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Planning For Collaboration With Consumers In Online Research Communities

montage_2_bw.jpgPreviously we explored some of the reasons why we might want to encourage research community member to member interaction, encouraging you to think about the various levels of interaction that occur, including how commentary represents just the ‘tip’ of the research community engagement iceberg.

So having discussed the different levels of interaction and the value, how can we encourage interaction that is useful and meaningful to our clients and project objectives?

For instance, when collaboration and co-creation form part of your research community agenda?

The answer is structured collaboration, and here we’ll be focussing on effective planning and communication when it comes to managing the recruitment phase of your online research communities:

  • Get the right members on board: Regardless of whether you are targeting early tech adopters or empty nesters we encourage you to screen on the basis of actual (ideal) or stated (second best) online behaviour (for instance current social media interaction e.g. frequency and type of Facebook / Instagram posts). The closer your members naturally reflect requirements for engagement and interaction in your research, the better.
  • Request that prospects tell a short story to test / check for articulation: Beyond demonstrating willingness to interact this will be essential to deliver good quality feedback. 
  • Segment recruits on the basis of brand / product / service engagement: Consider opportunity to adopt a mainstream and more highly engaged segment, and use Further’s platform to separately engage samples to mitigate bias effects. Beyond the ability to explore differences in attitudes and behaviours, you’ll be able to investigate the language being used to articulate product / service benefits, particularly useful to shape future Marketing Communications.  We recently used this approach for a project with Amira, to help launch and reposition their brand of super premium rice.  
  • Build excitement around community mission and purpose: Develop communications to place emphasis on the intrinsic benefits of being a member (e.g. the unique opportunity to have their say and influence future product and service development for the brands and products that they are using).
  • Communicate that members will share the community with ‘similar others’ / like-minded individuals: Perceived similarity increases liking, which in turn can enhance effective collaboration and the quality of project outcomes.
  • Highlight that the ability to comment on other member posts is an expectation: Communicate this from the offset, ideally at the stages of recruitment, to gain early commitment, and be sure to reinforce this messaging during field.

That's it for now! Stay tuned for my next post where I'll be focussing on field related aspects, including activity development and deployment.

In the meantime, check out our guide to increasing levels of community engagement. 


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