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Anne-Marie Faiola

You are so right about needing a strong community leader/director helping and nurturing a community to have better engagement. In our industry, the really successful forums & community site always have one main bandleader and a series of trusted sidekicks that keep things moving.

Matt Moore

I think there's a 4th thing too. Those with an online community often forget that they are just one port of call for hassled, time-poor people.

The up-front question that should be asked is: Are we trying to serve a need that is already being served elsewhere?

And if the answer to that question is "yes" then don't even start. Go where the action is instead.

Unfortunately this requires a level of humility that most organisations do not possess.


I just wonder how much people really want to participate in 'brand' based communities versus issue based ones. Facebook works because it is generic enough to be what you want it to be as a user. With a brand based community there is always the idea that the brand sits in the background someplace - lurking.

Also, while I agree with what you've said above, for most brands you have marketing managers commissioning these projects who have no idea what it takes to build and run a community and who therefore build no ongoing sustainability into the project - they run a community as if it is a campaign with a shelf life, whereas communities are meant to be ongoing and require ongoing commitment.


Some really solid points here Richard on buidling / managing community - plus there has *got* to be some value add. Without that, you can build it, like Mr Costner in The Field of Dreams, but they won't come..

Matt Moore

Brian - I think we have a slogan "A community is not a campaign!"


Great post.

Oh and:

"I think these communities have failed for two major reasons"
You name three major reasons.

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