The Future of Social Community is Omni-Social

The Future of Social Community is Omni-Social

 

The online community pendulum is swinging back. It’s no longer enough to rely on social networks for community infrastructure. Smart companies are now combining owned and rented community functions into a 1+1=3 scenario I call Omni-Social.

The rise of this multi-faceted approach to community was the subject of a deep, strategic Webinar I hosted recently with my good friends at Janrain (a leading provider of customer identity management and community functionality, and a Convince & Convert partner).

You can grab the slides and watch the reply of the Omni-social: How to create community in the digital places you own AND the places you rent session here, and if you care at all about community, I guarantee it will be time well spent.

Here’s an overview of Omni-Social:

The original “social media” consisted mainly of brand-owned channels like the old-school HOG (Harley Owners’ Group) community built and facilitated by Harley-Davidson.

Then, along came the new breed of digital landlords like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, and even G+ for a time.

These channels aggregated digital consumer attention to an unprecedented degree, forcing companies and organizations to take a “if you can’t beat em, join em” approach to online community.

That’s how we ended up outsourcing much of the customer community function (at least from an infrastructure standpoint) to third party social networks, who “rented” to brands the attention of their own customers.

But now that these landlords are mostly public companies, they have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize their own revenue, and have changed the rules accordingly. Thus, the massive decline in “free” organic reach, in favor of a pay-to-play schema that organizations grumble about but typically pony up in the end.

But this, of course, makes social community more expensive and less efficient as brands are forced to pay for Reliable Reach.

Omni-Social is the Offset to Paid Social

It’s simply not realistic to suggest that companies turn their backs on social network landlords. The audience aggregation on Facebook (in particular) and other platforms is simply overwhelming.

It would be like a company saying they refuse to send emails because they don’t want to pay an email service provider (like Emma, which we use). You may not want to play Facebook’s game, but play it you must.

But what you CAN do is pursue an Omni-Social strategy that changes the fundamental role filled by your leased social communities on Facebook, et al.

The 6 Components of Omni-Social

A sound Omni-Social strategy includes — at a minimum — these five elements (a lot more detail on these points, including real-world examples, in the Webinar)

  1. A commitment to moving beyond the hegemony of rented social community
  2. Admitting that rented social communities offer user experience functionality that customers crave
  3. Adding some of that functionality (or a reasonable facsimile) to a website or community your brand owns or controls
  4. Selecting and maintaining a relationship between your rented community (on Facebook, for instance) and your owned assets (robust community functionality on your website, for example)
  5. Communicating the relationship between your rented and owned community functions to all consumers, to avoid confusion and duplication of purpose
  6. Giving community members at least partial control of the narrative and dialog inside the owned community. Enable the community to be “theirs” in a way the Facebook page never could be.

This last piece — community member empowerment — is critical to the success of any owned community strategy, regardless of whether it’s part of a larger Omni-Social approach.

The key shape to remember in community is the triangle, whereby members interact with the brand, but ALSO with one another.

The 4 Models of Omni-Social

In the Webinar, we unveiled a new framework — developed by Janrain and me — that describes the four ways Omni-Social can work. That is, the four relationships between your rented social communities and your owned social communities.

(Note that shape width shows relative size of community and volume of participation. Shape height shows depth and complexity of community functions inside the community)

Omni-Social Model #1: Trailer and Feature

In this model, lightweight, high volume interactions and messaging take place mostly on rented community.

The owned community is used for specific purposes such as self-service and/or community-based support, and insights generation.

Omni-Social Model #2: Fan and Super Fan

In this model, lightweight, high volume interactions and messaging take place mostly on rented community.

Owned community is used for specific purposes centered around advocacy and insights, including crowd-sourcing and similar functions.

Owned community members must be invited to participate.

Omni-Social Model #3: Cake and Frosting

In this model, which is essentially the reverse of the current norm for most organizations, high-value, complex interactions take place primarily on owned community.

The rented community is mostly used as a promotional, campaign vehicle, primarily through paid posts.

Some rented community messaging is used to recruit rented community members to participate in the more comprehensive owned community. In this way, the rented community becomes a promotional arm for the owned community.
Omni-Social Model #4: Comprehensive and Curated

In this fourth model, all conversations and content (including UGC) are posted to rented community.

But the best, most successful, and/or most relevant content is then cross-posted to the owned community.

This solves organic reach problems, and can create a “greatest hits” opportunity on the owned community. This is essentially how some email newsletter programs work now, delivering the best of rented social content to fans via in the inbox.

Which of these Omni-Social models makes the most sense for your brand?

[Jay Bear]

May 22, 2016 / by / in , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Scooblrinc.com is a website owned and operated by Scooblr, Inc. By accessing this website and any pages thereof, you agree to be bound by the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, as amended from time to time. Scooblr, Inc. does not verify or assure that information provided by any company offering services is accurate or complete or that the valuation is appropriate. Neither Scooblr nor any of its directors, officers, employees, representatives, affiliates or agents shall have any liability whatsoever arising, for any error or incompleteness of fact or opinion in, or lack of care in the preparation or publication, of the materials posted on this website. Scooblr does not give advice, provide analysis or recommendations regarding any offering, service posted on the website. The information on this website does not constitute an offer of, or the solicitation of an offer to buy or subscribe for, any services to any person in any jurisdiction to whom or in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful.