Best Practices: Building Online Communities (intro of sorts)

Ever since creation man has built communities.  Our first communities were tribal and used for survival, but in today’s wired world the online community is all about finding common interests and opportunities to connect that compell us to spend time sifting through the profiles and prattling of others (call it our “snooping instinct”).  But how do these communities even get started and how can businesses benefit from leveraging the natural instinct of the herd to click together?

 As the Manager of Academic Content Development for LexisNexis I have built mini-communities with my employees and partnership teams on our Share Point, and have partnered with Martindale Hubbell Connected (think “Linkedin for lawyers”) to find ways of integrating content into the growing community there, (I also manage the Nefesh B’Nefesh (aliyah/Israel) group on Linkedin).  The best resource I have found on building communities is a site called “Community Spark,” written by community guru Martin Reed.  Martin’s tips have helped to refocus my approach from one of content dictator to content facilitator.  A primer that I suggest for any community devleloper is 95 things I have learnt in 9 years of community building.  This is a list of short suggestions for building and managing a community.  Here are my favorites from the list:

23. Don’t be fooled into thinking members will use features even if they requested those features.

24. Keep features down to a minimum …

27. Change your community rarely …

38. You need to highlight the best content and give strong calls to action …

47. Asking questions is the single most effective way of generating activity in an online community.

48. You need to share information about yourself …

64. You need to act as a matchmaker by introducing members to other members …

71. You need to cater to your members – not your own wants or needs.

72. Trust is critical.

73. You need to give out a lot of ego strokes and compliments …

80. Do not edit or delete negative comments about your brand. Respond to them openly.

81. The more you moderate or intervene, the less active your community will be.

82. You need to delegate some tasks to trusted members.

83. You should give trusted members additional responsibilities and powers …

88. You can’t be afraid to experiment …

91. It can be easy to forget that a real person sits behind every member name.

92. You need to be passionate about your online community.

 

Group dynamics depend on creating a place where people can shine, bring what they do best to the table, and feel a part of something greater than anyone of the members.   Aliza Sherman of Webworkers Daily said:

Bottom line: Online community building is about the people first, the shared interests or experiences next, and the tools are the means of bringing people together in new ways.

What has been your experience with community building?

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3 Comments

Filed under Best Practices, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Best Practices: Building Online Communities (intro of sorts)

  1. Thanks for the mention, and for your kind words about my blog!

  2. Pingback: Online Community Building: Make affiliations more valuable by making people earn them « TIME TO GET STARTED

  3. This is really great stuff, would you mind if I linked to it on our website?

    Emma

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