Projected Members and Activity Levels

Too many communities are launched with features they will never be able to support.

The number of features your community deploys should be driven by two things.

The first, obviously, is your community strategy.

If you want the community to be resolving questions, suggesting ideas, sharing expertise in long-form, and connecting with each other then you need the Q&A, ideation, blog, and group features to enable that.

But this should be countered by your membership projections.

The fewer members you project, the less features you should deploy. There simply isn’t enough energy and attention to support them (regardless of how ambitious you want to be). Some features, notably groups, need a huge base of members to thrive.

This means you need to prioritise features and deploy just the ones you can support.

Given the median number of monthly active members in a customer community is somewhere around 550, this should temper your ambitions.

  • Below 200 active contributors: Q&A only.
  • 200 to 400 active contributors: Q&A + events/webinars
  • 400 to 700 active contributors: Q&A + events/webinars + ideas
  • 700 to 1,000 active contributors: Q&A + events/webinars + ideas + knowledge base
  • 1,000+ active contributors: Q&A + events/webinars + ideas + knowledge base + groups.

Treat these as general principles rather than rigid rules.

Bose, for example, has around 1,000 active participants but only uses Q&A.

Sophos has around 350 active participants and uses both groups and a knowledge base.

Two more important points here:

First, before you determine what features your community should have (or whether to deploy more) you need an accurate membership projection (use our template here).

Second, your community platform is never finished. It needs regular updates (some big, some minor) to ensure it has the right number of features for the number of active members.

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