Congrats to Mazarine Treyz, Senior Development & Communications Officer, Urban League of Portland. She was the first one to contribute something to the WeAreMedia Module 5: Online Community Engagement Strategy and Skills.
The question was: How do you get prepared for an online community? What questions do you need ask as part of your planning?
The Brains On Fire blog tell us why it is so important to be prepared before you launch an online community effort:
Online communities are popping up everywhere. And I really can’t see the point behind most of them. Is it so the CMO can point to it and say, “Look! We’re part of Web 2.0, too!?!” And then there’s the numbers game. These companies want 10,000 people in the first week. So they have contests. Giveaways. Gimmicks out the wazoo. And the people come. But the don’t stick around. There’s no community there. It’s just another website. Another registration form. With no sticking power. No reason to come back. The community has no sense of community, because most CMOs see it as just another vehicle to push messages through.
So before you jump into the online community pool, there is a lot of heavy lifting to do up front. A lot of questions to be asked. And a lot of hard work to make sure you create something that’s long-term and sustainable instead of another flash in the pan. The first thing to keep in mind? Ninety-two percent of word of mouth happens offline. So make sure the online supports the offline and vise versa.
Otherwise you’ll have a nice, pretty site that ends up being another community ghost town.
Rob Cottingham and Alexandra Samuel have an excellent set of questions to ask before you launch an online community. Many will help you shift your perspective towards supporting your users needs, what good marketers do already. Other questions will help you get your organization on board.
Mazarine shared this tip:
In your next staff meeting, when discussing marketing,
a. Ask for a show of hands, who has heard of Myspace? Who has heard of Facebook? (You'll get some people who know.)
b. Show them social media = ROI, with who, when, and why. (kiva.org, prime example, mercycorps.org, another) (make printouts or use a projector)
c. Show them concrete examples of what is currently happening at your org (a monologue) and show them what is possible (a dialogue).
d. Ask them, "Would you rather have someone talk at you, or have a conversation?" -By Mazarine Treyz, Senior Development & Communications Officer, Urban League of Portland. (Urban League Facebook page)
We're so delighted that we decided to give away one more book! So congrats to Mazarine.
Six more lucky wiki contributors to Module 5 between now and August 3rd will have an opportunity to get a free copy of either Media Rules and Mobilizing Generation 2.0. Share a couple sentences about your experience from your nonprofit organization, or point to an excellent resource and add a sentence to describe it. Be sure to include your name with a link to your email or web site next to your contribution. We'll pick six contributors randomly to receive a copy of Ben or Brian's awesome books.
What are you waiting for? Jump in over at the wiki.