Friday is Audana’s Social Media in Business ’10 aka SMiB, in London, and just like last years Social Media in Business event, I’ll be interviewing many of the speakers via ipadio in the run up.

The theme of this year’s event is community relations. I think the term nicely encapsulates how “forum moderation” has grown up through community management to community relations. The relationship between businesses and their customers has changed, and the relationship between businesses and their employees is changing too. People expect engagement, and that means listening as much as talking.

Recent Redcatco projects have shown us, and some brave pioneers, that creating engagement works for a business, bringing massive returns from a modest investment. What happens when you give tens of thousands of employees a place to rate, comment and share what your business is about? Our experience has been that it creates huge value, a sense of community, and a great deal of success.

Earlier today I spoke with Heather Taylor about her work at PayPal. She has been living at the forefront of community building for a business that has to deal with both the positive and negative experiences around users transacting money. Her key takeaway? Be adaptable.¬†You might not get what you initially set out to achieve, but if you adapt, you’ll end up with a stronger business. Focus on putting the community, rather than the product or service, in the middle, and on listening rather than telling. Lots of really sound advice from Heather, click and have a listen.

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