Online communities which enable learning and draw directly from peer-peer experiences are by definition a success.
Striking the right balance of content and conversation is an elusive but necessary combination for success. When developing the content…
What is the difference between a social media manager and a community manager?
Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD)! As I sat down to write a blog post dedicated to celebrating community managers…
For the past 15 years, cocktail parties were tough. When people would ask what I do for work, my response, “I build online communities for business,” would serve as a natural repellant to further conversation. Confused or suspicious about this mysterious response, the martini-holding listener would likely divert the conversation elsewhere in short order, as they had absolutely no idea what an online community-builder is or does.
I am happy to report that my social life is getting better these days, as online communities are all the rage. There are still elements of mystery that shrouds the community-building profession – but there is also a new-found curiosity.
So, late one evening, I tried write a description of what it means to be an online community builder. And instead of developing a cohesive job description, I wound up with a pile of words. (Leave it to a community builder to approach a puzzle with a unique solution!). While my outcome most certainly does not replace the utility of a straightforward party-line, I think it will resonate will community builders worldwide who have evoked a similar suite of words at the dreaded cocktail party… when faced with the question “what do you do for a living?”
In the community world, each member is a wonderful thing! There is a reason that every single community tracks new membership numbers—it is because every member counts! So it is the community managers’ job and duty to give to their members with features that matter, content that is relevant and human connections. It is the connection aspect that differentiates an online community from a web site. After all, without active members, there is no community.
Online communities are not neutral. They fundamentally change the nature and way a company does business. All too often, an organization creates a social strategy and thinks nothing will be altered but the tools they will use. And then, the change hits the fan and they are left trying to react to the impact.
There are different reasons why people participate in online communities. Not one size of inspiration fits all online community members. People tend to respond better to appropriately designed reward stimulus. Simply put, if they get what they need online, they will be more likely to continue their participatory acts. And, as any seasoned community manager knows, without the active posters, the community is just a content shell. Post-less communities don”t serve the customer needs as well as an active community does, especially within the B2B world as engagement is a main measure of social business success. So, when designing scalable engagement programs it is critical to first typify the categories of membership into profiles or personas in order to encourage and reward them for their online visibility.
Community happens when members have found each other and have a vested interest in collaborating through content and conversation. At the end of the day, people come for content and stay for community.