Online Communities

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The Problem With Online Ratings

Studies show that online ratings are one of the most trusted sources in e-commerce decisions. But research suggests that these ratings are systematically biased and easily manipulated. The heart of the problem lies with herd instincts — natural human impulses characterized by a lack of individual decision making — that cause us to think and act in the same way as other people around us.

Image courtesy of Flickr user trialsanderrors.
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Valuing Influentials Means More than Just Counting Connections

New research shows that marketers who want to determine the value of a particular online influencer need to look beyond just the size of a person’s network connections. Zsolt Katona, assistant professor at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, found that the value of an influencer depends on underlying factors in the network structure of that individual with the target set of consumers. Specifically, Katona found that people who provide sole influence over consumers are the most valuable.

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Turning Facebook Fans into Product Endorsers

“If you engage customers,” says V. Kumar, “they go and they get their friends” to try out a product, too. Kumar, of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, explains how companies can find their most influential online customers and enlist them to help promote their brands.

Image courtesy of Sensacell Inc.
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The Digital You at Work: What to Consider

Algorithms that measure influence and motivation are part of a new group of analytic tools — from pre-employment analytics to on-the-job assessments — that can help a company determine an employee’s value throughout her career.

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How Finding “Exceptions” Can Jump Start Your Social Initiative

Many senior executives still think of social media as something you do after hours for fun, says John Hagel, co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge — they haven’t bought into the idea that social can drive the core performance of the business. He’s committed to showing them why they’re wrong.

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Mark Yolton, senior vice president of SAP Communities & Social Media

SAP: Using Social Media for Building, Selling and Supporting

SAP runs a 10-years old, online community network that has more than a million unique visitors a month. Mark Yolton, senior vice president of SAP Communities & Social Media, tells how his company is using social media for “outside-in” market insight and as a mechanism to immediately tell the world about its new products.

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Enhancing Relationships With Customers Through Online Brand Communities

Online brand communities can bring customers closer to a brand, generate “buzz” and enhance brand loyalty. Yet, important as online brand communities are to consumer markets, little is known about the role they play in consumer decision-making. Although the popularity of online brand communities as a means of gathering pre- and post-purchase information continues to grow, knowledge about how to effectively manage those conversations remains scant.

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What defines Enterprise 2.0

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Andrew McAfee, who popularized the term “Enterprise 2.0″ in a 2006 MIT Sloan Management Review article, has three criteria for what makes a given technology environment an Enterprise 2.0 one.

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Harness collective intelligence

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In the current issue of MIT Sloan Management Review, Eric Bonabeau looks at not only the appeal of collective intelligence but also the practical issues managers need to consider to use it successfully.

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The Power of Innomediation

Many companies have learned to use the Internet as a powerful platform for collaborating with customers on innovation. They have created customer advisory panels to solicit ideas for new products, fostered online communities to encourage dialogue among customers, and built toolkits that enable customers and engineers to codesign products.

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Confronting the Limits of Networks

As networks become very large, they can fall prey to saturation, cacophony, contamination, clustering and high search costs. Those phenomena mean that larger networks can, in some cases, have less value than smaller ones. The authors have identified several strategies that network builders can employ to maintain network effects or limit their decline.

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Four Smart Ways to Run Online Communities

Few Internet ideas have proved more potent than “online communities” — networked groups of people engage in many-to-many interactions. The authors studied 15 online communities to determine how to best establish and maintain such communities. They developed a framework that identifies three activities central to the success of every online community: member development, asset management and community. The authors illustrate these lessons in case studies of four kinds of online communities.

Showing 1-18 of 18