You might be building an employee community to raise company engagement Or a customer community to understand how your brand is being perceived by your customers. Maybe you are building a B2B community to connect innovators with investors. Whatever your plans are, if you are looking to build a successful community, make sure to include the following in your online community strategy.
1. Define a Clear Goal Before You Start Building
Firstly, having a clear goal is an important part of running a community of any length. We advise that you start creating your online community strategy by thinking about your desired end-goal. Once you have outlined what you want the outcomes of your community to be, you can start working backward from that point. At the end of this planning process you will know exactly where you need to start.
Consider the following “big picture” questions that can help focus your community development:
- What goal do I have for this community?
- What will need to happen for me to reach this goal?
- Who is my target audience?
- What tone will I use when communicating with my audience?
- How will I divide tasks between my team of community managemers?
2. Put a Team of Community Managers Together
They say that “It takes a village to raise a child.” Similarly, it takes a team to manage a community effectively. We know that not everyone will have the luxury of working with a team. So, for those of you working alone, it would just be important to remember that, as a lone community manager you will need to wear many hats.
We think that it’s easiest to think about community management in terms of the roles that need to be fulfilled. As a community manager or team, your initial community goals should always remain a focal point when creating content and interacting with members.
Provide Member Guidance
Members will likely need some guidance while navigating through your community platform for the first time. Member contributions should have meaningful implications. So, as part of your online community strategy, make sure your teams helps them know what to do and where they can do it. Clear communication with your members the fastest path to realize your community goals.
Provide Progress Feedback
Don’t forget to keep your members up to date throughout the process. Your community members will most likely be very interested to hear about the impact that their input is having. Keeping your community updated not only motivates members to keep participating, but it also forces you to continually reflect on the progress you’re making with your community.
3. Make Sure to Write Great Content and Plan Ahead
Successful online communities set good examples for community managers. To receive great content, you need to create great content. Members want to be challenged. They want to help you solve problems, and they want to be engaged. Don’t lose them by not pulling your fair share of the weight.
Many community managers use a content calendar that matches their overal online community strategy and goals. So, setting up a calendar can help you think ahead and schedule assignments. This way community members can continually participate and help you reach your community goals. In particular, for longer-term, ongoing communities, make sure to add assignments for your members so that they sustain momentum.