Managing an online community

Every now & then you stumble across the perfect information at the perfect time! During my ICSP workshops last week we talked about having a dialogue with customers and how to keep members active and participating in online communities. My advice is to keep seeding the conversation and reminding people about what terrific things have been happening in the community – so they come back and participate in the dialogue.

I just stumbled upon this post by Jeremiah Owyang about What a Community Manager does. The post is almost 4 years old (Nov 2006) but is spot on. Here are Jeremiah’s points:

  1. Listen: Use listening tools like Technorati, Talkdigger, read blogs, forums, wikis, to find out what customers are saying
  2. Respond: Depending on what’s being said, respond quickly when appropriate
  3. Inform: Tell the right stakeholders in the company what’s happening, this can range from Engineering, Product Management, Product Marketing, PR, Marketing, Bloggers, or forums moderators.
  4. Shut up and sit back: One of the most important jobs of the CM is to connect the right internal people with customers and let them work it out, stay out of the way if you don’t understand the problems.
  5. Listen more: Keep on listening, responding, informing, and connecting the right folks. A community manager is an odd looking being, big ears and eyes, and a small mouth

I’ve added Jeremiah’s blog to my regular blog reading list – you might like to add it to yours. A nice find :-)

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