5 secrets every community manager wishes they knew

1. All viral adoption is “perpetuated“. For every one successful case of HotorNot there are thousands of Suqidoo and besides the fact that you have to make a product or service something to get passionate about, building a community around it “just does not happen” with 10 users telling 10 other users.

2. The communities that thrive are the ones that are built one participant at a time. Its slow, painful, measured and very effective. Connect with community members, take a genuine interest in their needs and most importantly cater to their specific need as much as you can within the confines of your “community”. But make it each persons own community.

3. Community value increases exponentially with increased participation. It cannot be a linear value proposition. If that was the case, the “network” effect would not exist. To ensure the value increases exponentially, you have to let the community jointly own the direction & its future.

4. “Marketing” is not a four letter word for communities, but “Control” might be. You have to ensure that people know about that the community exists. Does not mean you spam them like Facebook did, or keep nagging them like BirthdayAlarm. On the other hand trying to “control” the community discussion, direction and future is the quickest way to get a competitive community built by the users without you.

5. There is no pixie dust, silver bullet or magic trick. No software program enables your community to happen, regardless of how much it promises to be “just like Myspace”. No consultant (including us at Canvas Group) can make magic happen – although we wish we could. It take good focus, set goals, a lot of hard work (segmenting your users, micro targeting your initial adopters and encouraging feedback) and a little luck.

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