Cairns Regional Council (Australia) recently launched this online community for their residents. Here’s a screenshot from today:
There are some good lessons here:
- Have a small group of people willing to respond to posts before you post them. If you don’t have anyone ready to answer posts then why are you posting people. You should have a few people ready to respond once the community is live.
- Never launch a community at a weekend. It lingers quietly for several days before getting used. Tuesdays/Wednesdays are generally the best days to launch a community.
- Don’t seed the community with 6 questions posted within 15 minutes. Post one, possibly two, get a response before you post more. Six empty questions just makes the community appear dead.
- Message individual members to respond to the questions you post. You need to nudge people frequently when you get started. Privately message a few people and respond to questions. Better, have your employees/staff give their opinions on your questions. Don’t be sneaky, just be transparent.
- Don’t name your account CRC Administrator. Don’t be anonymous, be a real person. People like interacting with real people. Especially if these real people are from a company.
- Keep questions short. It’s surprising just how much this matters. People don’t read lots of text. Keep sentences short.
- Keep questions interesting. There’s a wealth of information about local online communities that will encourage people to participate. These questions really don’t do it.
Feel free to add your own comments.