Building communities in digital spaces is tough slugging. Ask anybody who has done it.
The mission requires equal amounts of sweat, toil, pain and passion to persevere through all of them.
In our community survey, we asked what the top hurdles were in building these collectives. Among the 16 options provided, the top three were remarkably about the people behind the communities not the community activities themselves.
“Corporate/organizational culture”, “lack of executive/managerial support” and being “too controlling” were the biggest factors in preventing communities from thriving. Although a quid pro quo exists in delivering value through organizationally-sponsored communities, the feeling was that the balance is not being struck and that companies were asking too much for not enough return and commitment. Open dialogue and communication is so important between the company and it’s advocates. Allowing the advocates to take some of the helm is important for sustainability of these spaces.
– personally surprised to see lack of leadership and skills so highly ranked among the sixteen factors
– the quality of technical interface was ranked well down the list. Conclusion: good communities can work around a challenging digital environment (although candidly, there is probably a basic standard of a community platform to at least build here).
– with your true advocates and sophisticated users, it really is tough to fake engagement, they expect genuine, passionate and authentic involvement on your part. If your digital leader, executive and/or front line team can’t deliver, find somebody that can.