Hands up: Who purchased a new camera, TV, tablet, or other electronic device for yourself or a family member this holiday? I know I did. The holiday season might seem far off in our rearview mirrors and memories, but I am sure that most of us can remember how we prepared for that purchase: We asked our community for recommendations and advice.

This could have been active engagement such as posting on an electronics forum or camera review site. It could have been passive engagement such as reading the reviews on Amazon or Best Buy. Or it could have been “old world community” and you reached out to a knowledgeable friend for help.

The outcome is the same regardless of how we engage that community. You are looking to an interested audience that has knowledge, opinions, and real-world experience to get the best recommendation for your needs, budget, and use case.

Did some of the people you asked follow up and see if you’re happy with your purchase? Did you reach out to them following the purchase to let them know that you took their advice and are happy with the result? I am sure some did.

Whether we are purchasing a camera or researching a business service, we are informed by our community—people we know, people we don’t know, people with the same needs, people with knowledge we need to tap into, and people with experience we want to learn from. And that community wants to know if its knowledge, advice, and support is welcomed, used, and valued.

Building, nurturing, and growing a community of experts, evangelists, and interested followers has become an imperative for all businesses. Where do I start? What are the right first steps? What does my business have to consider? What are some pitfalls to watch out for? What platform should I use? These questions can seem daunting.

Join Rachel Luxemburg, Tatiana Mejia, and me at Adobe Summit 2014, and we’ll try to help you with some of the answers. We’ll talk about the why of building community, what customers are looking for, and how you can build mutual value for them and for you. We’ll talk about some of the things Adobe is doing around community too. You’ll also be able to meet other professionals interested in community and build your network.

So join us in Session 804: Power in Numbers—Unlocking the Potential of Your Customer Community. We’ll see you there.

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