Companies around the world – in an effort to create communities of users around their products – are picking up social networking approaches at a fast pace.
Earlier this month Segway has started to create a network and communications around their self-balancing scooters, allowing users to communicate, create groups, find like minded people around the world or just in their local area, discuss the latest news and share their experiences.
Like Nike and other consumer good companies, Segway with its Segway Social network is hoping to attract future buyers by providing them a platform where they can meet other users of their products and learn details first hand from within a peer group and not through marketing material or company events.
“Segway Social” will allow to channel and drive further previously user created fan sites that have been used to get together for group gliding or even to organize “Segway Polo” events. But will their platform succeed where others have failed?
Segway will also use the social site to further position its products as ecologically friendly and their use as an individual answer to climate change and a demonstration “to make a difference”. The Green calculator on the site already points towards that direction. But also those that just feel the rising fuel prices in their pockets are welcomed.
Whatever you think about the usefulness of social media there is one key driving element behind them for enterprises to create social networks or user networks around their products and services: They want to benefit from positive network externalities created by the users and are hoping that these benefits will materialize either in higher prices, increased sales, higher brand value or fortification of their position in the market place. If there is added value arriving with the user group or a product gets cult or increased status in the broader public by such interactions, the co-creation mechanism worked well in the past.
With an unique product like the Segway gliders and their private user groups around the world that in the past have show strong interest and dynamics to interact with each other, there is a good chance for success by providing them tools to do this more easily and on a broader scale.
The question remaining will be if there are already enough Segway users around the world to create the critical mass to get a social platform off the ground – meaning – making it enough interesting for others to participate. It might well be necessary for Segway to provide strong support to make this happen – at least initially.
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Well how about this one: The Segway PT i2 Ferrari Limited Edition
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