Home > Communities of Practice > How not to use online communities

How not to use online communities

Going back through some old stuff and came across this from reachfurther detailing Andy Roberts blog on how not to use online communities.

I’ve seen some of the good thing and plenty of the bad things

As a quick summary:

Things to do in a online community

  • Join relevant online communities and forums.
  • “Lurk” (read without posting) in the community for a while before first posting to get a feel for it.
  • Reply to messages in the community, particularly if there is a request for information or advice that you can genuinely respond to.
  • Offer to sponsor or advertise in a community that is particularly relevant to your area of business. It may be more effective to offer a question and answer session or to be a “resident expert” rather than paying for a banner advert of some kind.
  • Offer sample products for the community to review (and accept the review they come up with – even if it isn’t all good! It’s up to you to make sure your product stands up to a test). Make such offers via the community manager or moderator, not directly to the members.

Things not to do in a online community

  • Join a community merely to post adverts for your business. That will not endear you to either the community manager or the members – and they are the people you need on your side, you want them to use their influence to support you rather than against you.
  • Drop in on a community once to post an advert or ask for help.
  • Join a community merely to advertise your own community or website – ie poach the members (very bad form!).
  • Post anything in a community which is not relevant to their main focus, eg discussing Macintosh software in a PC forum, or screenwriting in a community for poets.
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