In the mix of building a social network / web site community it is easy to misplace your priorities and think that just having a great blog, and an excellent way for people to contribute to the site is what it takes.
No, it takes far more than that, but also something very simple: building friendships with the people who visit your site. For a lot of companies with a commercial goal, this can be tricky. These are the sorts of relationships that are hard to establish on a 9-5 job.
For most companies, I’ve come to realize that this means hiring a “community evangelist.” Someone who’s sole responsibility is to establish a link between the site and the people who visit. It’s helping bridge that gap and converting people from simply visitors to users and then to members.
The community evangelist has many responsibilities, but foremost is helping the visitors feel like they are a part of something. Helping those people register on your site, and contribute.
If you’re interested in this subject, read this post: Understanding the Community/Evangelist Role, and profiles of a few of my Favorite Folks.