Vanessa DiMauro is the founder and CEO of Leader Networks, a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building. DiMauro is a popular speaker, researcher and author. With over 15 years experience in social business leadership positions at Cambridge Technology Partners, Computerworld, Bitstream and TERC, she has founded and run numerous online communities, and has developed award winning social business strategies for some of the largest and most influential companies in the world. Many of her clients have won prestigious industry awards such as Forrester’s Groundswell Award in the community category as well as SNCR’s Excellence in Communications Award.

Her work has been covered by leading publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. Vanessa DiMauro sits on several boards. She is former Executive-In-Residence at Babson College’s Olin School of Management, holds both a B.A

    Prospects are people

    Prospects are people – in new media and old media this is true. But in old media – it was often forgotten. Instead, prospects and consumers are statistics, conversion ratios, member acquisition and retention quotients. In new media – social media – there is a demanding need for change in how companies approach the relationship with prospects.

    I was just reading a great blog post about the worst social media uses by business in 2007 by Scott Monte of Crayon where he reported on a presentation given at SXSW – South by Southwest – the interactive media conference and music festival about enterprise social media efforts gone bad. The defining thread of all these thwarted attempts to engage the customer or prospect was that each failure was a study in depersonalization. Notable companies like Target, HP, and Carlton Beer were among the case studies described.

    Social media – especially online community – call a new order to engage: to open the conversation with people, clients and prospects alike, to learn their needs, reactions and opinions. And, most importantly, offer a chance to respond to, and participate in, the conversation in useful and thoughtful ways.

    Think about it… when was the last time you spoke to 4,000 or 40,000 of your key customers? When was this opportunity ever before possible? In the past, when an enterprise wanted to know what their clients and prospects thought, they typically outsourced the information gathering process to an outside agency who then gathered information, filtered it, coded it, and then fed it back in aggregate form to the company. This is hardly the enlightened fodder that brilliant products and services are made of. Now, due to social media and online community we can talk with those same people and get real actionable information to help share the future strategy. Finally, there is a chance to get it right the first time through the market conversation.Thank you for reading Building Online Communities for Business by Leader Networks. We are a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building.

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