How To Kick Start A Community –an Ongoing List

One of the top 10 questions in social media marketing asked is “How do we kick start our community?”  This post aims at providing some resources for brands that are preparing their community strategy.

The old adage of the field of dreams isn’t true -if you build it–they won’t neccesarily come. Brands must have a kick start plan to be successful with their community. Below, I’ll list out some practices I’ve heard from companies that have had successful communities, and I’d ask you chime in and add more ways, let’s get started, I’ll be as specific and actionable as possible.

How to Kick Start A Community

  1. Create compelling content on a recurring basis. Brands sometimes create videos, podcasts, or stories on a daily or weekly basis that encourages members to come back.
  2. Reward users who fill out their profile. Folks like to see other friendly faces, so giving them access to premium features or recognition of those who have the most complete profiles should recognized.
  3. Invite community influencers and advocates to the community first –giving them first right of testing the system and then inviting others.
  4. Encourage interaction through conversations. Ask questions, talk about controversial topics, or host a contest that encourages participation.
  5. Reward top contributors: Those that participate the most, or perhaps, are the most helpful should be recognized on a leader board, and thanked in public.  Unexpectedly, send them something nice as a thank you, or reward them with premium services –never money.
  6. Centralize your community around your real world events.  People want to find each other before events, talk about the event during the duration, and then afterwards are key.  Use the community in your physical events.
  7. Virtual Events integrate community:  Don’t just use on your real world events, but integrated with your virtual ones, I‘ve written at length about that here.
  8. Integrate with your website –and other customer touchpoints. Remember, corporate sites of the future are aggregations of community discussion, be sure to integrate community in your corporate site.  Make sure your call center, email marketing, and external newsletters all integrate community.  (don’t forget even the email signatures)
  9. Encourage employees to get active.  A party isn’t much fun if there’s no one there, so encourage the hosts (often employees) to kickstart discussions by talking, debating, and arguing about the news, updates, or even relevant YouTube videos will trigger discussion.  Of course, you have a community manager on staff, right?
  10. Leave a comment below: Whew, I’ve rattled off my best, now over to you.  Leave a comment with your tip.  How do you kick start a community?

I’ve also signaled to some of the vendors in the community platform space to chime in –giving them the chance to strut their knowledge.  Also see tips from Connie Benson, Shout Em, and Keenview.

102 Replies to “How To Kick Start A Community –an Ongoing List”

  1. Related to number 8 – build the community into your actual product. Having two distinct items – a community and product – builds a small (perhaps mental) barrier between the two. This naturally should be a key collaboration touch point with your customers.

  2. Make it easy for people to participate. Also, push content out to community members in the format they choose to keep the community at the forefront of their minds. If they like e-mail, give them e-mail. If they like RSS, give them RSS.

  3. 1. Make participants partners, actively using their feedback on aspects relating to your brand, and acknowledge them for the same. Adopting their suggestion creates a stake for them in the community they participate in.

    2. If your brand can make a difference to the community offline, help enable the effort. A community first created offline will be far more loyal in participaion online thereafter.

    For example if your brand is about films, can you then help facilitate (logistics) enthusiastic film makers showcase their films in the neighbourhood, where they live, where their faces will be recognised? Seek ways to empower participants in the neighbourhoods they live in, and then take it online.

    3. Reach audience in their own communities instead of attempting them to bring them over to your own. If you’re valuable enough in their communities they will follow you back to your own.

  4. Good one Francis

    I’ve heard of Intuit doing this as well as Autodesk. The community is integrated right into the product or service.

    Actually, the way to think about this is: putting customers back into the product (and isn’t that who it’s for anyways?)

  5. Hey Jeremiah, great post. I couldn’t agree more that “if you build it“they won™t necessarily come”. An additional thing to consider is building participation and engagement has a lot to do with the preferences of your audience. Some Awareness clients use traditional marketing channels (direct mail, ads, etc) to reach members and promote their community. Others use what we call “integrated social” campaigns to drive participation. This involves leveraging outposts on the social web (facebook, twitter, yourtube, flickr, etc) to build traffic and participation by highlighting the conversations that are happening within their own community. Another tactic our clients have seen some success with is developing a well planned, “old school” editorial calendar for everything from blog posts to contests to discussions.

    The point is the most successful communities are not only well planned from a functional perspective, but also from a marketing perspective.

