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Creating Change in an Online Community

One of my favorite blogs about online community management is Fever Bee, written by Richard Millington, an online community consultant.

Much like Seth Godin, Richard’s posts are short and to the point.

His post on April 21 is one of my favorites that he’s written. He writes about creating change in a community because the community asks for it, not because a company wants change in the community, and thus expects the community to follow along.

Here’s the take-away point:

You shouldn’t decide to add a feature without having a clear motivational driver underpinning its use. It’s far easier to create and changes features than it is to create and change motivation.

This concept also extends to news organizations that use Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.

Change often comes in the form of a custom landing tab on a Facebook Fan Page. Often what happens is the Landing Tab is thought up, designed, implemented, and then whomever is managing the Fan Page, attempts to get Fans to change how they use the page and begin interacting with the Landing Tab.

Before that can happen, the person managing the Facebook Fan Page should have a clear understanding of what makes fans “tick”. Richard puts it like this:

You should begin with identifying the motivational drivers of your audience and then add features based upon that motivation.

Whether that feature is a landing tab for a new game, or a new section for editorial, it’s important to know what is important to your fans and community members. If it’s not in line with their wants and needs, then they will likely reject it, which would be a costly mistake.

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