Usually companies try to motivate employees by offering financial rewards or educational opportunities, however, many times this doesn’t translate into having passionate people willing to run the extra mile for the company. What would you say are effective ways to engage employees in a project?
Employee engagement for communities is a tough one and cannot be forced.
First hire a dedicated community manager that understands what your company is selling. Not a social media expert, or a good marketer - someone who actually used your product before. A community manager who cannot think like a channel partner and/or a customer would be detrimental to growth of any online community.
Follow up with by setting up a portion of your customer support activities within your online community. This can be as simple as hosting your "knowledge base articles" in the form of forum posts. The more your support staff takes part in your online community as a function of their daily routine, there will be more chances for some of them to start engaging with the community outside of their job function. Do not force it, simply monitor.
Next, add your marketing and product management folks to the mix by forcing a portion of corporate blog articles to appear within the community platform. Similar to support engineers, visiting your online community and interacting with community members will turn into part of their daily routine for some and will grow from there.
Final tip I can think of: Make sure that everything that you do as a marketing organization is integrated to a series of community activities. Got a product launch? Introduce it to your MVPs first, before the public release. Setting up a new product page on your website? Make sure to start a conversation about it in your community. Participating at an industry event for say the healthcare vertical? Get in touch with your community members in healthcare and setup a roundtable on-site. Make sure the community is not an after thought but an integral component of many critical marketing activities. Remember you want the attention of your fans more than the attention of some random stranger on the web if you want to ensure sustainable growth for your business.