To have a successful community, you need to have a hook. This is what makes your community unique. Here are a few questions to answer:
- Who is the community for?
- What will the community be about?
- What will happen in the community?
- What is the goal of the community?
- How will you attract and sustain membership?
Let’s tackle these together.
Who is the community for?
You probably want to target everybody possible. Resist that urge. Instead, use the two qualifier rule: you want to build a community for X who Y. For example, a community for backpackers who want to build the lightest possible backpacks, or a community for HR professionals who love social media. A community for Star Trek fans in Chicago.
You can use more qualifiers if you like, but make sure you use at least two. Focus your community on a smaller group who have more in common.
What is the community about?
This should obviously be connected to the above topic. Your community should be about the topic that the people are interested in, and the people involved in that topic.
That means you’re not just writing about the topic – this isn’t a newspaper – but also about the people who participate in this topic. This is what makes it a community and not a content site.
What will happen in the community?
What events, discussions, activities, content will you have in the community? Make a list of ideas for your first few months.
What is the goal of the community?
It’s good to have a purpose. It doesn’t have to be big. Film communities typically try to get the latest film news first, or determine which films are worth watching. What is the benefit for people who participate in your community? Being the best or quickest at something often works well here.
How will you attract and sustain membership?
Now connect the dots. Make a list of your target members. You can begin with your existing relationships or those talking about the topics on different social media channels. Reach out to these members and craft an invitation to be the founding members of the community. Tell them what the community will do, why they should join, and what they should do when they join the community.
Getting your concept right
If you get the concept right, your community will explode to life. There is a data-driven process for making these initial decisions. Watch the video below to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of many organizations and develop a community concept that attracts high quality membership, positive engagement, and the community-driven dialogue that will inform the direction and evolution of your unique community.