Why most online communities are doomed to fail

Was thinking about online communities today after chatting to a potential client about their dream to create a developer community for their product.

I think a much wise man than I called Rich Millington blogged it up nicely – when he stated that most online communities are doomed to fail.

As he reports ‘At the moment, most branded community efforts fail. Few attract more than a handful of active participants. Even those that succeed, barely deliver the ROI they promised.’

But not all do fail – mainly those created by BIG brands – which is why HSBC trying to do this is going to the most interesting social digital experiment to date.

And I say experiment as I think it will fail and in rather an epic way.

HSBC plans to target ABC1 and C2 demographics will appoint an agency to create a digital concept that has a “clear focus and a clear message”.

So social media strategy will be central to the new offering, but the campaign to launch this will include TV and wider advertising.

In a word they are going for a big launch. This is, according to Millington, a classic mistake in building community as “no successful community today began with a big launch. A big launch actually does more harm than good”.

The interesting thing to consider is why this is.

And it is at the heart of all social media.

A push is near to a shove and people who form communities are never shoved into it. HSBC are about to make a classic mistake unless they change their underlining understanding.

And banks changing? Hmmm….. and changing fast.

And changing fast from responses from non bankers.

Pigs might fly 🙂

Read more: http://wallblog.co.uk/2011/11/10/doomed-to-fail-hsbc-plans-to-develop-its-own-version-of-facebook/#ixzz1dIWKb1w5


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