Before coming to UNA I have come from a digital communications background, working mainly as a media strategist, producer and copywriter. In the previous millennium I worked with print media doing similar sorts of things, but in newspapers and magazines. I just did the math - I’ve now worked with clients helping them to solve communications challenges for over 25 years (yikes, I’m old!).
The technology has evolved immensely, but the objectives have always remained the same. We are trying to connect humans with information. People with ideas. To develop and evolve community. A better understanding of the world. Understanding products and services that could make our lives a little bit easier.
Where there are people, there are problems, and it is the nature of humans to seek solutions to those problems. It is our nature to expand, to connect, to learn and to grow. We seek these answers through the same channels we always have, through our communities, through the social knowledge base that binds humans into humanity.
From pow-wow around the campfire, to the Guttenberg press, letters to the editor and talkback radio (all still going strong!) In the new frontier we have seen brochure websites, discussion forums, the blogosphere, digital learning and the evolution of the social network.
So where is the game now, where is the edge in the evolution of human communication?
The last decade I have been immersed heavily in the Blogosphere - I love writing and blogging and the playing field this has brought together marketers with quality products and good stories to tell. Blogging has been developed into an art-form, Content Marketing now a buzzword with some great players in the space. Over the last decade I’ve been a huge fan and avid user of CopyBlogger.com - I love the i way that they attracted users to their site by using Content Marketing to teach people about Content Marketing - (their core product is Wordpress templates) - they have built a thriving business of teaching people how to write for the web - sooner or later most web writers are going to be interested in Wordpress.
But recently I have seen the Blogosphere becoming stunted - primarily by the relationship that blogs have with their community members and the trepidatious relationship the Blogs have with the social media networks.
Large social media networks have essentially used the Genius and Industry of bloggers to leverage YOUR customers in THEIR platform. Also the structural limitations of Wordpress Platform inhibits a lot of what can be done once you have brought people into your site - without a fundamental restructure, Wordpress is never going to cut it as a Community Management System.
There have been limited attempts to connect Blogs with Social community, but I personally haven’t seen any shining examples, mainly because the great tools haven’t been available, until now. Wordpress, Squarespace and other popular blogging platforms are very cool, but they run into a wall when trying to manage multiple profiles and communities.
I’ve been toying around with this concept for a while, targeting Bloggers seeking to enrich their relationships with their readers, offering all the 'cookie content’ Blogs/E-Learning Course/E-Books - essential taking ‘Blog Readers’ on a journey to becoming ‘Community Members’. So they come to your site to seek knowledge, expand on that knowledge and connect with new friends interested in the same knowledge - ultimately feeding back into the knowledge base and supporting others members to learn as well. You Social Community Website should become a place where they broadcast their own content - where they can come to express themselves and build their own sphere of social influence.
So Here Are the 3 Dimensions of Customer Engagement, According to Mark;
Dimension 1 - Engage With Your Content
Customers Come looking for Inspiration and Answers to their Problems
- Social Feed
Dimension 2 - Engage With Each Other
Your Customers Become Community Members, they meet other people seeking answers to the same problems, they build trust, build rapport, make friends and frenemies.
- Social Engagement within YOUR community
- Discussing ideas
Dimension 3 - Engage With Themselves
They develop expertise, and authority within your community, establish a presence, a sense of identity perhaps a professional purpose.
- Publishing their own content
- Building their own sphere of influence.
- Begin Selling their products and or services through your community.
- CRM - managing their own data, subscriptions, grades etc
With the UNA platform we have built a system that can achieve all of this - it is capable of delivering infinite potential solutions, so this focus on Bloggers looking to expand their scope beyond the limitations of Wordpress is just once instance, but one that is of particular interest to moi.
I’m hoping to expand more on this field over the coming months - ultimately weaving my great loves of Blogging, Social Community Development and E-Learning together as we develop UNA.IO into the go to destination for all there is to know about developing thriving Social Communities in the Age of UNA.
What are your thoughts? Are there any Bloggers out there? - Please connect, I'd love to learn more!