So let’s talk a bit about effective corporate communities. Social network and social connectivity is all the rage. So much so that it has become the first “thing” some businesses look at when they build out an on line presence, or look to make changes to an existing one.

The truth of the matter is not everyone wants to be part of your happy business centric community.  With all of the communities, facebook, myspace, linkedin, twitter, there are just too many groups and activities for your average customer to get excited about. Not to mention, the community craze has become so widespread that there are even community sites built around harnessing the power of communities. With all this noise how can you expect to succeed in all the mass hysteria?

A Lesson In Speed –  Not Design

Think back to the early days of the Internet (cue flashback). Around 1996 every company was racing to get on line. The need for web sites being created was in such high demand designers could hardly keep up. Back in those early days, every company felt they had to either be on line, get on line, or plan a strategy to move business on line. The problem was everyone raced to get “some site up.” The web was a virtual cornucopia of terrible design. One of Pepsi’s original sites back from 1996 was abysmal. Mcdonald’s nearly blinded you with the bright red and splash page complete with animated gif of their 1996 web creation. Chrysler’s crazy  menu had us wondering where we should go? The goal back then was to get something on line, anything. It didn’t matter what that “something” was because the market on line was relatively small. There was not nearly enough to warrant the same type of dollars as pumped into traditional marketing campaigns. Thankfully, since the start of the Internet age, businesses have begun to grow up, or have they? Perhaps now instead of racing to be the first on line it’s about the race to build social communities. A race if you will to trap and manipulate users. When is the last time you went to Mcdonald’s and wanted to stay there for 8 hours. If you couldn’t stand doing that in real life why would you do it the web? Companies are exploring and in so doing failing.

The Path To Community Success is Paved In Failure

Rushing to get your community on line is going to drown you in sorrow. It may appear to be cheap on the surface, but beware you are dealing with your social brand.  It’s not about plopping a web 2.0 (I hate that term) feature here, and then placing a twitter widget there, mix it up with a profile page and viola! You now have an instant community. These tools in combination are means to end an can only help when your community has a strategy –  A driving theme behind the growth and prosperity. Without this failure is imminent. It’s not just about saying we have a corporate blog, or are talking directly with our users. It’s about an attitude driven through-out the core of your web site presence, business model and participatory level throughout your company.

Next we are going to talk about the strategy, and role development, as you make plans to implement your own company social strategy.