10 groups of 40 members is better than 1 group of 400.
Smaller groups are more intimate. Participation rates are higher. Activity levels increase. Messages resonate through friends, not through your organisation. It’s less work with better results.
Invite your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, YouTube subscribers and blog readers to create their own regional group. You can have communities in Chicago, Denver, London and Beijing. Every founder is a volunteer ambassador for your company. Treat them well.
You’re now managing a group of highly active people that run their own communities. You train them. Teach them how to build communities. Help organise events and competitions with other communities. You give them the resources they need to build as big a community as possible.
But better, adding one member to your community means adding one member that actively wants to help grow their own community. For Manchester that’s certainly a few thousand people, for Albuquerque probably just a hundred. Not great, but better than 1.
It’s a much more effective way to spend your time.