We’ve already looked at the insight you can get from profile data and focused discussion in online communities. For the third in our series of how to get insight from online communities we are going to look not at what people say, but how they say it.
Communities drive discussions, be those the organic discussions that will begin between members, or discussions prompted by questions, content or other stimulus from the community manager. There is a lot that we can learn about the community members from how they respond in these discussions. What they say, the ideas they give and the opinions they express. But often overlooked is to examine the language they use.
There is a great value to seeing and understanding the language people use when talking to each other about issues, products and brands. Organisations often have no clear idea of the language people use, the words they choose and the way they discuss their product or talk about an issue. It is difficult and has traditionally been hard to really see how a mass of people discuss and talk about what you do. With online communities you get a real spotlight into this, not only the language people choose but how they talk about and describe things to each other.
Observing and understanding this can be really valuable. One of our clients at FreshNetworks was able to identify significant problems in it’s marketing by watching how people discussed their needs and the different products in an online community. When none of the language they used was chosen by community members we saw that there must be a problem, asked the members why they hadn’t used this language and then realigned the client’s marketing message using the language that customers were using. In this case the real insight from the online community was not so much what was said, but how it was said.
Some more reading
- Five ways to use an online research community in 2009
- Crowdsourcing – does the customer know best?
- What Can Small Business Owners Learn From Obama