In the current landscape lots of companies are listening to their communities, and some are participating but few are providing the leadership required to cultivate, nurture and shape that community over the long term. The “2010 Social Media Benchmarking Study” from Ketchum and FedEx documents thatonly 10% of companies are providing real leadership (by their definition).
Understanding how to lead communities will be a key skill that companies need to develop if they want to be successful in the long term with any social strategies. Most companies have the skills and knowledge to lead communities because in the end a successful company is an internal community with leadership, but internal communities or corporate cultures have much more explicit carrots and sticks to shape activity and reward behavior. To lead an external community requires softer skills and a more in depth understanding of what shapes an external communities culture.