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UNA & The New Blog - 3 Dimensional Customer Engagement

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

  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Social Feed
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Surveys
  • Emails
  • Lessons

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
  • Groups
  • Chat
  • Discussing ideas
  • Collaborating

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
    • Posts
    • Videos
    • Blogs
    • Lessons
  • 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!

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Comments (5)
    • This photo looks like 2D 😀 😀 😃 

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      • Great post, Mark.

        Plenty to think about.

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        • Thank you! Lots to think about indeed :)

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        • Needless to say, you like to write, it shows / reads. It smells of passion all that. So I would say that I have a site that complies with these three directions, and especially point 2, I cut all the queues that I could cut with the large platforms for a long time to avoid working for them in the end.
          The main problem I encounter is the difficulty in getting people to speak / write. However, I approach a lot of diverse and varied subjects and a bit like you just did here, I develop, but also excellent is the tool, the problem remains the same, people find it difficult to express themselves, I sometimes ask if they don't think they should pay the word per piece. The answers are always short and shy. I don't know where this problem actually comes from.

          I have some regulars who let go but they are always the same, difficult to trigger this desire to write and get a new participant who does it fully. When a new participant as described arrives, I want to cross the calendar.

          Notice, I see it all over the place. Are they afraid of being judged wrong, is it shyness, are they no longer used to thinking, where is it the result of the "like" buttons that give this false impression of having responded and participated without actually doing it?

          I ask myself these questions every day. I added this little sentence recently "There are no wrong answers, any opinion is welcome, participate, dare, so don't be shy ..."

          On a subject like that, I should have 2300 answers, not 203 ... however the results are still significantly better than in Dolphin, but not as good as I would like, that remains problem # 1.


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          • These are very interesting thoughts Baloo. I used to coach teams in creating social media engagement strategies, what I realised over time is that everyone has a natural medium for communication. Lots of people hate writing, particularly long form, and feel extremely uncomfortable in doing so, particularly uncomfortable knowing that their writing would be made public. But those same people who don't enjoy writing, might feel great on camera, so naturally gravitate to VLoging.

             What I've found over time is that there are ways in which people naturally communicate, and will gravitate to a platform that works best for them. Some people love long personal philosophical posts, some love debate debates and others just like taking selfies. As publishers we need to find our people, those that love what we do and naturally engage with our means of communicating. I think that we must accept that not all people are going to engage with our platform, and do our best to engage with the people that do. 

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