual company benefits, through functions and methods in the community that produce these benefits and, last but not least, through responsibilities in community management so that the individual company benefits find their place in day-to-day business and are permanently developed. If the corporate benefit in community management falls out of perception and implementation, the corporate benefit from the community usually stands silently but all the more quickly on the brink.

Responsibilities, accountability and information

Community management can be a very multi-faceted task, where the more complex we become, the more we need to rely on information and KPIs to keep the ship Community safely on course. The better and more predictive our information, the more likely we are to succeed and maneuver through any likely problems. Because we recognize them early enough to avoid a crash.

If there is no information, if it is unreliable, not target-oriented or simply useless, if we have to constantly chase after it or laboriously acquire it, we are quickly at a loss. Strategic management includes a clear set of KPIs that can promptly and reliably map the development of our community and enable us to manage it in a goal-oriented manner. And this at least for the levels

  • Range (active)
  • Activity (users, user groups and user cohorts)
  • Engagement (of the users)
  • Networking (actively used networking of users)
  • Motivation (effect of the motivational system)
  • Participation (use of participation offerings)
  • Profiles (quality, timeliness, usage
  • UserBenefit (Application)
  • BusinessBenefits (input to business processes, community-level outcomes).

In order for us to adequately perform our community management, we should have reliable access to the databases containing user data and data from community usage. If we lack this, it quickly becomes more difficult to get an accurate picture of the community and apply a predictive control system. Here, too, the problem usually only becomes apparent when the community is in operation. The less we know, the less targeted we can be. Community management systems that do not really reveal problems relevant to success, such as a decline in activity, until they have occurred overall are better than no information at all, but remain a strategic disadvantage. Community management systems that are more sensitive and customizable allow us to identify the behavior of users, for example, in cohorts (of users who have been in the community for the same length of time or have other commonalities) and thus manage the community more precisely and forward.

A typical risk of community management systems without fine control shows up in growth or activity. If only the entire community is mapped, developments within the community are overlooked until they have spread to the entire community. Increasing inactivity among established users is masked in such systems by the increased inactivity of new users. The result is fatal and is like scooping water into a barrel with many holes.

The quality of the community management systems of a platform solution should be checked accordingly before we decide where to build our community.