The Alumni department (with help from Communications - my dept) is exploring the option of using a 3rd party company to create an online community. This site would be open to alumni as well as current faculty and staff. One of the challenges (aside from funding, admin buy-in, etc.) is developing a communications plan that will make the site a place people want to go to and go to often. Here are a few ideas that are bouncing around:
1. Have a few key contributors populate and contribute to the site before the official launch. We would do this so that people wouldn't be visiting an empty site, so they have people to talk to, "friend", etc. etc...
2. Profile interesting blog posts/university research on the main page.
I think students will love the site. But, I'm anticipating that we'll have challenges with faculty and staff feeling comfortable enough to let their proverbial hair down.
Any advice? What did you do when you rolled out your online community? How much staff time is involved? What would you have liked to have known before you started?