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5 Successful Traits Of An Online Community

5 Successful Traits Of An Online Community

photo-online_community

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?

January 19, 2009 By : Category : New Media Social Media Tags:, , , ,
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How not to Cannibalize Fansites Or Can't We All Just Get Along?

How not to Cannibalize Fansites Or Can't We All Just Get Along?
Yesterday, I put out a call to my social networks for blog topics regarding social media.  The response was incredible! The first question I received was from Meghan Rodberg. She asks:
“How does an MMO company introduce features through their own websites that fansites have traditionally provided (eg wikis), without cannibalizing those fansites? :)
First, for those of you that dont know, a MMO is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Think World Of Warcraft, Everquest, and Diablo among others. A place where lots of users interact. A lot of these users really get into these games and create fansites. These sites offer anything from a place for users to share game hints, support, fan fiction/artwork, wikis and well community.
I’m going to assume a few things about Meghan and her MMO company:
- They have an existing MMO company with a MMO product that runs as a desktop application.
- There are fan sites already out on the web
-They want to offer more services, information, tools to their users with the goal of users staying on/within the MMO webpages.
So how do they do offer these services without cannibalizing the others? Better yet how do they do it without making their users mad? The users who created these pages are no doubt what we call Power Users.
Well I see a few options here, all share them in list form, people like lists.
-Why reinvent the wheel? If the sites exist and you have Power Users behing them, which has traffic and a community, enforce, why not just link to them? No doubt these PU know your product really well. They are your number#1 evangelist.  Why not just link to their site as a resource?  You will save time, money and you have created your own company evangelist.
-If you’re not comfortable with the sites being outside your control, then bring those people in with their fansites. Have them work for you. Yep, integrate those fansites into your MMO pages. Again you have created your own evangelist. You bring those users who use these pages to your sites and you have not recreated the wheel. I hate doing that.
- I ask this question to you. If the wikis are already out there. The users have fansites that do this. They must be passionate about the MMO. Why do you need to offer wikis? As you stated your afraid it will cannibalize the fansites. I agree.
-Something to keep in mind here. This is very dangerous territory.  A company like this  needs fans/users who are evangelists. Its where the business comes from. The MMO needs to make sure to respect these third party sites. There needs to be compromise, they need to find a way to work together. This may be from linking to them, to asking them, what they want to see on the MMO site. A focus group could be a good thing here. Maybe there is something better then wikis that the company can offer.
What do you guys think? How would you solve the problem?
October 17, 2008 By : Category : Blog Tags:, , ,
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