Question: How do you build an online community?
The short answer: two girlfriends were dealing with cancer and I felt helpless. I wanted to know how best to be there for them. I also found myself with a strange, overwhelming need to be close to my girlfriends – those two and others.
That was the genesis of my online community – Girlfriendology.com. Definitely not with the intent, initially, to build an online community, but to address a personal need to express my girlfriend gratitude and a desire to inspire women to be better friends to each other.
I suspect that a driving emotion is most often the beginning of many successful online communities – a need to express our beliefs and passions, a desire to educate or inspire, and a longing to connect with like-minded people.
Whatever the origin or mission of a community, it will eventually weave a unique story. The story threads its way through the community manager, in and out through the communication and content, connecting the members of the community and, in the end, the story creates a ‘fabric’ much stronger because of all those elements.
And, just like any really good story, there are several, distinct, key elements to an online community that build into the story as the community grows. We’ll cover these in my BWELA session on Successful Solutions for Building and Growing a Successful Online Community (Thursday, Nov 3, 2:45 pm):
1. Community Goals and Objectives – From branding to managing expectations, for new communities or those who might need to re-examine their goals and objectives to get back on track.
2. Knowing and Growing our Communities – Who are the citizens in our unique community, and what connects us? We need to take stock of your community as it grows, and continue to provide substance and content that meets our objectives and is valuable for member participation.
3. Using Social Media to Grow our Community – I’ll share a variety of ways in how others have grown their communities using Social Media, as well as defining specific social media tools for managing community connections efficiently and effectively.
4. Managing our Community – Most of us wear multiple hats, from CEO to content creation, from ongoing social media updates to managing a budget. But the one hat that we may struggle with wearing most is that of managing a group of people who have their own goals, objectives and viewpoints. So we’ll share some lessons I’ve learned about managing communities – the good, the bad and the downright painful!
We’ll cover several case studies of a variety of communities, the advice they have to offer and the lessons they learned the hard way. Join us to as we share in the conversation of how to be successful at managing and growing our online communities!
Note: I’d love to hear your community manager/community story! Please fill out this survey and share your community insights. You may be selected as one of our seminar’s case studies. And we’ll note all the communities to thank in our presentation and upcoming eBook on Community Building for Bloggers.
p.s. And wear your best SHOES to the session. (:
Hear what else Debba has to say:
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With over 20 years of corporate marketing, DEBBA HAUPERT now focuses her marketing efforts on social media to help companies reach/build their ‘communities.’ She built the online community of women: GIRLFRIENDOLOGY . Debba has over 24,000 Twitter followers and 20,000 female Facebook Fans – and, keeping with the brand, she deletes (most) guys! She has worked with Biz, Kroger, The UPS Store, Frito-Lay, Healthy Choice, Crystal Light, International Delight and other brands. She teaches/speaks on social media marketing. She/Girlfriendology can also be found at @Girlfriendology and Facebook.com/Girlfriendology .