Sep 23, 2010

7 lessons of online community building

Caroline Dangson (@cdangson) of the Dachis Group shares her experience in trying to build an online community for a client in her post titled Planning a Community Is Like Planning a Wedding
To avoid turning into bridezilla before launching an online community, I offer 7 lessons learned from my experience so far.

1. Meet with Compliance and Legal during the initial planning stages to provide context around the project, give notice about content approvals, find out if training is available (goodwill effort that goes a long way) and if Terms of Service language exists for social media sites
2. Conduct interviews with other groups inside and outside the organization that interact with your target audience (PR, Customer Service)
3. Don’t assume that Facebook-like features will be supported by every community platform
4. Allow for plenty of time to receive approval of a new community manager position and to find the right candidate
5. Avoid ghost-written blog posts (they are awkward and no one wants to endorse before the community is launched anyway)
6. Allow at least a week for website quality assurance testing (you may need more time depending on how many people need to be involved and their responsiveness)
7. Schedule time to pre-seed the community site with user-generated content before launch to kick-start sharing activities