You have heard about the huge fan base that the Mini Cooper has. Its owners are a very loyal bunch and there are multiple Local chapters of Mini Cooper owners. Since I was at the Mini Owners Lounge, I think they made my sign away my first born to be used as a lawn ornament, so I have published the review of MetroPlexMini (a Texas based Mini Cooper online community). They have about 1900 members.
The one takeaway: Helping online communities leverage offline events for building relationships among members creates a stronger bond and facilitates “friendly” community ownership.
There are several things great about the MetroPlex Mini site. Here are a few that you can use right away.
1. Monthly opt-in offline local events (meetup): Getting community members to meet offline to create the “bond” and friendly atmosphere that ties them longer and keeps them contributing more is key. Similar to a lot of companies that have Local User Groups, allow and facilitate community members to meet locally without your company really being there. THe MetroPlex group has monthly cookoffs, Happy hours and breakfast meetings.
2. “Ride of the month ROTM“: There are 10-15 submissions each month for the best Mini. Very democratic, voting system. The way to leverage this for your online community (example of a user – developer community) is to have a monthly best contributor award with voting by the community for the member with the most and best contributions for the month.
3. Community authored newsletters: Nothing worse than a Newsletter that your company creates (spending a lot of time and effort doing so) to see that it does not make it past the Junk mail filter. When the community authors (wiki style) an updated newsletter, there are 2 benefits – you give a chance for budding writing talent to show their stuff and it also creates a sense of ownership.