I'm not sure I have anything novel. Some quick thoughts as to what I have found important, none guaranteed to create success; there is what you do and what the community does in response:
- Be human, speak as a person not as an organization identity. Show some personality. I try for humor and self deprecation, but you have to encourage your own style
- You have to be something between a nag and not quite as far as annoying. But as a leader, or facilitator, you need to be communicating a lot, but without seeming repetitive or annoying.
- Recognize and promote others- call attention to the work others are doing, point others to their work.
- Be something of a match maker, connect people who seem to have
similar interests. Or call in people from your own network to contribute
- Did I say something about being persistent?
- Respond directly to people, answer questions right away, and find some way to try and give feed back (and encourage others ) to give feedback to participant early on. There is little worse for someone new entering this dimension as to feel unheard
- It's easy to respond to the active voices, try to pay attention to the voices not speaking up, perhaps by a direct message as a check in. There is a lot of value on the public dialogue and also person to person.
A colleague who does some of the most amazing online facilitation work, Jonathan Finkelstein wrote a book called "Realtime Learning" http://www.learninginrealtime.com/ in which he introduces the role as being something like a host of a dinner party. You want to thunk about the seating, the timing, and checking that no one is left alone in a corner.
I also highly recommend the work of Nancy White http://www.fullcirc.com/