The Scariest Mistakes You Can Make in Online Communities

The Scariest Mistakes You Can Make in Online Communities

While monsters and ghouls are out in full force around Halloween, nothing is scarier in the world of marketing than making disastrous mistakes when building and maintaining an online community. A single mistake can make a negative impact on hundreds or even thousands of people, depending on the size of the community, so it is integral that they are avoided at all costs. Here are the scariest mistakes you can make in online communities as well as how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Size is All That Matters

Perhaps the biggest mistake a business can make when establishing an online community is assuming that bigger numbers equate to success. In fact, some may even go so far as to purchase followers, likes and comments in order to get their numbers up, assuming that doing so is the key to success. In reality, having a million community members is impressive, but not the only marker of a great online community. Engagement, interaction and added value for users are what will have the biggest impact on brand recognition and the opinion that users have about a community, and growth numbers are only a small part of the equation.

Mistake #2: There is no Clear Goal for the Community

What’s scarier than running out of candy for trick-or-treaters on Halloween? Not having a definite goal for an online community. Think carefully about what the goal of your online community should be before putting in the resources and time to build it. Some businesses want to improve brand image and reassure customers of their trustworthiness and quality, which others want to improve name recognition in a competitive industry. Your goal may be to build connection on social media platforms, to connect to a new demographic or to establish yourself as leaders in a field.

Mistake #3: Lack of Time and Effort Required for Significant Growth

A common mistake among marketing professionals who work to build online communities is not putting in enough time and resources. It is virtually impossible to create a community of interaction and communication in just a few days or weeks, and in some cases it can take well over a year to see the kind of growth you might want for the business. Similarly, don’t assume that growth will happen organically without regular input and effort. In order to keep users coming back, and to encourage engagement, it will be important to answer questions, respond to comments and put in the time it takes to monitor and run a growing online community.

Mistake #4: No Moderation Strategy

There are two ends of the spectrum at play when it comes to moderation, and both can lead to disastrous results. Not allowing any negative or off-topic comments, which is essentially having a very limited set of guidelines, can make some users feel unwanted on your online community. The opposite, however, which can be not having any moderation guidelines, can turn the online community into a negative space where some users feel uncomfortable or even scared to comment. To avoid both worst-case scenarios, online community managers should establish a clear and straightforward moderation strategy. Typically, this includes basic rules of posting and the right of the moderator to delete inappropriate comments.

Halloween is just around the corner, meaning that mummies and vampires are dressed to impress. If you’re involved in building an online community, however, seasonal costumes are the least of your worries. Avoid these seriously scary mistakes in order to build, maintain and oversee an online community that is a credit to your brand or business.