Here I would like to highlight a few corporate responsibilities that I feel are important when launching an Online Community or “Social Media” area.
Online communities should not be developed because “everyone else is doing it”. These communities generally end up in failure. An endless amount of time, thought and management is essential to the success of any endeavor. You should not jump right in with both feet with out discussing the below – as a main starting point.
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1. Key Questions
Who is your target audience?
What is your communities purpose?
What is the “hook”?
What are people looking for?

The above 4 questions are a starting point for any company. Many discussions and debates will assist in developing an initial corporate strategy. These answers will also assist in the below (#2)

2. Features and Functionality
As a company is willing to expand their outreach and launch an online community, many factors come into play. One of the most important decisions – what they are going to offer their community….features and functionality, and how are the members going to interact with one another? Launching a full blown community with too many offerings
(blogs, wiki’s, profiles, friending, forums, video, photo’s….the list is endless) and choices can be very detrimental to the success of an online community. A staggered approach is the best way to ensure that your members are not initially overwhelmed.

3. Member outreach
It is up to you to find people that you feel will benefit from your community as well as those that will assist in the development and growth. “If you build it, they will come…” but they will not stay and you will not be able to retain any member if they see the “Empty Restaurant” (see prior blog post). Finding those key individuals and influences are key to the success and growth of any online community. Building this initial foundation is key for the longevity of your community.
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These are 3 important steps for corporations to take before they jump right into an Online Community or Social Media launch.
As always, thanks for reading and comments are welcomed!

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