All types of communities share a similar mix of technology solutions, however their objectives provide the differentiation.
With social networks, the primary objective is about relationship building. You have a place (like Facebook and Twitter) where individuals come together for regular interaction around a common interest and relationships form. On the social networks, relationships are the primary objective and they use the common interest as a way to establish those relationships.
Example: On Facebook, my objective is to build relationships based on common activity. I’m seeking out friends; people who I went to school with, belong to the same sports club, and share the same affinity for classic rock from the seventies.
Relationships are the objective and common activity is the enabler.
Corporate-owned communities need to start getting you to a return on your investment. On the corporate side, whether internal or external, the business objectives are the primary purpose. Business objectives distinguish why would I want to have a company-owned community versus just using a social network.
Social networks are about relationships; if I have a set of business objectives that I would like to accomplish through my community, I need a company-owned one.
The dilemma is your “owned corporate community” can’t just be just about the business objectives because you can’t get to community without the relationships. Relationships enable you to meet your business objectives.
The use cases [further explained in the attached slideshare] for corporate communities are:
- Corporate Communication
- Employee Networking & Collaboration
- Customer-driven support
- Interactive marketing
- Association marketing