Taken together, the combined acts of consumption, curation, creation, and collaboration carry participants in the conversations around your business from readers to talkers to co-creators. Two fundamentally important considerations that are directly applicable to your business or organization come out of this.
First, your audience is more inclined to engage in collaborative activities—sharing thoughts, ideas, concerns—that include you. It may be a “negative” process: your audience may be including you in a conversation whose end-goal is a change in your business process that improves a particular (negative) experience they’ve had. Or, it may be simply “We love you…here what else we’d like to see.” The actual topics matter less than the fact that your customers are now actively sharing with you their view of the ways in which what you offer affects them.
By building in social behaviors and inviting customers into these processes, your business or organization is in a much better position to identify and tap the evangelists that form around your brand, product, or service. Second, because your customers or other stakeholders have moved from reading to creating and collaborating, they are significantly closer to the steps that follow collaboration as it leads to engagement: trial, purchase, and advocacy.
The engagement process provides your customers with the information and experiences needed to become effective advocates, and to carry your message further into their own personal networks. As examples of the value customers and organizational participants will bring as they gather ’round and talk, consider the following: