Amateurs build better online communities than big organizations, but they really shouldn’t. Big organizations don’t use their natural advantages. Big organizations try to compete with passionate amateurs on the amateurs’ playing field.
Big organizations have resources they don’t use. Here are some they should.
- Manpower. Online communities have manpower. If one person can invite a finite number of people to join an online community and spend a finite amount of time with each member in the community, then simple multiplication suggests big organizations have the edge. They put more people behind the community project.
- Money. Big organizations have money. They can fly top community members to meet with the organization, give them a first-hand view of the products/people the organization is involved with.
- Empowerment. The biggest need of people in your community is to be important. Your organization can give people an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference. This might be a difference to the products, the people behind the products or be featured in materials.
- Products/Services to spare. Big organizations have the power to support the community with rewards of products/services, trial/review products and other items to get the community going.
- Existing relationships with members. Big organizations (should) already have a huge database of customers they can approach about joining an online community. They already know who to approach and how to reach them.
- Attention and credibility. Big organizations have the attention and credibility (as an influential party) with their target audience. Amateurs take time to develop this.
Many of the same advantages big organizations have over the newcomer, the same advantages they have over amateur community builders.