    Thanks for the great read!

    Mike – @bostonmike
    (VP Marketing, Awareness)

  6. In the mid- to late nineties, I created and directed a very successful online community that was related unofficially to Star Wars (by way of fan fiction).

    One of the main pulls to the site was having unique content in the form of stories and articles that was not found elsewhere. These were assembled/edited into a bi-monthly publication we called the Online Journal. We did a VERY nice job in terms of layout and presentation, and the content was exceptional. It started attracting “unofficial, unauthorized” contributions from some well-known Star Wars authors.

    What really had the community go off the charts in terms of visitation, involvement, popularity and loyalty was that we insisted that everyone contribute. I was insistent that even the youngest, most inexperienced person should be able to get a chance at having their content seen and heard. So, we created venues in the publication to accommodate this. Entries rolled in, we would read and provide feedback, help edit the piece then include it. We would promote the names of the newcomers in our emails and announcements right along with the popular, well-known names. This caused profound excitement for the newcomers (“I’m famous!”) and everyone else just loved it because of the cool factor. That cool factor was the willingness of a publication to put a regular kid right next to a major author and have them share the same space; in other words, the same chance, the same shot as the big guy.

    We made a point of not rewarding top contributors. We kept the playing field even which created a definite identify for us. So, it winds up that it doesn’t ALWAYS pay to reward top contributors. Sometimes the opposite can cause quite a stir!

    Tim Salam

  7. Thanks, Jeremiah – good topic. You captured a couple of things that are on the top of our list at Lithium, in terms of strategies that are most critical to early success.

    Our experience is that communities that succeed in the first year almost always get three things right:

    Promotion: You touch on it in #8, but it can’t be stressed enough. For most companies, the single best way to promote your community is to give it a visible and persistent presence on well trafficked pages on your website. That presence can be as simple as a link or a feed or as dynamic as a widget, but it’s critical to your success. All the emails, contests, etc., in the world won’t make up for the absence of good on-site promotion. I can’t tell you how many times people have come to us and said “I can’t get people to participate,” when a look at the numbers shows that no one even knows the community exists.

    Superusers: #5 is an absolute requirement, and #3 also gives you a huge advantage. I’d also argue for outreach to other communities and blogs on topics similar to yours. I don’t mean spamming their space with ads, I mean going right to their community managers and owners, showing respect for what they’ve done and articulating how your efforts will contribute to the ecosystem. They’ll usually appreciate the outreach and spread the word to influencers in their network. When they get to your site, make sure you have a good reputation system in place to reward and recognize their participation.

    Focus and structure: For communities focused on a product or service, the challenge is simple — keep your community structure as lean as it can be to start. Sometimes people think “more topics and more options will drive more participation,” but in fact it depends on your stage of growth. In the early days, too broad a structure can spread activity out so much that the community never feels busy. It’s hard to resist expanding, because users will insist on more topics, and everyone in your organization will have ideas to add too. Be strong, and grow your community as users “vote with their feet.”

    So in terms of priorities, I’d say get the above done before you move on to the other stuff.

    As for the other stuff: #1 is a good idea too, as long as you don’t let your company-created content overwhelm the users. Some companies say “welcome to your community!” — then pack the page with company-authored blogs, videos, promotions, etc., with barely a nod to user contributions.

    #2 depends on your objectives. It’s a fact that profiles are underutilized in most communities. It’s unclear (to me at least) that this is a problem, depending on your objectives for the community.

    The effectiveness of #4 is so dependent on who does it and how well they do it. In general I find that a lot of companies bet on strategies that require some element of creative genius on the staff (“let’s create a viral video!). I don’t find creative geniuses to be all that common, actually.:)

    #7 is logical and looks great when it works but it’s surprising how seldom people do it well.

    #9 of course will absolutely kill you if you do it wrong.

    Hope this is useful!


    Joe Cothrel
    Chief Community Officer
    Lithium Technologies

  8. As well as creating compelling content on a recurring basis, create content as often as possible so that when users visit your blog they always have something new to discuss. Even if you have a few good posts, if you don’t post almost everyday users will stop checking your blog everyday and it’s harder to generate conversations.

  9. All good points/comments for generic communities or those intended to be highly social. Our focus is more on strategic communities that have a specific business purpose “ so our kickoff plans are typically part of a much larger community ˜blueprint.™ Brands must understand WHY they™re building a community in the first place, and what they™re expecting to accomplish. Planning for a party (as noted above) is much different than planning for the development of new innovative products to win market share over the next three years, for example. While some of the community characteristics remain consistent, the goals, expected levels of participation and the outcomes can vary greatly “ along with the required technology applications needed to deliver. (We have a lot of good resources/whitepapers for this on our site.)

    Kristi Grigsby
    Neighborhood America

  10. Hi Jeremiah,

    I think point 8 on your list is very interesting. Integration of community with other touchpoints is about much more than just promotion. It is about simultaneously providing both choice, consistency and continuity of customer experience. There used to be a time when “brand control” was just about having a consistent message, look and feel. Consistency is much more difficult in a distributed and interactive online presence made up of a multitude of forums, social networks, Twitter and more.

    Businesses need to “recognize” their customers, wherever they meet. They need to remember each customers interests. They need to remember their conversations. This consistency in profiling, personalization and conversation is a huge challenge in the multi-touchpoint web.

    At CoreMedia we help to keep the customer experience simple and engaging. The conversations could be happening in a wide range of places – on the web, on a mobile, on Facebook and more, but to the end user it should always feels like home – one community.

  11. First off, JO™s list is extremely well thought out and comprehensive. Great advice to anyone trying to start or revitalize a community effort.

    Some of the comments point this way, but an important addition to this list is:

    Find and listen to dialog about your community™s subject matter. It™s right there on Twitter, Facebook, industry blogs, Google Groups, etc. Engage in the conversations where they are happening to develop relationships with potential members. Members you find talking here are already active socially and aligned with your community™s interest. A handful of active engaged folks goes a long way.

    Also, about point 8. It™s not the simple fact that a community is integrated with your overall web presence, but how it is integrated that™s important. Make sure you™ve embedded social components into your customer or employee work flow. Every online experience (and even offline where possible) should have a social component that ties back to your community. This not only helps spur community activity, but also ensures that your community and your overall organizational efforts are closely aligned.

    Thanks again for the post.

  12. GREAT topic, Jeremiah!

    I will second that you should not only make it easy to participate, but also take it out to the places where your community members are.

    In addition, we should remember that community-building happens offline too! It’s easy to forget that people actually exist once they step away from the computer and unhook themselves from their social media tools (!!), but the need for a real, physical connection is still a powerful and effective way to connect.

    Whether at a meeting, a networking function, conference, etc, it’s important to show your community members that you don’t pay lip service to them but you take the time to be where they are, both virtually AND physically.

    Never make them seek you out. Be everywhere your audience is — online and offline — and community growth becomes an organic and self-sustaining process.

    Layla – @BeanCreative
    Bean Creative – Funktional web and interactive design

  13. Hi Jeremiah – hope you are well.
    I’d like to comment on the importance of putting the audience first.
    Too many communities start from the point of view of the brand – what can we tell them. This needs to shift (and can pretty easily) to how can we help them. Also, brand planners can learn a lot by immersing themselves in communities based on their own interests vs. researching only what competitors or even Facebook are doing “ learn what engages them on an emotional, academic, inspirational level “ then think through how the brand can extend to serve a similar role to its audiences with even more credibility and resources to do so.
    Putting up a community that is product or brand centric is destined to be a ghost town.
    Also, I can’t stress enough how important primary research is in the measurement process. Hits & clicks and qualitative are important, but to truly understand business impacts related to perception and attitude, you need quantitative data representative of the entire community.
    Best – kw @kathywarren

  14. Kathy, good point on focus

    Content or media used to attract community members should be content the community wants first. Brands should first take inventory of what community members are talking about elsewhere –and find a new way to add value in their own community (opinions, debates, polls, related topics).

    Appreciate it thanks

  15. It’s exciting to see that the first item on the list is content-focused. Content can be a powerful tool for bootstrapping a community as well as driving ongoing participation among members. It can be a proxy for passion and a reason to commune until the community begins to mature. As an icing on the cake, data from content -infused communities regularly demonstrates the value of content to the community program and to the brand as a whole.

