by Robin Austin

Can private online communities drive corporate cultural change?

Jul 18, 2019
IT StrategySocial Networking AppsTechnology Industry

“Many of the things that seem impossible now will become realities of tomorrow,” said Walt Disney. We are in the 4th Industrial Revolution, able to invent what our imagination dreams up. But it takes communities working together to achieve what may seem impossible, unsustainable goals. AI/ML will be able to transform society through online, tribal collaboration.

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Credit: ComicSans / Getty

AI/ML will gather behavioral data and – through a system of assumptions and calculations known as analytics measurement – create both positive outcomes along with possible negative ones. Where is corporate governance and corporate culture in this readjustment out of public social media platforms and into private social community platforms?

Today, good governance is a must have

Facebook, the largest online public social media platform, was founded in 2004 and until recently has gone unchecked by oversite; typical for the first and the largest of its kind. There is now moral outrage from much of the social media community over Facebook’s continued lack of ethics.

Good corporate governance has become so hard to manage due to Facebook’s continued violations affecting not only Facebook, but any company affiliated with Facebook. The lack of ethics and attention to a positive moral code for decades has escalated and the public is demanding violators be held accountable. Many companies are within their legal guidelines but not moral ones.

The public has woken up and are supporting with these unwritten moral ethics their dollars and mandating oversite along with proactive changes to corporate governance. No longer is good governance just a function of internal healthy corporate operations but necessary throughout a company’s entire production and supply chain delivery processes with culture and reputation driving changes.

  • Above all, a corporate leader must consistently maintain good governance practices in order to achieve cultural excellence. The DNA of any organization must evolve to stay relevant. Corporate organizations’ cultures must act responsibly in the marketplace or face the consequences. Facebook has had over 20 global governance scandals with governance organizations like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) imposing a fine of billions of dollars for noncompliance. Private online tribal communities give companies better control to perform good governance to create and maintain a positive ethical culture.
  • Reputation. The reputation of any powerful company can make or break not only the company but also a complete market segment. Good governance acts morally and ethically with safety and security “top of mind.” A healthy governed corporation delivers good products and hence performs well in the market. Private tribal communities enhance a company’s positive brand, organically grow a company’s customer base and provide a more protected communication platform.
  • Financial sustainability. Risk is measured by a corporation’s ability to maintain good governance practices. Every organization has challenges and leadership’s role is to mitigate risk by minimizing the effects of possible issues and maximizing effective communication, collaboration and cooperation. This means stakeholders must think and prepare for every eventuality that could affect the bottom line; they must think “out of the box.”

Your company on a dedicated online community platform

By creating a dedicated interactive workspace for your customers, partners and company staff, you create a collaborative space built on trust. Potential customers look for – and many times rely on – current customer interaction for recommendations and support. Through customer engagement you can educate your customers on new product enhancements and product rollouts.

Public online communities are typically full of distracting noise, or communication is one-way (through reviews or isolated through FAQ’s or chatbots between the customer and the brand). Although subcultures formed by joining groups can limit noise, building brand loyalty amongst the distracting noise of public online communities is still not as safe or effective. The data can’t be gathered to increase a company’s value and effectiveness or enhance product development. In a dedicated, private online community, interactive real-time networking and tribal problem-solving helps to create long-term partnerships and friendships.

Engagement rates for private online communities surge to 50% (compared to about 5% for public). Privacy issues are lessened by the participants’ willingness to be a safe participating member. Data collected is with the permission of the participant as added value to both the brand and to the customer along with all of the participants within the tribe. AI/ML collection of behavior patterns enable more effective interactions and allow the brand to offer real-time suggestions not just to make a sale but to enhance a customer experience.

It reminds me of Mr. Macy in “Miracle on 34th Street,” willing to suggest a competitor as the toy provider and put the happiness of the child over the sale. Macy became a company known for “good-will” by word of mouth enhancing Macy’s reputation.

Heighten customer satisfaction and loyalty

Real-time collaboration with customers enhances customer satisfaction. Through the collection of behavioral data along with the collection of customer views as input into research and development, product roadmaps are more on-target saving product costs while increasing sales.

With Amazon, Google and Facebook owning the majority of the public online ad market, public social media platforms are riddled with ads from brands other than your own. Your potential revenue in a private online community is based on growing your community and less on selling products. Through constant focused education for the whole community, customers are “attracted” and become buyers.

Pushing products to create sales is never a good practice. It has long been established that providing value attracts buyers and educated buyers understand value. You can create your own promotions and incentives to grow your community thus having members referring other members. Campaigns help significant growth and organic conversion rates can double and triple rapidly. Where organic conversion growth doubles, so does sales and customer loyalty.

Private tribal communities boost SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website is optimized with an inclusion of a privately branded tribal community platform with only relevant content. In a public forum, relevant content may get lost and not be as affective for SEO and brand awareness. Fresh relevant content may be created proactively across the entire private tribal community hence supporting SEO website rankings and increased visibility.

Qualified leads are organically grown through the major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. The data flows back to your personal data base so all internally concerned can take advantage of industry specific demographics for committee and employee group meetings, business organizational chapter information and product development and supply chain information. Externally, industry events, other group participation and customer purchases are included in behavior interests and statistics.

AI/ML integrated with your personal database can obtain behavioral information, analytically determining possible actions while delivering information to appropriate internal resources. AI/ML can automate sales leads, support functions and through real time chatbots, deliver solutions fast and accurately. Through behavior analytics, an unhappy customer can be detected early, contacted and a positive outcome for the customer be realized before any cross contamination can occur.

Inappropriate content can be alerted to and managed quickly and easily. Your community’s structure and management are under your control and published guidelines can be managed through your organization’s governance policy therefore insuring less risk and better security.

If Facebook decides to change its look overnight, you are subject to the whims of Facebook but with a private online social tribal community, branded by you and grown by you, governance and privacy is more easily compliant. Customers are loyal and happier therefore, added referrals grow your community and customer base. An increase in customer base typically means an increase in buying from your customer base.

The cost and management of your own private online platform is nominal by comparison to the overall value realized for you and your company. All you have to do is select the right software partner to work with. There are very few that are really comprehensive, mobile and cost effective but they do exist.

Private online tribal community platforms are the wave of the future protecting privacy while promoting good governance with happy customers.