Here are several excerpts from an article by the Social Computing News Desk, Getting a Handle on Best Practices for Online Community:
Companies are becoming increasingly aware that the social Web is becoming the dominant channel for interacting with their customers.
In particular, online communities based on popular consumer and business offerings are becoming more commonplace as users desire to connect to like-minded individuals as well as to the companies that create the products and services they value most. Make no mistake, customer communities are one of the hot business topics of 2008.
While most successful online customer communities are created by the customers themselves, businesses are also trying to create community themselves with varying degrees of success.
Summary of Online Community Best Practices…
1. Put the needs of the community first.
2. Community is mostly not a technology problem.
3. Active community management is essential.
4. Measuring success with community requires new yardsticks.
5. Consumer social networks, grassroots customer communities, and business-initiated customer communities are closely related yet very different creatures.
6. Customer communities do work as a marketing channel, just not in the traditional way.
7. The more the business is integrated, the better the community will work.
8. Growth will come, but not until a community finds its identity.
9. Mutual ownership and control of communities enables trust and involvement.
10. Most communities are highly social entities, and the rules of social engagement apply.
11. Going to the community, instead of making it come to you, is a risky but increasingly viable strategy.
12. Connect the community with the other CRM-related aspects of the organization.
You can read all the details about these best practices in this week’s 12 Best Practices for Online Customer Communities on ZDNet.