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People who set written goals are much more likely to achieve them.  Try an experiment today--write down one thing you want to accomplish by the end of the day.  This evening, see whether you have achieved it or not (you did, didn't you?)  


This same premise works with any goal, business or otherwise.


Your online community won't be successful unless you know what you're trying to achieve with it!


Here are some examples (be as detailed as possible when you write yours):

  • To facilitate user-to-user support, thereby decreasing internal technical support costs
  • To allow my clients and partners to interact with each other and communicate more effectively with my team
  • To continue discussions, conversations, and relationships that began at my live event, convention, or conference sessions
  • To draw together experts to share best practices around my topic or profession
  • To create a client hub, where prospects and customers can share articles, ideas, and ask questions
  • To create a private forum/community to handle feedback, suggestions, and bug reports for new software
  • To attract more traffic and increase repeat visits to my website
  • To promote awareness of a new TV show, movie, book, or play (you fill in the blank)
  • To offer a public forum for constituent or customer feedback (value and convenience enhanced for the customer)
  • To centralize communications for my franchise owners and headquarters staff, making the franchises more successful
  • To provide an online searchable knowledge base that improves customer access to information about my company and decreases phone calls
  • To facilitate learning and extended discussions for an online workshop or training course
  • To have fun and connect with others who share my hobby or passion (that's legitimate too)
  • To make it easier and more cost-effective for engineers who are in different time zones to collaborate on a specific project (decrease travel and long-distance expenses).

The purpose for your community should be defined before you do anything else, even before you select a technology, because your purpose may drive the technology selection.  


For example, if your purpose is group collaboration, ensure that your community platform supports file attachments.  If your purpose is consumer feedback, you need technology that can support polls and ratings.


What's the purpose of your community?




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AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by hoshi7


I'd love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, or connect with me on Twitter.


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