So, I was thinking this morning, I know scary. Okay, enough with your jokes. I was thinking about online communities and how powerful they are. In this ever changing world of technology and social media they are becoming more and more powerful. I truly believe companies need to start embracing them more than ever. As I have mentioned before Barack Obama built his own online community to get his message out, which became a key to his win.
What is an online community?
Glad you asked.
I define it as:
- A group of people that mostly interact with each other via some form of online communication. This can be anything such as a social networking site, newsletters, virtual worlds online video, online audio, instant messaging or a combination of those.
When a company or person puts out a blog, Facebook application, online video or online profile, they need to build an online community around it. This community becomes they way to build buzz and an online brand. All which help get the message out. What are the traits and keys that make it successful? Glad you asked! Let’s take a look at a few. Why don’t we do it in list form? People like lists!
- There is an Online Community Manager. The short version of what a Community Manager does is keeps an eye on what is going on in the community. This person keeps it clean and safe for all. As well as helping users with problems, moderating the site, starting and ending conversations. I will get into a lot more detail in a future post. Needless to say this person should be worth their weight in gold.
-The members of the community all have something in common. What it is maybe very hard to say. Yet, they are all part of this community because they have a common interest in the subject matter at some level. It could be as simple as a model train building club, people who eat Angry Burgers.. there I go again, (sorry) to college professors sharing information. The possibilities are endless.
- These members need to be made up of some who know a lot more on the subject then you do. As well as members who know a lot less then you do. This allows the flow of information as well as great conversation back and forth. If people are not getting something out of it, it won’t work.
-Members must be made to feel comfortable in the community, as well with the technology they are using within the community. This can be done with ease of communication (whatever the platform may be) as well as a good Community Manager.
-Make sure people are having a good time. Basic I know, but I have seen it get lost in the development. If members are not having fun, it won’t work.
What are traits do you belive a successful online community needs to have?