    As brands consider developing content in support of a community, I think it’s important that they consider a full spectrum of content that not only includes voice of brand content like blogs and product-focused articles and videos, but that extends to user-centric content designed to make users smarter and meets their lifestyle needs. Voice of brand and educational lifestyle content strategies are very different approaches to community content and play different roles in the community.

    A lifestyle content strategy is fully grounded in the users’ needs and is specifically designed to give community members the information they need to be successful in all areas of their life as related to the brand’s products and services. This focus on the user first makes the content more applicable to a wider audience and often opens the door for a more brand-centric message later. Additionally, we’ve found that daily publishing of content isn’t as critical to a lifestyle content strategy as is providing a robust collection of assets with a user focus that community members can visit time and again as their knowledge needs change. Monthly refreshes of quality assets is sufficient to keep the site lively and engaging.

    Voice of brand content shows the brand’s willingness to engage in a dialog with the user, a critical element of a community. By it’s very nature, voice of brand content starts with the brand’s message and often focuses on what the brand has to say, which may reach a smaller audience of those users who have a high interest in the brand’s message. This type of content does need to be updated very regularly (daily if possible) to keep community members engaged.

    Content contributed by the brand to the community from across the spectrum sets the stage for user contributions in all forms: forum posts, ratings and reviews, and user generated content. When the brand makes an effort to provide useful content first in a give-before-you-get strategy, it’s much easier to ask the users to then begin supporting the site with their own content as the community grows instead of asking them to take on the full burden of making the community successful from the get-go.

    Natanya Anderson (@natanyap)
    VP Content, Powered

  16. Regarding item #3, if you actually allow your top influencers and customers to affect the community’s design — ask their opinion, make changes as a result — they’re more likely to become advocates for your community.

  17. #5 is a big one. Look at old school message board communities. Most active community members love rankings, levels and points. A badge of their standing. I like communities that encourage and reward participation.

    The one I would add is the role of the Community Leader (or as it’s more commonly known, the Community Manager). The host of the party. You bring this up in #9 but it’s worth spending time talking about the role and they types of things those people do. Welcome, listen, interact, introduce, invite and converse with members.

    I’ve just listened to Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, where he talks about leading tribes vs managing. I really like the concept as it relates to hosting communities.

    Maybe @rhappe from the Community Roundtable will weigh in on this too.

  18. Actually, The Community Roundtable is holding their bi-weekly lunch right now, check out #theCRlive. Always a very interesting discussion, this was just Tweeted: Talking about community management as managing a complex systems and how to set boundries & incent behavior.

  19. Jeremiah,

    Great pointers for creating a robust community.

    With regard to points 6 and 7, there is a definitely a lot of opportunity to bring your community into your real-world and virtual events. An important point to leveraging your community with your event strategy is the experience that your community has with your event. If done well, your community will be very engaged with your brand and content before, during and after the event concludes regardless if it’s in the real or virtual world.

  20. Jeremiah – great post – I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above and I believe strongly in the need to promote community in order to get it jump-started… especially if it is a new community. I am amazed by companies that will spend big $ to create a community and then don’t spend any $ to promote it!

  21. Jeremiah,

    I am a new reader of your blog for the past week. Your content inspires thought beyond the topic on the page.

    I look forward to learning and interacting.

    The “communities” we hope to build can help to inspire, inform, and persuade us, but importantly to give each a voice, and an opportunity to share.

    Thank you.

  22. Jeremiah,

    This is a great topic. Anybody who’s run/hosted/managed a community knows there’s no secret sauce. Early members do set the stage in a way, as they do in the early months of a new restaurant, club, bar, etc. But I do think that in addition to attracting core and valued content “creators” we need to better understand and facilitate the interests of the audience members whose presence motivates “influencers.”

    Those who pay attention to the inluencers, who distribute the influencers by pass along, favoriting, commenting, etc. There are many smaller and less noticeable social dynamics involved in the growth of a sticky community, often involving more passive kinds of participation (attention is gotten from those who pay it!).

    There may even be methods to grow communities that use some kind of phased site feature rollout — keeping the “spaces” and their connections small until the population has grown in size and diversity to support new spaces and connections. Our use of navigation, member features, content features, messaging, feeds, content and people views — all of these can be scaled up over time rather than rolled out as a fully-featured site at the get go. Cities come from towns from villages from settlements from roaming tribes…

    Let relationships build and weave a social fabric strong enough such that they can sustain growth over time. Too many communities want the hit and the traffic at launch, and consequently I think many peak and fade before members have had a chance to bind.

