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Online Community Handbook: Building Your Business and Brand on the Web Paperback – 6 Mar 2009

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"A must for any serious marketing professional. It shows you step-by-step how to establish a relationship with people who make your business work.”
— Cornelia Mangold, University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart

"This book is based on first-hand knowledge. Both authors bring great expertise to their subject. Personally, I like most the real world lessons where you can profit from other companies' experience.”
— Marion Schneider, Account Director, DDB Worldwide Communications Group

From the Back Cover

Successful online communities don’t just happen by themselves. They’re the result of a carefully executed strategy, solid design, and patient nurturing. Though they may seem like a lot of work, the benefits an online community can bring to your brand make the efforts worthwhile. This book will provide you with the essential tools to build online communities. You’ll learn how to:

• identify the business objectives for your online community
• develop a community strategy to recruit and retain members
• create brand loyalty, bring in new business, and offer value to customers that your competitors cannot imitate
• take advantage of free advertising opportunities
• use communities to gain market insights and establish a direct line to your customer base

In addition, you’ll discover the risks and costs of an online community project, how it can end up saving your company money, and even how it can become an important new revenue source of its own.

You’ll also be inspired by exclusive interviews, where the people who manage thriving online communities share the lessons they’ve learned and the secrets of their success.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
An online community is a group of people who regularly interact with each other on a website. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Social Networking Bible for Any Business 22 Jun. 2009
By D. Greenbaum - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is an absolute must-read for any business wanting to take the dip into Web 2.0 and social networking. Authors Buss and Strauss walk businesses through the benefits and drawbacks of creating an interactive web presence. They completely ignore the technical aspects of how to do this since the technical aspects are for , well, technicians. This book's audience is business owners or marketing professionals looking to use the web to create a dialogue with their customers.

With copious real world samples from companies both big and small, businesses will, after reading this book, leave with the attitude "I can do that." Too many books cover the nitty-gritty details of how to create the "ultimate" or "killer" interactive community. This book eschews those grandiose ideas and focuses on the basics of how and why conversations about your brand help your company. A case is created for getting interactive on the web and then a variety of ways of doing this are examined. They cover the tricky and often deal-breaking topic of "What if people say bad things about us?" They examine ways to use these complaints to your advantage as well as how to minimize the reason web users would publicly attack your brand.

The writing in the book avoids both trendy and technical business jargon. Small business owners without MBAs will see the value of this book as well as the seasoned business veteran who simply doesn't know what all the fuss is about. Each chapter ends with a "nutshell" that reviews that topic and helps the business person create and plan.

The best part of the book, like dessert, was at the end. They looked at eight different online communities and interviewed executives so that the reader could learn from their successes and failures. I wish I had this book when my computer repair business first dipped its toes in social networking as I would have avoided many costly mistakes.

Non-profits may not find much value in this book as its primary focus is profitable ventures, but as a board member of a non-profit, I did get some great ideas. My only other concern in this book is the real-world examples weren't based in the US or in English. This limited my familiarity with the sites mentioned as well as my ability to go to those sites and examine them.

Highly Recommended!
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
From creating brand loyalty and bringing in new business to using free advertising opportunities 11 July 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
ONLINE COMMUNITIES HANDBOOK: BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS & BRAND ON THE WEB provides any business owner with the keys to building online community support, from creating brand loyalty and bringing in new business to using free advertising opportunities and using communities to uncover market trends and new ideas. From social networks for brand-building to online etiquette in business promotions, ONLINE COMMUNITIES HANDBOOK: BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS & BRAND ON THE WEB is a winner.
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