Having clear and defined community objectives will help guide your members’ actions. They’ll guide your members to the type of content you, as a company, are looking for and the type of actions that are acceptable from your members. Basically, the objectives will define the tone and personality of your community.
These objectives should take the form of verbs to indicate a call-to-action, much like marketing messages do. But these verbs need to be more descriptive than “Start a blog,” “Collaborate on a wiki” or “Upload Photos.” Members ultimately need to know why.
Take a look at these successful online communities and they way they designed their sites with this verb-driven engagement model. I purposely left out the “why” for each so you can view them in context with their respective online community.
iReport: Share – Discuss – Be heard
my Health Communities: Connect – Share – Support
SolidWorks: Discuss – Search – Learn
PlanetPTC: Showcase – Network – Inspire
Topliners: Imagine It – See It – Do It
LinkedIn: Stay – Find – Control
Foursquare: See – Learn – Unlock
Intel: Share – Collaborate – Innovate
Thinkfinity: Organize – Share – Connect
Are you using the right verbs to engage with your customers? What three tenants are driving your community’s participation?