How do you ensure your online community is a success? Online community programs take a lot of thought, planning and work to get them off the ground, but if done correctly can bring so much value for members and brands.
While there is no silver bullet when it comes to ensuring the success of an online community, recent research by Sequentia Environics on Digg and Reddit, two of the most prolific online communities, have highlighted the following elements as necessary for designing or managing a community that will thrive:
- Optional anonymity. The ability for users to remain private helps shift the focus onto issues rather than individuals. Anonymity is also critical to help promote collective action within a community setting.
- Democracy. The basic need for community is driven by a desire for collective action and a change in the balance of power.
- Earned authority. While authority is tolerated in communities, it must be earned rather than appointed.
- A strong sense of purpose. Every community needs a purpose or collective agenda, whether implicit or explicit. This purpose needs to go beyond products, services and tactical activities.
- Transparency in operation and intent. The heart of an online community involves its relationship to a countercultural agenda. Transparency in operation forms a critical piece of that approach.
- Inclusive ownership with scale. Every community should provide a mechanism for members to take ownership of certain areas of interest. This is especially important as a community begins to grow, as it allows for the development of collective identities.
To read more, download the report from Sequentia Environics.