The challenge is to as a company be open and diverse in itself, as well as really listen to the community. I have seen so many community sites fail because they try to stick down their own beliefs, preconceptions and opinions down the throat of their community. Or even worse speak about themselves in the sense of “I did this…” or “I did that…”. Self-glorification should be banned from any representative for the company, and constant self-reflection strongly recommended. Ask yourself this. Which party would you go to? The one where the host/hostess only want to show off, or the party in the park where it is come as you are and you feel like one with the group.
Inviting a community is “simple”, yet one of the most challenging things to attempt. It is about realizing that what you as a community site think is completely non-important. You have to genuinely speak, think and breath community in all your interaction and realize that communities are not built, they are invited. It is not about design. It is not about functionality. It is about people. People come if they feel connected and invited. You have to realize that you are but only a part of the community. You have to become the community.
Think of your role as a company as being the shepherd. Your role is to keep the sheep together and to find them grass and leafs to eat. Telling the sheep how to be sheep doesn’t really work or make sense. Yet so many community sites try to do that.