How does one build a community from scratch?
Creating a community is an endeavor that can seem daunting, and as challenging as a blank canvass may be to an artist. The process itself could fill volumes of books on online community management, but for brevity’s sake, we’ll sum it up in a nutshell.
- Start by determining the goals of your community. What is it you want your community to accomplish, and why?
- Collect and analyze data on your target demographic. What flavor of community are you going for? What does the ideal member like? What communities are they in now?
- Identify infrastructural needs. “If you build it, they will come” after all. Part of this is remembering that “No one wants to be the first one at the party” so you’ll need an official presence to jump-start the conversation.
- Guide the discussion, prompt it and nurture it, but don’t stifle!
- Identify your early adopters. These are the folks who will be the most engaged, and who will serve as founders for your budding community. You’ll need them most of all.
- Iterate, identify, engage and convert. Iterate on the structure, guidelines and skeletal framework of the community in development. Identify your subject matter experts, your influencers, and engage them directly. Convert your casual user into strong members through initiatives, contests, events and interaction.
For a legacy community, it’s important not to upend the status quo because stability breeds trust and a perception of reliability. Implement a gradual restructuring and optimization of the infrastructure and maintenance sets for the community, and then shift your target to expansion and growth to fill out that new capacity always with an eye for feedback from your members.
The results of both approaches are the same – an engaged community there to support your efforts. Pishgar Community Management has in-depth, hands-on experience handling both with brand-new and long-lived legacy communities. We’re proudly able to shortcut the traditional learning curve new community staff would have to contend with by employing hard-won best practices in community development. If you are looking to improve your community outlook or engage your members, rather than taking muddling with a try-and-see approach, consider bringing on the professionals who will do it right the first time and build a community for you that will endure.