A Conversation About B2B Online Communities


Share on LinkedIn

Writing a blog on a regular basis means you spend a lot of time listening to your own thoughts and writing them down. If you’re conscientious about reading them later, there will be occasional nods and winces when encountering the good and not-so-good stuff in one’s own writing.

But it’s quite another thing to read a well-crafted Q&A interview conducted by a skilled interviewer — especially when the interviewee is oneself! I had the great pleasure of sitting and talking with Bloom Group President Bob Buday recently, and together we went over the key aspects of creating successful B2B online communities — you’ll find the whole interview on the Bloom Group site.

Re-reading this interview, I was struck by how Bob uncovered a certain amount of online history. Those of us who have been working in this field for many years sometimes lose sight of just how far we have traveled, while still confronting the same human issues of building trust, fostering communications and establishing mutually beneficial relationships using digital media.

Inquiring about some early work we did on ARPANET, Bob asked what we had learned:

“The ability to get experts to make their approaches transparent is the critical success factor for making professional online communities successful. How do you get experts and professionals to share the details of their practice? How do you guide them and intervene in online discussions so they explain how they think about and do things?

These lessons are important for the work we do with B2B online communities as well as intranets or knowledge networks. The human puzzle remains the same whether it is within a project team in an organization or within an organization’s clients – a set of customers that constitutes a peer group.”

It’s still a human puzzle, because successful online communities do not depend on specific technologies, but rather, on the underlying needs and behaviors of people. Building online communities for business means understanding what community members need and how an online community can meet those needs.

Sounds like a good resolution for 2011!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Vanessa DiMauro
Vanessa DiMauro is CEO of Leader Networks, a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building. DiMauro is a popular speaker, researcher and author. She has founded numerous online communities, and has developed award winning social business strategies for some of the most influential organizations in the world. Her work is frequently covered by leading publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here