Bringing Your Online Community To Life: Preparing - What's Your Advice?

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Flickr Photo by Four Doxn

An online community is an interactive group of people who are joined together by a common interest. As more and more nonprofits join social networking sites, connects with people on blogs or set up a presence on a larger online social networking site like Facebook, Digg, or YouTube, a critical factor for their success is having an online community engagement strategy. Otherwise, the online community becomes a ghost town.

 

An engaged and passionate online community (like what we see on BlogHer) has many benefits. For nonprofits, it can help their organization attract more traffic, loyal supporters, more content, more links, and other values. But it requires investing the time to build relationships with members (yes, even one-on-one interaction) or what we call "network weaving skills."

Before rushing in to "build a community" there are a lot of questions to be asked. It requires some hard work to create something that’s long-term and sustainable instead of gimmick. So, I'm on a mission to learn about the key touch points for developing an online community strategy and better understanding of network weaving skills.

Holly Ross talks about the different mindshift from marketing that it requires in her post, "Are you a marketer or online community manager?" and Maddie Grant gives us the three top reasons why online communities fail.

Alexandra Samuel has a post with some excellent set of questions to ask before you launch an online community. Many will help you shift your perspective towards supporting your users needs, what good marketers do already. Other questions will help you get your organization on board.

How do you get prepared for an online community? What questions do you need ask as part of your planning?

Beth Kanter, BlogHer CE for Social Change and Nonprofits, writes Beth's Blog.

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