I've had such great feedback on my question relating to The Power of Online Communities that I'm going to highlight everyone's comments in a post. To remind you - in advance of my conference talk tommorrow I asked what is your maxim for how best to engage and facilitate an online community? Within 3 hours I had 17 responses from agency digital strategy leaders, media researchers, account planners, media owners, creatives, and some of the most reknowned thinkers on social media strategy:
"Serve their agenda, not yours."
"Do - make their participation worthwhile (whether interaction, feedback, utility, reward, connections). Don't - prevent them doing what they want to do"
"Go to where your communities are - don't expect them to come to you (simple)"...and..."Understand and respect the values and protocols of the community - be sensitive."
"...the importance and power of participatory exploration."
"Don't ask them too much, even if you do indeed provide value. The larger and inclusive you aim the lower barrier of participation you set."
"What goes around, comes around...there's no getting anything from an online community if you're not bringing anything to the table."
"Get Stuck In!"
"Be like Zorro - quick interventions and thoughts, then step back."
"Be a utility provider. You provide
the location, the tools and the encouragement/reward for being
involved, but once the users turn up, what they do with it is all
theirs, and the most you can do to shape it is to inspire and aid them."
"Communities first (ie serve their interests above your own)"
"Use existing communities (FB, Flickr, etc) where possible, don't try and make your own."
"know your audience would be número uno. then be real. and interesting."
"Discover your social currency. What cultural behaviours or dynamics are relevant, or would make anyone care about you? Or,think really long and hard about what value you provide for people in a social context."
"Do put the topic of a talk you're
giving on The Power of Online Communities to your community and then
watch them demonstrate The Power of Online Communities for you ;-)"
So there you have it – thousands of pounds worth of free consultancy in one post. That’s how online communities work.