Learn Best Practices from Established Online Communities - dummies

Learn Best Practices from Established Online Communities

By Deborah Ng

Have you ever seen an online community with thousands of members interacting and enjoying one another’s company? These types of communities are good role models, and they’re worth a community manager’s time to explore them so that you can see what makes them so successful.

It’s always a good idea to check out the competition. It’s especially interesting to observe competitors at both the top and bottom of the ladder to see what defines success . . . and failure.

For an online community, success depends a lot on the brand’s goals for that community, in addition to how the community responds and interacts. For example, if community discussions are met with enthusiasm with plenty of responses, that’s a sign of success. If a brand is using community to drive sales, a good reaction to promotions and sales events is also a sign of a successful community.

You should also look out for these signs as well:

  • Good response to promotions, sales, and events

  • New members signing up each day

  • Positive reviews and write-ups

  • Requests for interviews with the community manager, especially if a brand is a model of success

  • Inclusion and harmony among members

  • Many active users (versus lurkers)

  • Positive buzz on the social networks

  • Word-of-mouth marketing by community members

  • Members achieve their goals (learning about ongoing promotions, receiving professional tips, or sharing ideas as hobbyists) for joining the community

  • Mutual respect between members and management

Positivity is the sign of a healthy, successful community. Positive results, such as lots of comments or high response to a promotion, are true signs of success.