Tag Archives: Men’s Health

Social Networks for Business Tip #5: Remember, It’s Not Just About You

I have found ten common themes that apply irrespective of what your enterprise does, your market is or what technology platform you are using. This is my fifth tip in this series. There will be 10 total posts; each with a particular theme. The tips are intended to be read in the order presented, as they will build upon each other…


Social Networking is About Connecting People

peopleAs I wrote last month, the core purpose of Social Media is to connect people. Why? People ARE the network: at the end of the day ideas, work and achievements all come from people. As such our communities should always focused on making it easier for people (the real network) to find each other and share knowledge, experiences and insight with the purpose of to “get something done” that is important to them.

People Will Only Participate If Your Community Matters to Them

People are busy. They will not come to your community and take the time (and risk) of sharing something about themselves if you do not give them something in return. This means you need to make your B2C community about your customers; your B2E community about your employees and your B2B communities about your partners. If you don’t, they won’t bother to participate. If they don’t participate, you will have a “dead network” that creates little-or-no value.

What Happens When You Fail to Follow This Tip

psodI once saw a crowdsourcing community (from a Fortune 500) company that essentially existed to ask its customers to provide leads as to where the company could sell its products to make more money. Obviously, this was not a first priority to its customers.

It is not surprising that this community did not get much participation. While it was a technology success, it was far less of a business one.

On the Other Hand, Communities That Are Compelling Are Highly Successful

Here are three examples of three companies that created communities that focused, not on themselves, but instead on their customers. As a result, these communities were very popular and created a lot of value.

To show this tip is universal, I picked an example from each of these different types of community business services I highlighted in Tip #4. Click on the pictures to visit each community.


Would you be responsive to a company that asked you to give them ideas as to how to provide you a more satisfying product? Probably. (I would be curious as to whether the were going to follow my advice.)

Here is a shots from the main page of Dell’s IdeaStorm. You will notice two things. First, they focus on asking for ideas for their products that will make you more satisfied. Second they tell you how many of these ideas they have actually implemented:


This is compelling. It is worth customers’ time. That is why it is successful.


Have you ever wanted to lose fat, gain muscle or both? Many of us have. Would you go to site where you could get ideas for weight loss from people like you, get support for losing weight, and take advantage of a public weigh-in to incentivize you to stay on track? Tens of thousands of people have.

Here is a shot from Men’s Health’s Belly Off Community. Notice that it celebrates its members’ success and offers reward from better health to public acclaim.


This is rewarding to customers. This is why it is also a success.

Full Destinations

If you owned a small business, would you want your small business credit card provider to offer a place where you can get advice, publicize your company, and build connections with partners, customers and providers? I would. (Actually, I do as I am also a Managing Partner in my own boutique consulting firm, Oulixeus Ltd.)

Here is a highlight of American Express’ OPEN Forum. Notice all the relevant advice to small business owners:


This is useful. It makes life easier. This is why it, too, is a success.

Remember, It’s Not Just About You.

Social Networks for Business Tip #3: Pick your destination before you leave

I have found ten common themes that apply irrespective of what your enterprise does, your market is or what technology platform you are using. The post below is my third of 10 tips; each with a particular theme. These are intended to be read in the order presented, as they will build upon each other…


If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

dest1In my last post in this series, I wrote about the importance of first defining what business problem you are trying to solve before diving in with technology. However, you still have one more thing to do before beginning implementation: defining what success looks like.

This, too, may seem trivial. It is not. If you don’t define what business outcomes you must achieve to solve the problem at hand you—

  1. Will not implement your community in a way that enables you to measure business value or
  2. Be able to determine whether you have succeeded to address the problem at hand.

We have all seen this. You implement the new technology at the request of a business unit leader. The solution launches and works from a technical perspective (it may even be on time and under budget). However, within six months, people (usually business unit leaders) begin to indicate that the solution was a failure and that the team needs to do something else. The rest of this post describes how to avoid this.

Define success in business terms

Your defined your Problem in business terms. You need to do the same with a your definition of success. You can then use value chain analysis to map your community against your enterprise to determine what you have to deliver through your community to achieve this.


Yes, this is harder than defining success in terms of counting “eye balls,” registered members, comments or ideas. However it is no different that what you have been doing for before social media (or the Internet or even “Old Media” advertising) existed. Once you have done this, you will have three benefits:

  1. Specific requirements you must implement within your community both to trigger the value chain and to measure how much you have done this
  2. The ability to track your progress towards solving your business problem
  3. True business metrics to demonstrate the return on your investment (ROI) to your CFO or Board

This isn’t as hard (or theoretical) as it sounds

At the most base level, communities do two things:

  1. Attract and engage stakeholders (staff, customers, voters, etc.) and
  2. Capture their ideas, opinions and interests regarding this engagement

It is easy to tie this to many value chains. Here are five examples:

  • Members join your topic- or brand-based community >> You get leads to market and sell >> You can measure the conversion rate of members to paying customers.
  • Members join your community >> They add content >> This generates pages and page view >> This increases advertising inventory and revenue
  • Members Tag their content based on topics of interest >> You now know what topics they care about >> You use this to build affiliate marketing campaigns (e.g., cross-registration, sale of targeted leads) – this is very lucrative
  • Members Tag and Rate others’ content >> You know which topics are most popular >> You can now sell access to targeted advertising campaigns based on volume and interest – also lucrative
  • You promote a contest or marketing campaign >> You enable participants to click through to what you are promoting register or purchase>> You can measure the cost per participant of this channel vs. others.

What value chain you need for success will drive what data you need to capture and what systems you need to integrate (in batch or real time). It is much less costly to know this before you build your community than after.

Examples of those who have applied this well

It is always easiest to understand how to apply this by looking at good examples. Here are three. (Click on the logo to visit the community that demonstrates this concept. Please note that I am not disclosing any numbers here due to basic professionalism and protection of privacy)

Men’s Health

Rodale wanted to boost revenue and brand loyalty in a way that fully aligned with their mission. They created the Belly-off Community and liked it to online and in-print promotions. Men read about tips to lose weigh online and Men’s Health magazine, then go online to upload their photo, compete to lose weight, get ideas from others and simply get moral support. The result was a hugely popular community that increased subscription and online advertising revenue. It also expanded a new lower-cost online channel to maintain engagement with subscribers.

HGTV’s Rate My Space

Scripps wanted to boost their online revenue and become the place for people to think about home improvement. They created on online community to let people share their improvements, ask questions and provide feedback to others. The community expanded Scripps inventory to present ads (increasing ad revenue) and enabled topic-based add targeting (enabling even more lucrative affiliate marketing with companies such as Lowes). The site created so much value that it led to the creation of a TV show.

Kodak’s Idea Center

Kodak had a large number of registered online customers. It provided a community that used photo sharing to encourage conversion of shared content to purchased products (e.g., mugs and calendars with uploaded photos). It leveraged community interaction to enable customers to highlight their creations, creating demand for other customers to do the same. Did this site have as many “eye balls” as Flickr? No. Did it create a clearer value proposition and easier-to-measure business results? Yes.

Note: Kodak’s Gallery and Idea Center community is now known as ShutterFly