(The following excerpt is from an article posted on Imedia.com and my comment was written to offer guidance to those still questioning the value of communities or wondering how to participate. Steve Pohlit)
The secret — the message is more important than the mechanics
There are many new and old media tools that you can use to manage your community. No doubt, these tools are important. But remember, it’s the message that attracts, nurtures and grows your membership. It?s the message that will ultimately enable you to realize the business value of a B2C or B2B community. Your message needs to be targeted, relevant, interesting, differentiating and compelling for your audience.
Communities are an exciting new way for businesses to connect with their markets. You can build your own or plug into influential communities of people with a vested interest in your success. Don’t wait to get started. Learn as you go and refine your strategy based on what you learn. This is a great opportunity for marketing professionals to deliver new breakthrough programs.
Excellent Jim – you have clearly articulated the essential elements of facilitating a community and building a relationship with the community. I appreciate the examples of Dove and Oracle in your article.
I think for smaller companies and entrepreneurs, they may be wondering how to best develop the value of a community. My current thinking is to research the social networks with relevant members like Facebook, LInkedIn and MySpace and build your network. Also join relevant groups and start your own group. At http://www.actionplantracker.com there is free guide for Facebook and the steps are easily adaptable to other social networks.
Most people do not appreciate the significance of your message but a growing number of business leaders are beginning to include transparency within a relevant community as a priority on their list of business development initiatives.
Again my compliments on an an outstanding article and message.
Be well and wishing you continued success,