Good afternoon all,

I have seen lots of discussion lately about growing a community and wanted to share a post I wrote after a #Hootchat tweetchat - I hope you find it helpful.  #Hootchat happens every Thursday 3pm EST by the way - hope to see you there. 

 

Q1: What are the first steps to building a new online community

  • Know why you are building the community: customer service, engagement, marketing
  • Determine the best platform: Paid: @JiveSoftware or @LithiumTech Free: LinkedIn or G+

 

Q2: What are some strong brands with online communities

 

Q3: What are common mistakes when trying to grow your online community?

  • Trying to grow too big too fast & prioritizing member numbers over engagement
  • Not having a clear definition of success
  • Putting up a community without a Community Manager

 

Q4: What are ways you can engage your online community offline?

  • Engage via: private chat, email, or my old school method… the phone & have an actual conversation
  • WebEx conferences with community members – Google Hangouts or Skype work too
  • Some platforms allow private groups – create one and invite your MVP / power users

 

Q5: How does growing your online community help build brand credibility?

  • The more conversations you have, the more loyal your customer, the more loyal – the more they talk about you
  • Along with credibility, you have a great customer service and solutions place as peers trust each other
  • Support communities are AWESOME customer service centers: trusted, fast, and low-cost

 

Q6: How do you identify potential advocates and ambassadors from your online community?

  • Analytics: How often they come, how many answers they provide, answers marked correct by others
  • What is the “tone” of their conversations? How do they engage other members?
  • Get into your community and participate

 

Q7: What are some non-traditional ways to grow your online community?

  • Start with a tweetchat, build a list, slowly invite people from the list into the community
  • No matter how you find and invite – DO IT SLOWLY – set up the space, be ready for volume, have content
  • NEVER invite ppl to an empty room – have a team to greet & respond as well as content for them to consume

 

Q8: What is one thing you can do right now to start growing your online community?

  • Know WHY you are building it
  • Have customer-centric content
  • Participate & respond to questions

 

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Best,

Toby