“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18
With the advent of the Internet, and the emergence of social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, et al) online Christian groups and communities are springing up everyday! And effective leaders are needed to guide and manage these online networks.
Leading and managing online communities require three basic skill sets:
- The ability to cast a vision.
- The ability to nurture, listen to, and grow the community.
- The ability to inspire the community.
The vision is key to any successful online community. Vision defines the desired or intended future state of that community in terms of its fundamental objective and/or strategic direction. Without a vision, the online community has no objective or direction. It’s just out there, drifting aimlessly about, with no destination or goal. Plain and simple, without a vision the people perish! Proverbs 29:18.
A healthy online community is characterized by an active membership united by a shared purpose, with a passionate leader/facilitator, engaged in interlinking relationships between a significant percentage of its members.
The leader/facilitator is the face of the online community and should:
- Engage the community.
- Deliver a blog/ or media platform that’s useful to the community.
- Create, gather, and share exceptional and relevant content (podcasts, videos, blogs, etc.).
- Build relationships, especially with influencers.
- Generate buzz.
- Be passionate about the community.
- Empower listening ability (e.g., using such tools as Google Alerts and Twitter Search) to ascertain the mood, needs and desires of the community.
- Facilitate learning and education.
- Grow the community.
- Be an ambassador for the community.
- Facilitate communications between members through comment sections, forums, chat, etc.
- Be the guardian of the community.
- Harvest insights and disseminate feedback from the community members.
- Build actionable reports employing relevant metrics to measure success.
- Keep the vision before the community.
- Be real: authentic and transparent/ someone others can trust and relate to on a human level!
The online leader should be a good shepherd, constantly seeking guidance and direction from the Lord.
What is your vision of an effective online community leader?
Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!