  23. Karen

    I agree, I encourage clients to use ‘earned’ media to drive a kick start of a community, if that doesn’t work, then focus on ‘paid’ media to increase awareness.

    What’s the difference? Those in the earned media phase (converations, inteaction, engagement) are further along the marketing funnel –and are more interested –and likely to participate.

    Most often, I see paid as towards the beg of the funnel in awareness. Focus on those teetering to join.

    Adrian, good poionts.

  24. Gary, welcome to the Web Strategy Blog. You’ll notice that the wisdom isn’t in my blog posts, but in the deep rich comments from the community.

    Jump on in, glad to have you participate –hoping to learn from you too.

  25. Hi Jeremiah,

    Great post. Related to number 1, provide users the ability to include their own content on the site, be it stories videos or podcasts. I’m actually thinking here a bit of fan-fiction as an example (yes some of it is truly bad) where authors have actually benefited because the fan fiction has exposed the original content to more people.

    also I think running some kind of contest on the site, related to a theme which generates content for that site as well as discussion could be useful as well.

    Taylor Ellwood

  26. This is a great post Jeremiah – this is part of what we are working on at The Community Roundtable and it’s great to see your perspective. The Community Maturity Model that we have open-sourced ( is our framework for thinking about how to operationalize and make a community successful. I would second Michael’s point though and stress the community manager piece of the equation. I’ve been talking to a lot of people recently who are thinking about the community management responsibilities as stuff that gets done by the bloggers or lead members of the community and while some of those tasks are shared, I think it is useful to separate the content creation and the community management responsibilities if possible.

    My second big piece of learning recently is that many, many communities try to scale before they get engagement with their advocates. You touch on this but I think it is worth further emphasis. If you scale too fast and there is no core engagement, it is much harder to create that passionate core membership. With communities, you are going for long-term sustainable change not a quick flash in the pan. Too many people too soon can not be absorbed, I think of it a little bit like cooking risotto – you have to start by stirring and adding a little bit of water until it is absorbed. Once you do that for a while, you can start adding bigger portions of water but until the rice has been tempered, it cannot absorb a lot of water at once.

    Great post – and an area worth more exploration.

  27. This is something very hard to do but it is worth the time putting effort to this. Many have tried it but only a few succeeded. It’s good that you listed a lot of tips for people to start with 🙂

  28. Very good dialogue. I’d like to add two dynamics we see in our most successful brand communities.

    1) Brand & Culture: Develop goal set, socialized brand view and community cultural definition (in that order) prior to choosing and deploying technology. Technologies come and go and the variations are not of primary importance. Continuing with the above party metaphor, would anyone actually make the decorations and choose the menu let alone cook the food prior to deciding the theme of the party? Of course not. Your brand as manifested in the culture of your community will have far greater impact on your goals, sustain longer and be more difficult to change if you don’t get it right at the beginning

    2) Role of Moderation: Recognize, plan and implement on the basis that moderation is needed. And needed not just to manage the standards of community but to proactively set story, tone and context

  29. I love all the contribution in this thread from such very experienced folks. Just adding a bit on the community management and moderation role at the very beginning: People depend on the community management to organize the place and keep it on topic, focused on its purpose. They expect (and usually appreciate) content programming, guidelines for behavior, answers to their questions, and a general environment of civility. So it’s important to envision and target that type of environment. At the same time, over-structured venues inhibit the organic creative process of people building on individual connections. A whole lot of rules and structure can be discouraging; online communities are freedom-loving. And expression suffers under rigid interpretation of what’s relevant or unacceptable. So as long as people generally adhere to the long-term goals of the community, it’s good to permit the occasional detour into personal issues, current events, or wherever else the conversation may go. That’s how we bond to one another, and that’s what brings people back, so those sorts of connections are great for the growing community. Especially at the beginning, it’s always good to tread lightly, staying out of people’s way, relying more on education than the delete button to keep things on track, and generally giving the benefit of the doubt.

  30. All great points after you’ve decided that community building is the right way to go, but I wonder if we should also include a “step 0” which is to take a step back and ask a pre-requisite question of “do we really need another community” and not just assume a-priori that this is what’s best for your marketing strategy?

