‘Build it and they won’t come’ – Internet maxim
Organisation everywhere are seeking to leverage the benefits of connecting. In embracing community organisations need to recognise that the needs of the community matter too.
Community is always two sided. Participants in a community expect give and take. Community members come together for a common purpose but they also seek to achieve their own.
Community is not a channel for your messages. Community is not a platform that you can make others use in a way that suits you. Behave that way and you may get engagement but you won’t build community. This is why so many enterprise social networks disappoint and why so many social communities have little engagement. They have been built for the needs of one side only.
If you want the depth of connection, richness of contribution and creative potential of community, then you will need to participate as a member of that community, not its owner. Critically that means taking the needs of others into account in your plans.