There are many things, big and small, to consider when launching an online community. We sat down with Amanda Moloney, Director of Client Engagement at Chaordix, to get her expert opinion on what folks need to think about when they’re preparing to launch a community of their own.
It seems like every day we have conversations with folks interested in launching an online community, and although those conversations often start with a focus on technology, they quickly evolve to focus on what it takes to launch and run a successful community, outside of just technology.
What an organization needs to consider first when they start thinking about community
Although the conversation often starts with technology, including features and functionality, where the conversation needs to start is with purpose.This means talking about why you are building this community, what the value will be for your organization, and really what the value will be for the participants and why they are going to want to join and continue to come back because without that there really is no community.
What three things a brand needs to do right in order to launch a successful community
1. Organizational Support: Communities are the most effective when they have connection and interaction with their social media teams, marketing team, and the product and brand teams.
2. Having The Right People on the Bus: Having the right people in your community means finding the people who are passionate about whatever topic it is that you are building a community around. These might be people you already know, followers on your social channels, or maybe you have to go out and find them.
3. Valuable Things To Do: Once you have the right people in your community, you can then start to leverage their interest, experience, and passion to help you solve problems that are vital and real to your organization. Giving them those real challenges and topics to discuss is really important to community success.
Learn More: Our Community Platform Features
A few characteristics of a successful community when it’s up and running
1. A Great Moderator: In any successful community, the moderator acts as the professional host of the party. Their job is to welcome new members, nurture topics that are important to the organization, and really just to keep the conversation going and lively.
2. Continuous Recruitment: Even if you get all the right people into the community the first time, participation for most people is finite. They have a limited lifespan on the amount of time they're going to spend in the community, so it's important to continuously recruit.
This may be recruiting through your regular marketing channels like social, on your website and through the channels where you're already going out to the market. Making sure you're always bringing in new voices and fresh ideas to the conversation is critical for community success.
The question Amanda WISHES she got asked by folks interested in starting a community
How long it takes to build a healthy community: Certainly we can get a community up and running very quickly and there can be people in there within no time, but it definitely is something that you need to think about as a long-term investment. The value in the community comes over time as those connections happen between the members of the community and between the members of the community and the moderator and the brand, so this is something that you should be thinking about for the longer term.
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