5 ways to not run your online community like a dictator

Do you let your fans lead conversations about your brand, or do rule your online communities with an iron fist? Take this advice and loosen your grip.

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Lately, however, that community has floundered. It’s stuck in old methodology and unable to connect with a fresh audience. I see this a lot in long-established organizations. What used to work so well doesn’t work any longer, and leadership is at a loss as to why things are falling apart, and how to stop the unraveling.

I asked how much the community itself is involved in creating messaging and shaping operations. I hadn’t finished asking the question when the vice president of marketing practically growled at me, “We dictate the message of the community. We dictate the operations of the community. If we don’t, we cannot control the brand.”

I physically winced.

I wish I could say it was the first time I’d heard this from the C-suite. It is alarmingly commonplace, and stems from one thing: fear.

Don’t be the dictator

Organizations want to play the role of dictator because they are afraid of what could happen if they don’t. They have a long list of catastrophes that are certain to ensue: the brand’s image will suffer, the brand message will get diluted, etc.

Unfortunately, their stranglehold of control also strangles the life out of the communities they desperately need.

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