Last Thursday, I talked at the final 2010 CIPR Social Media Summer event held at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. My presentation (below) was about community management or, more accurately, community engagement; I suggested that the success of a business-to-business (B2B) online group can’t be guaranteed by online activity alone, online groups also need to be nurtured by offline events that capture people’s interest and encourage involvement among a growing number of people.
I used the construction social media advocacy group Be2camp (which I co-founded) as my main example, for its growth was largely event-powered – each time we organised an ‘unconference’ we saw a surge in member sign-ups. And each ‘hybrid event’ generated new content (shared by Twitter, SlideShare, Ustream, blogs, Flickr, CoverItLive, etc) that helped attract more people to join and get involved.
The other key message concerned promotion. I pointed out that few people are social in just one place – most people network in multiple places (online and offline), so it makes sense to publicise a network in the same way. In addition to its Ning “home”, Be2camp has used Web 2.0 tools and techniques to create a branded presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Slideshare (among other places), and also used conventional advertising and PR techniques – from news releases to e-newsletters – to get its message out to target audiences in different places.