Would you hire someone to build a car that has never driven? Corporations are doing just that, creating the hundreds of witnessed online promotional failures. Polished MBAs that have never posted on a forum or even commented on a blog create programs for obsessive, digitally-savvy users that interact online for several hours a day. The MBA thinks the flash-site community with music is awesome–the customer to which the site is directed thinks it’s morbidly annoying because it cannot be RSSed or opened in tabs.
Yesterday I sat through a presentation. Two managers presented a strategy to create an online community. The strategy made perfect business sense–it planned to make money and met stakeholder needs.
The problem is that these managers don’t know a thing about online communities. There is no vision for this community because they have no clue work works. Manager 1 probably joined Facebook last year. Manager 2 has never heard of Disqus. Both are touting all the bells and whistles of their social network. Not once did they talk about the strategy for building the community–it scared me. Alex touched on these types of participants. Oddly, they are contributing content without ever being fully aware or active in their craft.
It’s the small details that make a difference. When you’re not actively engaged or participating, you would never even know they were there.