Ideas For Launching Your Online Community

December 14, 2008Comments Off on Ideas For Launching Your Online Community

Nobody wants a dead launch day.

Likewise, nobody wants a fizzy community launch that goes flat the next day.

You can avoid this by doing your prep work and introducing a first tactics to engage people the day you launch and the following weeks. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Have A Soft Launch. Have a soft launch first. Your most dedicated fans get to warm the community up before you promote it externally.
  • Don’t Launch On A Friday (or a weekend/holiday). Less people participate at weekends and the community will appear very dry for two days. Many members might never come back. Management might get worried.
  • Launch On One Big Key Issue. As recently posted, if you know something big is coming up for your community or industry, launch then. Promote it heavily as the discussion place. Let it be known the company will be participating in this community and listening to what members think when they take action.
  • Prime Early Members. Have conversations with as many potential members as possible prior to the launch. Make sure they all know the date when it goes live. Let them join first.
  • Get People Involved Before The Launch. Related to the above, get as many people involved in the community before you launch. Call for ideas. Send weekly updates on how the community is going and build momentum for the launch.
  • Ask Early Bird Members How They Want To Launch. Ask customers and interested stakeholders how they want to launch. Let the early-bird members design their own promotional strategies for launch day, and reward them if they succeed.
  • Develop A Facebook Group First, Then Migrate. Have a Facebook group you can build up whilst the interface is in development and migrate when it’s launched. This will mean plenty of dedicated members are joining. Be sure every member knows the objective is migration.
  • Promote Low Membership Numbers. Give the first 100 members to join not only the best numbers (member 00001), but also extra bonuses. Products from your client, the chance to post the first comments, exclusive first-look at something new.
  • Give Different Rewards For Joining On Different Days. People that join the community in the first week get special, but not identical, rewards. People that join on Tuesday might get invited to a special conference. People that join on Friday might get a free copy of an industry book. Let people decide which day they want to join.
  • Hold Early Elections For Key Roles. Ask people to put themselves forward for the early important roles, then let people nominate them for the roles (these members will invite others to join the community to vote for them).
  • Launch A Two Week-Long Task. Set a task that every individual member can achieve within a week. Keep regular milestones and updates. Other urgent issues that need a community response work well too.
  • Close Membership After The First Fortnight. And open it again every two weeks. Generate interest by only letting members join during set times. Why not between 12 and 2pm? Or only 100 new members at a time?

Do you have any more ideas to add to the list? Add them here…

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