    After all, if you put your efforts into investing in an already existing community, it would have much more immediate benefits and lower cost of participation.

    The flip side though, is that you surrender control… but we’re talking about Social Media here, the very antithesis of control!

  31. Great post, and plenty of insightful comments too.

    I don’t think #10 should be underestimated: it’s so much easier for visitors to contribute when they’re being prompted, subtly or less-so, here and there. Ending with a question can help to balance your own content with community-sourced responses. It worked really well on this post!

  32. Hi Jeremiah,

    Great post with tips for brands wanting to run a community. There is no question about the fact that a well run community can generate revenues. And the trend we see is that the web users are participating in niche communities, which for a brand and a marketer provides great opportunities to interact with the target audience. Mine and EPiServer™s experience is based on more than 100 communities run by our customers who have provided us with insight into how brands have been able to generate good contact points with the customer, provide unique content, engage their audience and drive revenues. A good example is a leading shoe manufacturer, which generates close to 30 percent of the traffic to their e-shop from the community. In addition to your tips, below are a few additional items to consider:

    1)Spend time on your idea. Our experience has taught us that the most important factor when building a successful community is to find the idea that the target audience will gather around. Take your time to develop your strategy! People want to engage and share their thoughts with others who share the same interest. For the community owner, this means that you have to think outside the box. If you are an insurance company, most likely discussing insurances is not on your customers™ top list of things they want to do. But one of our smart customers, in the insurance industry, realized that what their customers had in common was the love for travel and hence they created a travel diary where members of the community could share their travel stories. By finding the right idea, your community can become a source of innovation and a repository where the thoughts and ideas of the members of the community can help you improve your business.
    2) Ensure that you have a community manager and the appropriate resources to run the community. A community owner can manage and moderate the community and remove offending content, which is important in the start-up phase to ensure that you do not scare your members away. A community manager will also ensure that overall strategy of the community stays in focus while at the same time adding new content and new functions to the site to keep the members coming back.
    3)Make your community visible. This relates to #8 in the list you have created. Integrate the community with your existing corporate Web sites and make sure that content can be automatically shared between the structured content on a corporate Web site and the user generated content created by the members of the community, the community experts (which are needed in the start phase!) and by the employees. This will ensure that you can populate the community rapidly and without a huge expense tab connected to it. A good example on this is Visit Sweden (
    4)Ensure that performance is optimized and that the solution is scalable. You do not want your members to sit and stare at a screen and get bored.
    5)Design the community so that it is easy and intuitive to use. No training should be needed to become a member, to participate, create groups, upload and share content and communicate with other members (via included e-mail functionality).

    The most common question we get is is there room for another community? I would strongly argue yes to this question “ if you have the right idea for what the focus of the community should be.

    Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing at EPiServer.

  33. I just want to thank everyone for these really constructive, well thought out comments and responses. It’s clear focus have a lot of passion in this topic.

    Maria, points 4 and 5 about making the site usable and interesting are seminal, thanks.

  34. Jeremiah and others – great post and comments. So that I don’t repeat many great points I will add only the following:

    1) Ask what the community participants want out of the community and find the overlap (think Venn diagram) between what you want as a host and what the participants want and deliver on that intersection.

    2) make it frictionless. It has t be dead simple for participants to find, engage, share, learn, etc – make it frictionless.

  35. Jeremiah – you hit on it in number eight, but email is one of the best ways to “kick start” a community. Many brands already have a community of sorts on their existing email files, and offering them news ways to interact via social media can be one of the quickest and most effective ways to kick start the effort.

    Great conversation.

  36. These are some great ideas. With the emergence of this burgeoning new medium, it is great to have some strategies that will help with new users. I think most marketers are challenged with developing strategies that will be beneficial to business, but it is very important to get familiar with this because I don’t think its going away anytime soon.

  37. I think it’s important to focus on social objects (i.e. things the network members have in common) and then work to bring to life, online versions of those objects. This will increase the niche focus of the network and enable a higher degree of monetization. The goal of course is then for the niche social network to become the social object.

  38. Jeremiah,

    Consider adding the following practices to your kick-start list:

    1) Define the mission, goals and objectives of the community.

    2) Define a set of business problems that the community will solve, if appropriate.

    3) Agree on how to measure or evaluate the community success or effectiveness.

    4) Develop a process for selecting community members.

