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How to create engaging communities

[Here’s a recent post I did for the SmartBlog on Social Media. You can follow the blog here or subscribe to the newsletter here.]

Creating “community” is a common buzzword in social media. Lots of brands are setting up Facebook groups, forums, and online communities — only to see them quickly grow stagnant. And yet, some brands have successfully established vibrant, engaging communities — including many long before the Internet. Below are a few lessons we can learn from them.

What to do:

Create focused communities. A group focused around a central issue or mission will be much more active than a general fan club.

Offer training and certifications. Use your groups as virtual classrooms for educational training and offer things members can add to their resume.

Reward participation. Promote your active community members by awarding them leadership roles and credentials.

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