Category Archives: Fundamental 3

How Online Communities work : Fostering and sustaining engagement in online communities (model)

large__853070269How do you foster and sustain engagement among members in your online community? This is a question a lot of managers struggle with. A decreased commitment is the main reason why a lot of online communities fail after a couple of months.  It is an enormous challenge to keep members engaged for the long run. Branded communities will have to compete with hundreds of other websites and social media platforms that people can spend their time on. Besides, people (especially the young generation) like to hang out where their friends are, for example on Facebook or Twitter. What can managers do to ensure that their online community becomes and maintains vibrant, lively and successful? Continue reading

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How Online Communities work: What roles do members play in an Online Community?

large__6879395548According to Amy Jo Kim, “online communities are held together by a web of social roles. Understanding these different roles can help brands managing their online community by providing features and programs that support these roles”. Kim described some archetypal roles in her book that make up the so-called ‘Membership Life Cycle’. This model outlines the progressive stages of community involvement.

I decided to put the roles in a model inspired by Kim in order to visualize these different roles (see the figure in this post). Just as with the community life cycle, these roles will evolve over time in the online community. However, it is also possible that people maintain their role in the community and do not change their behaviour and/or participation over time. Continue reading

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How Online Communities work: How do online communities evolve? (Community Life-Cycle Model)

large__135465558Over the past few decades, the community life cycle has been developed by many academics. According to them, online communities evolve following distinctive life cycle stages. The main idea is that any online community system “must evolve through the same consistent and logical process without ignoring any step” (Ahituv and Neumann 254). Continue reading

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How Online Communities work: Why do people join Online Communities? – Part 2 (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model)

large__3171420017In part one of this post I introduced you to the basic needs that people fulfil by participating in an online community, using a visual model. I think it is also important to understand which needs are in general more important than others. Can we apply Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ to online communities? Yes we can, using another visual model! Continue reading

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How Online Communities work: Why do people join Online Communities? – Part 1

large__6798184016For brands that consider investing in online communities, it is very important to first understand the basic needs that people fulfil by participating in an online community. “Identifying the needs of community members that create their intrinsic motivation for contributing to the community is crucial”, says Porter (113). Continue reading

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