There is a school of thought in social media which believes that communities cannot be made, they are only discovered. On the other side, some folks believe that you can build it and they will come. The answer probably exists somewhere in the middle.
Of course, we at Lithium are in the business of helping companies build a community around their products or services. Leaving aside the argument about whether these are communities that were 'made' or 'discovered', there has been a recurring outcry from some folks in the social media scene against the soundness of this strategy. "Fish where the fish are" is a common refrain to companies considering the build vs.. join decision, and I'd be the first to agree this is very sound advice. But I'd argue that this isn't really an factor against building a community site of your own for two reasons:
First, there's nothing to prevent you from building a community site of your own and reaching out to groups in other places; in fact, it should be a key part of your outreach strategy.
Second, and more importantly, chances are good that your customers visit your company site today with some frequency for a number of reasons: support, product news and updates, etc. If these folks aren't the core of your new community, who is?
Sometimes you don't need to go very far to find the fish: it's quite possible they may be swimming in a lake in your own backyard.
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