Towards ‘Total Community’ with Lithium Technologies
As one of the most established – and highest profile – players in the market for online communities, Lithium Technologies has seen this technology area evolve significantly with the growth of public social media, and over the last few years has added to its Lithium Communities solution with Lithium Response, a social media response tool, and Lithium Reach, a social curation and publishing tool. Collectively, these three products make up Lithium’s ‘Total Community’ offering.
A ‘Total Community’ solution for marketers and customer service teams
Through a portfolio that combines online communities, social media management and social publishing technologies, Lithium Technologies extends the concept of the community beyond the walled garden of the traditional online community, to enable marketers and customer service teams to engage with customers and partners on their platform of choice.
Extensive adoption and strategy services share Lithium’s experience with customers
Its experience in this market – and the data it has amassed through its SaaS-based approach – has enabled Lithium to develop a wealth of internal knowledge about implementation and adoption best practice that it now makes available to customers through its customer success and services teams. Community benchmarking, packaged workshops, certification programmes and training are all available to customers to help support their initiatives.
A flexible platform for fully branded, highly customised external communities
As one of the most well-known and established offerings in the external communities space, Lithium Communities provides organisations with the flexibility to create a unique, branded community experience, through a combination of granular configuration and administration tools, open APIs and SDKs, and extensive training and support. Lithium’s offering is best suited to social marketing and customer service community use cases, uniting these two perspectives through an integrated social engagement platform that encompasses Lithium Communities, Lithium Reach and Lithium Response.
From gaming to ‘Total Community’
Founded in 2001, Lithium Technologies was born out of a gaming background. The founders had previously established a highly successful online gaming community that leveraged gaming techniques such as scores and rankings, enabling users to gain privileges within the community based on how active they were. Following requests from other companies to create similar communities for their own customers, the founders created a new software company to capitalise on this success and experience. Over the last 15 years, even while competitors have emerged to deliver similar solutions to support collaboration in an employee-facing context, Lithium has stayed true to its focus on delivering externally-facing online communities.
However, although its core community focus has remained constant, the broader context of Lithium’s offerings has undoubtedly evolved significantly, particularly over the last five years or so. As social media began to play a greater role in organisations’ customer and partner engagement strategies, Lithium began to expand its capabilities and portfolio to acknowledge a broader definition of “community” – incorporating not just those people who visit a corporate community site, but also other more nebulous community networks on social media. To support this, Lithium made several key acquisitions:
- Social media monitoring start-up Scout Labs, acquired in 2010
- Social engagement platform provider Social Dynamx, acquired in 2012
- Social profiles and influence scoring service Klout, acquired in 2014.
The resulting product portfolio – which is now made up of Lithium Communities, Lithium Reach and Lithium Response – aims to provide a platform for managing all interactions with an organisation’s customers and partners, an approach referred to by Lithium as “Total Community”. In practice, this is very much an aspirational position; the majority of Lithium’s customers are a long way from achieving this reality, though a few are embracing the concept – including HP, Skype and Telus. However, it has given the company a clear strategy for growth and expansion, as well as a way to differentiate itself in a cluttered and confused marketplace.
Inside the Total Community offering
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