I'm a Community Manager and in this blog I'm sharing my experience of building, leading and running a community.
Community is a group of enthusiast folks/people who share the same/common interests like in Tech, products, startups, sports, social causes etc.
Few questions which every time comes-up in the brain when someone/new aspirant starts building a community -
- How to build a community?
- What are the steps, strategies and processes one should follow for building a community from scratch?
- How you should keep it alive and engaging? So, let's figure out these problems.
Building a community and keeping it running alive not a simple task, it includes a hierarchy of which is necessary to follow for the best outcomes. I'm going to discuss this hierarchy.
It's amazing that you're building a community but before going further you need to do some research. This research includes the following questions and you have to assess yourself -
- Why are you building a community?
- Who needs this community?
- Is there any similar community already exists? If Yes!! then what's the reason to build a new community? What extra benefits/values you're going to provide to your community?
- What's the mission and vision of your community?
- What are your growth plans for the community?
Once you're done with the above questions and assessed yourself successfully, now you can go further and build the next strategy.
When you are building and leading a Community, you must have an answer to these following questions -
- Who are the members of our community?
- Where are they from?
- What do they like?
- What kind of content do they engage with online?
- What kind of content and values they are expecting from you?
- Who would you like the members of your community to be?
Without a clear idea of who your audience is, scaling your community and engaging your members can be challenging. To get answers of all the above questions you can define your audience and their needs by creating persona profiles.
- A persona is a fictional character that represents a segment of your community. To create a persona profile, you will need to do some research. Members’ locations, demographics, interests, behaviors and connections are crucial information for creating a persona profile.
Method to create persona profile -
- Interview, poll or observe a group of your community members.
- Research to which other communities your members may belong to.
- Define values that you will provide them, find patterns from your research and mutual interests among your community members, divide it into segments and then define persona profiles from your research.
A platform plays an important role in managing and running a community. Choosing the right platform, according to your needs, members profiles, ease of use is really necessary because a good choice of platform can attract new members to your community while a bad choice of platform can force existing members to leave the community.
- How to choose the right platform? While choosing a platform please keep the following points in your mind -
- The platform which you're choosing should align with your community needs.
- Do research on what benefits, features and products actually offer by different platforms.
- The platform must have some features to create, share, manage engaging content for your community.
- The platform should have features to provide group insights.
Some platforms which you can use for managing your community (free and paid)
- Facebook groups, Slack, Discord, Reddit, Telegram etc.
- eXo Platform, Vanilla Forums, Khoros Communities, Hivebrite, Yocale, inSided, Forumbee, Tribe, Website Toolbox, Eleyo, Mobilize etc.
When you're building and leading a community it's necessary to define/document your community brand guidelines and keep reviewing them on a regular basis.
A community's image/brand is the assortment of qualities that recognize and characterize how individuals feel as a part of that particular community, and the manner in which your community is seen by others. Community brand qualities can incorporate your name and logo, the hues and styles of designs, and the manner of speaking you use when posting content and engaging community members. Communities can flourish when you keep your image/brand reliable with your specific community brand strategy across different platforms.
After successful completion of the three strategies mentioned above, you should go with a launch strategy where it includes many objectives, an action plan, how to grow/growth plan for upcoming days, members' expansion strategy and how you're going to reach out to new members.
"You Never Grow Alone But Always With A Community" - Paras Pundir [ The Community Guy]
Above mentioned line explains it all, as we always grow in a community so how someone can all alone manage a whole community? So, for managing a community, keeping it alive and for delivering the right values and content you need a team of some enthusiast folks who can become an integral part of the community and help you in managing the community. Among these team members, you can divide the workload and denote them some titles like admin, moderator etc. This team can you help in posting relevant content, welcoming new members, moderating discussions and maintaining engagement.
💡 Some tips for building a good team -
- Determine the tasks in which you need help.
- Define a profile of your target teammates.
- Try to invite the most active people from your community to become part of your team.
- Look for people who have different skills and multi-taskers. Sometimes try to find someone who can be better than you.
- Add new members to your team and keep communicating with them. Give them resources, share your previous experiences and train them for managing the community.
- Always consult with your team, rely on them for any help and always work on their feedbacks.
- Last but not least don't forget to make them feel special, always give them credits for their commendable job and keep motivating them. BTW sometimes you can throw a "PIZZA PARTY" for your team LOL!! 😂
Okay!! So, The team is assembled now, what's next?
Now here comes operational workflow as we already discussed that every community needs a team to run it efficiently. Therefore, to make it happen we actually need a well defined and documented operational workflow to follow the same strategies and processes so team members can easily coordinate with each other and manage community efficiently.
Operational workflow usually includes the following points -
- Rules, Regulations and protocols for the community.
- Welcoming message for new community members.
- Key resources for the community.
- A Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed (RACI) chart, or similar, can define roles and responsibilities.
- Charts/Illustrations to show and record your day to day tasks, content strategy, working strategy etc.
The operational workflow will bolster you in dealing with your everyday errands. It helps you in reviewing work processes after some time so you can make the right decisions to do some changes in community strategy and you can try things to manage community more efficiently.
It more helpful when you share records and work processes with your team and train them on the basis of feedbacks you received to run your community productively and successfully.
Yay!!! We build the community now it's time to expand it and invite new members to join us.
Here we come to establish a partnership. A partnership can be done in many ways with other communities, nonprofits, brands or organizations, which follows a specific mission and vision and can help your community to support in achieving your goal where your community also offers some values to them in achieving their goal/mission or solving a specific cause.
Establishing a partnership is the best way to expand your community and presence among other communities/groups etc. without any financial strain. While establishing a partnership always take care of one thing that, this partnership should bring mutual benefits for both parties.
So, here we're done with the strategies for building a community. If you have something to say/share/ask about this, feel free to reach out to me. Your feedback will be appreciated.