Closing an online community should not be undertaken lightly. It can send a strong — but wrong — message about your business and brand to members. Keep in mind your community’s membership may include your customers, clients, brand influencers and media contacts. Closing an online community can have far-reaching ripple effects on your brand and company reputation. So approach the decision cautiously, keeping member perceptions and the brand uppermost in mind. Here are some tips and advice:
The B2B online community manager role requires many communication skills, a willingness to be a master-servant to both the customers and the organization. They are often a sole practitioner — B2B online communities are typically understaffed, so their success depends upon their ability to make and sustain connections within the community and the organization. An ability to get online and check on how things are going while on the road, before breakfast, after dinner and in the middle of the night is also a plus.
As social is an emerging trend, many have put down their soapboxes to talk about online communities. Consequently, there is some good (and lots of just OK) advice “out there” on building online customer communities — yielding a great deal of information to sort through and parse. While theory is interesting, there is a practical side to us all – especially when endeavoring to act. And, human nature craves rules; rules to be examined, adapted and applied. Having built award-winning online communities for 20 years, I am boiling my journey down to a simple set of 10 implementable actions for online community best practice in hopes that it accelerates your community successes.
Building online communities can be a richly rewarding experience for the organizations that create them and for the members who…
This is social business.
Cheers to all my fellow community builders who have also done this dance online! At the end of the day, online community building is about the humanness of it all as we solve problems, share experiences and ideas and ultimately model behaviors to help others learn how to use this brave new world.
Hurray! We are reaching a point in the evolution of social media where clear definitions are starting to emerge in support of our practice. I have often blogged about the differences within online community building – how there are different types of communities and each unique flavor deserves its own strategy and operational plan in order to succeed. In other words, not all online communities are alike and shouldn’t be treated as such.
The Community Manager is unlike any other position in the technology and online world. Rather than managing hardware or software, products, services or content, the Community Manager manages behaviors and interactions among the community’s members — readers, clients, prospects, analysts — whomever your community is designed to engage. It’s all about the members, which means it’s about managing people. More specifically, successful community management is about guiding those aspects of interpersonal interactions online that lead to greater engagement — both the quantity of interactions between members (member-to-member) and between the member and the community or company (Company/Community-to-member). There is a lot of demand for community managers of late, and I have been called upon to share my thoughts on what the community manager role really encompasses.
Not all communities will be victorious in the long run. But, if you can provide a point of connection between your members – focusing on member-to-member collaboration in addition to member-to-company communication, have well defined business goals, features that serve the membership well, and a critical mass of engaged members, you have a powerful recipe for success. And remember, most laboring communities are not d0-it-yourself projects! So, be sure to give us a call – Leader Networks offer an Online Community HealthCheck where we examine your community against good practice, and offer practical, actionable fixes to right your course!