    5) Agree a process for facilitating the community conversations.

    Hope the above adds value to the kick-start conversation.



  39. Jeremiah,

    One additional item that I didn’t see so will add is the following. For out internal communication (we use Leverage 7.0) we communicate all ideas to one or all by using @ and hashtags. We have decreased internal email use by 95% and increased speed to action and deliverable by 2x. It’s amazing how people pick up of the “experience stream” and get stuff done.

    The usage within the solution, which we call Inspiration, has tripled since we launched status updates with commenting.


  40. Great post Jeremiah…

    Alot of Social Media Executives are so caught up with the “How To” in the building of a Social Media Campaign, with the technical know-how and what to put in place that they forget that the REAL thing in social media is the community…


  41. Although I believe in rewarding top contributors, which also gives the newcomers something to strive for, Tim Salam had a nice comment on why this is not a good idea.

  42. Spread the Word!
    As the old adage goes: Do good and speak about it. I think, this applies just as much to the starting of a community. With social media marketing there maybe the way to spread the news online only, via viral seeding, but that depends and is best decided individually.

  43. What about little “sprinkle” gimmicks like polls and surveys? Do you think that entices user participation as well? An interactive community seems like the most interesting–I have noticed Facebook has started to incorporate polls and surveys (not to mention those never-ending quizes) on a user’s homepage.

  44. Some inspiring ideas, thanks. I have a question – what do people think of calling your online community ‘the community’? I wonder if it is off-putting to users who maybe are not the facebook generation and who don’t think of themselves as being part of the social web – but who never the less are passionate about a topic, and would like to engage with others. Anyone got any evidence either way?

  45. Hmm, I am surprised no one has asked this, but when you say to reward top contributors, why “never money”? There is an assumption right now that UGC is always going to be provided by “volunteers”, which reminds me of the assumption in the early 90’s that the web would never be used for commercial purposes (before Amazon, Ebay, etc). Is there not a potential online model that enables “paying for service”, just as we now “pay for product” online?

  46. + A clear vision and passion focus (e.g. Flickr:Interesting images |Wikipedia:Creating world’s knowledge repository| Slashdot:news for geeks)

    + A clear set of norms and sanction – people like order but dislike censorship. For Wikipedia there are three core policies: Neutral Point of View, assume good faith and be bold. The one I love (and remembered) from Flickr is ‘don’t be creepy’ 🙂

    + A clear area of where the conversations go (Wikipedia: community portal, a talk back behind each article; Flickr: Scroll down you will see Forum and Ideas, comments for each photo)

  47. I have found that enthusiasm among colleagues does make for some interesting posts (Colin’s for example) on our blog – but I do think its harder when its a niche industry such as pest control though. We have gradually been working through a list similar to this one, but its great to see so many ideas all in one place – thanks!

  48. I realize I am late into the conversation, but one item I believe is important in jumpstarting a community actually takes place before you have even launched.

    I think it is important to yes, have compelling content, but also have a content/activities/functionality plan. What I mean is, don’t put all your cards on the table Day 1. Launch with something stripped down either content-wise or technology-wise. That way, you are equipped, at least in the near-term to introduce new components into the community. You always have something up your sleeve. You can use these introductions to spark either additional activity, or different types of activity.

    Its almost Machiavellian, but you can always give something, taking something away is something different. So, launch with the essentials, nothing else. Then figure out when you will down the road introduce new components to your community. This will go a long way in keeping your community fresh/vibrant and give you jumping off points for any kick-starting.


  49. Hi

    Thanks for this nice article about Community Management

    This field is getting big now in Spain also, I have refereced this post as a resource in my latest post in Spanish about CMs.

    Thanks for the inspiration



  50. Starting an online discussion community is much much easier then the following:
    “how to jump-start from 0 users an online user base, where user participation is at core of it”

    Just an example: 
    1. real estate website where users are the ones selling or renting while you provide comprehensive platform for it.
    2. car sales -where users are the ones submitting their own cars while you provide comprehensive platform for it.

    Doesn’t matter what platform you provide for, question is how do you start from 0 users.
    another question-would you lets say make a 5 min effort to post whatever you want sell or rent on a website that has 0 posts or even 10 posts. personally I wouldn’t.

  51. Pingback: marcus
  52. Pingback: Buy

Comments are closed.