In the last post I touched on the 4 P’s of any online community surrounding your organization which are Purpose, People, Platform and Process. Today I am going to cover an important aspect of People and why it plays such an important role in achieving your goals as an organization. Without engaging the people around your organization you have no community, no brand, no loyalty, just simply followers or customers which on their own do not support any long-term growth and sustainability in your organization. Building a sense of community centered around the people of your organization is crucial and goes way beyond a following or connection that you will ever make in any large social network.
As you establish your online community platform and plan how you are going to execute it (i.e. Process) you need to think about the types of people to include and the motivating factors that are going to drive them to engage further in your community.
Types of people might include:
- Clubs or organizations
- Interest groups
- Referral groups
- Marketing partners
The Purpose of your online community will determine the types of people that need to be included. For example, for our premier social community platform, Social HubSite, we have built an online community for clients, http://community.socialhubsite.com, which gives our clients a better way to connect directly with us, a way for us to get feedback and publish tips and strategies to help them get the most of out the solution. We have also created other private communities specifically for marketing partners to provide them with the tools, resources and education necessary to become a successful partner of ours. Pine Street Presbyterian Church uses their online community, http://pinestreet.socialhubsite.com, to bring together all church members into one place outside of the ever expanding world of large social networks. To sum up these examples, there is not always one community that you build for your organization that is going to serve everyone and every purpose. The purpose and goals of your organization will determine the people that should be a part of the online community, platform that it runs on and process that you follow to execute it.
Take a deeper look at what we are talking about:
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Here is a short exercise that you can do right now that will help you determine what types of people to include in your community:
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