Why Do Amateurs Build More Successful Communities Than Professionals?

February 16, 2012Comments Off

People who aren’t being paid to develop a community build the most successful communities.

How many communities can you name, founded by organizations, that compete with any well known online community?

In a direct battle between two similarly themed communities, the one founded by the amateur usually trumps the one founded by the organization?

But why is this the case?

Organizations have many advantages. They have resources to build better platforms, have a huge mailing lists, might have an existing library of content and can pay experienced community managers to work for them full time.

The problem is none of this makes much of a difference for building a community.

The best platforms are usually the simple, cheap, ones. Mailing list contacts are irrelevant for starting a community, you just need a small number of friends to get going.

And most community managers only have experience of managing (maintaining) a successful community, not a proven process for growing and developing a new community. 

Even this list neglects the bigger problems of professional community management. The pros usually work within difficult rules/limitations (last year one organization said their lawyers wouldn’t let them respond to questions about their products). They struggle to speak in a personable way. They have limited patience to see the community through.

There are two ways to resolve this problem. 

First, act like a passionate amateur.

Make real relationships with a small number of people before you get started. Continue to develop real relationships with an increasing number of people as you grow. Use a simple platform. Put a passionate person in charge of the community, not someone from a different industry, and give them time to make it work.

Second, create that unique environment. Use the real assets of being an organization such as unique expertise, opportunity to let members make a genuine difference, do outreach at a faster pace, host interesting events, bring in key industry contacts, to create a community that amateurs can’t match. 

You have 4 days remaining to sign up for The Pillar Summit's Professional Community Management course and learn how to develop and manage a thriving community for your organization.

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