Vanessa DiMauro is CEO of Leader Networks, a research and consulting firm that helps companies use digital and social technologies to gain competitive advantage. She is a strategist, advisor, researcher, author, and speaker. Vanessa is a pioneer in the field of online communities and in using digital business solutions to gain customer insight and increase revenue. Before founding Leader Networks, she held leadership positions at Cambridge Technology Partners, Computerworld, and CXO Systems.

Vanessa was named one of Forbes’s Top 40 Social Media Masters Worldwide and one of CEOWorld’s Most Powerful Women in Social Media and identified as one of 20 Top Digital Influencers of 2018 by Whatagraph. She was also recognized as Research Fellow of the Year by the Society for New Communications Research.

Vanessa was on the faculty at Columbia University in the Information and Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) Master’s program. I met her when we were both presenting to the class. She specializes in strategy, communities, knowledge management, and marketing



Other Content

The Business Impact of Online Communities

Seven Failures of Companies that Unplug Their Online Communities

  1. Community goals are skewed to leadership — not member — needs.
  2. “Tool talk precedes strategy.
  3. Mausoleums are built instead of Sherpa tents. An online community requires continual enhancements driven by member feedback. Many make their online community planning into a long, drawn-out process. That’s a recipe for disaster. Communities are in constant flux from changing member needs, business objectives, technical improvements, and social norms. Community plans should focus on short sprints — not a big-bang approach.
  4. Failure to feed the content beast. Great content takes great effort, like getting a company’s thought leaders to put pen to digital paper, conducting studies, and inviting members to provide their expertise. Without it, members won’t come or stay for long.
  5. Poor community management skills. Community management is becoming a profession. Community managers need superior communications skills, the ability to cultivate strong relations, project management prowess, a research background, and social media proficiency.
  6. Chasing only business metrics and not member-driven ones. How has the community helped members better resolve their problems? Have community discussions bubbled up product or service defects? Measure what matters.
  7. No community zealot at the top. Online communities need a strong executive champion.



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Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield


Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager