What’s at the centre of your community strategy? It might sound like a question with a lot of possible responses, but there are a limited number of good answers. It might be tempting to look at businesses that have invested in community and simply assume they know what they’re doing. Many community strategies, even from large businesses, are poorly thought out and lack a coherent vision or reason to exist. The follow-the-leader approach will only work to a limited degree. An intelligent community strategy needs to look at what works and why it works. Conversely, ill-thought out, by-the-numbers strategies will never provide an ROI more significant than “kept the intern busy”. Community is important, and needs to be made a priority.
For example, the games industry has seen enormous growth in recent years. growing four times faster than the US economy. Games companies certainly use the traditional social media for promotion, but the industry is also known for its uptake of forum communities. In fact, I tried to find a major developer that wasn’t using one and had no luck. As noted above though, the follow-the-leader approach isn’t useful. What’s necessary is to figure out why those communities are so useful to the industry.