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Social Media Explorer – So You’re Thinking About Starting an Online Community?



February 6, 3014

By Jeff Ross

I’m hearing more frequently these days about companies entertaining the thought of starting online communities, both internal and external facing. The reasons are varied, from wanting to connect employees in the case of an internal community, to wanting to connect with specific external target audiences in the case of external communities. As companies acknowledge the need to shift from transaction-based exchanges to relationship-based interactions, the interest in developing online communities as part of the shift will continue.

However, starting an online community is no easy, quick task – a reality that far too many fail to understand in their mesmerized state of wishful thinking. “What is there to do?” they may ask. “Just hire a vendor or developer to whip up an online site, invite the masses, and – BOOM! – instant community. They’ll flock to us!”

Such thinking mistakes the initiative as one similar to prepping a stadium for a big event and then inviting (or selling tickets to) a huge audience at once to show up and enjoy the party.

Wrong! That’s not how you build a community.


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