Want to set your community up for success, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I got you covered. Whether you are launching a new community or revamping an already established one, planning is pivotal to allowing your community to thrive. Hence, I have in this article gathered a few tips to equip you for the launch of your community. The word community encompasses various types of groups and forums, and can have different purposes, an employee community have different needs compared to for example a members community or an online branded customer community, however the following list of steps are helpful regardless of what type of community you are creating.
1. Find your why
The first step to setting up a community is to figure out why you are creating one in the first place, what your concept will be, what you are trying to achieve and why a community is the right to do this. Defining your why and your objectives makes it easier to stay true to your vision and to measure what is working for your community and what is not.
2. Identify key stakeholders
Most stakeholders within a community falls under three categories, these can therefore be helpful in identifying the key stakeholders you are looking for. The categories are the ones who will be impacted by the community, the ones who will be managing community and upper management. The first group will be the ones using your community, your members or in employee communities your employees. Community managers are the people appointed to keep the community alive, measure how the community is doing, gather feedback, create content and make sure that your members are following the community guidelines. Lastly there is the upper management, this is dependent on what type of community you are running, but refers to the person who is responsible for the community and everyone affected by it.
3. Create a content strategy and publication plan
Figure out what type of content you want to present as a community or employer, but also take in to account your members. Make sure you know your audience, what are their interests and their motivations to being part of your community and create content based on this information in the light of the brand of the community/company. Create a publication calendar for your content. Start small with around 5 topics that you gather your content around. All content you send out should be guided by the overall goals and objectives of the community as a whole, yet be fun and engaging for the members.
4. Fuel participation
Note that to be able to fuel participation, there should be content on the platform when members arrive, this ensures that the members have topics to talk about and connect around from the get go. The first posts could be for example community guidelines or the objectives for the community. You can start facilitating interaction by having your community managers post questions for members to respond to. As your community engagement grows, some people will stand out as the ones who engages the most, make sure you take care of these people as they are your community champions and will help you keep the engagement in the community running.
5. Measure and redirect
To understand your community better and to be able to most effectively reach your goals and community objectives you need to measure, measure and measure. Check what is working, what content is being shared, visited and talked about the most? What content does your members avoid? Where do they spend the most time? A lot of these things are easily measured, but one can also create feedback surveys to send out to community members to see which parts they enjoy the most and which parts are not working for them. Based on these insights you can re-evaluate your plan, take away old content that is not working, actively work on your SEO to create more fruitful content and structure the community in a way that is more effective for your specific needs and objectives. Measuring your success regularly and using the information you gather is what will help you drive your community forward.
Setting up a community that is successful from the start can be difficult, but by following the 5 steps above you ensure that a lot of the heavy lifting has been done, before the community is launched with members onboard. Making sure you have a clear vision and purpose for the community you are building to secure a space for the members to land and thrive, yet preparing you and affording you the chance to constantly improve and evolve your community based on the members you have. So, to sum up, launching a community will look something like this: figure out your why, your community objectives, know your users, point out community managers, create content, help people get conversations started, measure and adapt.
Author: Mathilde Bastiansen