Feedback on the Online Community Best Practices Report

Although scary for product teams, feedback is great, I do my best to welcome it.

Last week, I announced my Forrester report entitled Online Community Best Practices from my blog If you’re a client you can access the report on the site, or you can purchase the report from the site, if you’re not satisfied, Forrester has a money back guarantee. This product, designed to help our clients make a logical and methodical way to benefit from community took me months to compose.

There was quite a bit of discussion: ComputerWorld covered it, over 17 blog posts discussing it, including those that agree –and disagree — with the report.

I often preach how product teams should be open and transparent as possible with their development and support process (and welcome feedback), and as an analyst, reports are one of my products. I welcome all points of view, and think that it adds to the overall value, here’s a few interesting takes on the report:

Here’s what the community said about my report:

Not everyone agreed. The loudest criticism comes from Nick O’Neill, one of the thought and practice leaders in the social networking space. He suggests that the graphic isn’t realistic (compared to crossing the chasm), and many, many other commenters bring up other curves, charts, and concepts. Education for me, and anyone else in the space.

A starting point for additional resources. Nancy White gives a very thorough review of the report, highlighting what she thought was great about the report, and what could have been improved. Believe me, if I could have included the many topics she suggested, I would have, but then we would have been approaching a book, not a short and sweet succint report.

Spikes, not curves. Karen O’Brian of Crimson Consulting does a great job re-analyzing the graphic, and suggested that a real world community will grow with ‘spikes’ of activity rather than a smooth gradual flow, she’s right, and I suggest if the line was smoothed out, it would closely resemble –therefore, we both agree.

A detailed process. Jacob Morgan suggests two additional phases in the community lifecycle graphic, Brainstorming and Customer communication and feedback, both which are absolutely critical elements that I would consider to be part of other phases, good commentary.

Not every community will be successful. Nick Gonzales, former Techcrunch writer now with Social Media created this humorous ‘mash-up’ showing the demise of communities, pretty entertaining.

Ratings and comments. For Forrester clients, when you login to the site you’ll see an extranet view. This let’s customers leave comments and rank the report. I stand by my product, I read every comment, and will respond to any questions that clients may have, so far, the report has scored 9/10 but that’s only two votes and two comments from clients.

During the research process, one of the key findings I learned was the importance of roles. To be successful, corporate community initiatives requires an executive sponsor, a social media or community strategist that will fight the internal battles, and a community manager that will be an active member of the community.

This was an enlightening process, but even after the research is completed, there’s still a lot to learn.