Discovering, Building and Growing Community: Challenge and Opportunity

CHALLENGES FOR COMMUNITY BUILDERS (from forward-thinking leaders):

I wonder what would happen – if we just stopped talking about the crisis (macro-economics) and simply started giving the best service ever to our customers (micro-economics) instead.
~Eleftherios Hatziioannou

Social psychology is more important than economics. ~Peter Economides

All cultures … have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works. ~Joseph Campbell

The role of purposeful storytelling is to unlock people’s emotions so they can connect to your story and brand. ~Peter Guber

The real opportunity is in reaching out to the dissatisifed, to those in search of something new. ~Seth Godin

DISCOVERING COMMUNITY: One of the most exciting realities of our time is swift connection via digital networks with others who share one’s passion, beliefs and interests. For individuals, such discovery of peers in the social networks often leads to connection in the flesh. Brands have worked for years with technology companies to develop truly amazing solutions for identifying and connecting with individuals, conversations, and existing communities oriented around specific interests. Leaders in the field include PeopleBrowsr, Radian6, BrandWatch and Converseon.

BUILDING COMMUNITY: Powerful communities are often built around dynamic leaders who balance hard-earned lessons in relationship with an appreciation for new knowledge. Increasingly, brand leaders are giving away power to customers – to tell stories, share suggestions, critique corporate leadership, and even design products/services. The result for many brands has been increased loyalty, positive word of mouth and trust. Here are examples of brands that truly demonstrate customer-centric community development in social networks via Lisa Braziel at Ignite (see examples). Two superior tech solutions for building community include Jive and Buddy Media.

NURTURING COMMUNITY: It takes people to truly grow and nurture a long-term community. In social networks, conversations are a major aspect of how people connect, whether in brief texting via Twitter or Facebook, or within long drawn-out comment threads on blogs. A successful brand has community managers on staff who love the brand, are personable, have common sense, understand social technologies and are pro-active in driving community growth. Content-marketing and curation are catch-prhases at this time in history related to growing online communities. Steve Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation, is arguably the best resource on curation today. Some of the greatest community managers/social strategists in the industry include Amber Naslund, Eleftherios Hatziioannou, and Jeremiah Owyang.

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