Most community strategies are a collection of tactics bundled together from books, blogs and conferences. They try to help you do what you’re doing better.
But a strategy isn’t about optimizing what you do. A strategy decides what’s worth doing in the first place and allocates your resources to do these things unbelievably well.
You can spend your entire year doing routine tasks like welcoming every new member, writing content to fill your calendar, hosting AMAs, interviewing experts, writing your newsletter, organizing meetups, initiating new discussions, replying to discussions etc…
But have any of these ever moved the needle for you? Have any of these driven double-digit growth in any metric that matters to you?
You want to allocate your time, money, and your energy to the 3 to 5 things that are worth doing and give these things everything you’ve got.
The biggest communities today didn’t try to do everything really well. They identified which were the critical things worth doing in the first place.
Great Things Happen When You Allocate Your Resources Well
Let’s take a simple example. You might interview experts on a weekly basis to help members learn more about the products and increase customer retention.
There are two ways of doing this.
1) A Weekly Webinar. Create a weekly slot to interview an expert, reach out and see who’s available, ask them to present their idea in an interview format, record the webinar and publish the video on YouTube.
2) An Expert Video Series. Take a week to interview 10 members to find out what they are struggling with and what kind of help they need. Research who has the best solution to that problem. Fly them to a professional recording studio to give a hands-on demonstration. Hire an editor to make the footage look incredible. Give top members a sneak preview and ask them to promote it when it’s live. Host the video on Vimeo or Wistia for easy-sharing/tracking tools. Have the expert answer any follow-up questions for a period of two weeks.
You can easily see the difference in impact of the two. The former will get a few attendees, the latter might be shared across the web. The latter has the potential to move the needle.
Even if you cannot afford to fly the experts in, you can still hire a professional editor to cut an hour-long tedious webinar into a terrific-looking 15-minute clip that gets sent to every new member with native sharing features enabled.
These are the kinds of things we’re talking about when we talk about moving the needle.
Building The Definitive Database
Or imagine if instead of replying to every single discussion, you use every answer and your own research to build the definitive database of members, products, companies, reviews, tools, locations, or whatever else might matter to your members.
Every good answer to every question gets added to the database. A resource like this will attract far more people. You could reward the people who get the most additions to the database. Once you free yourself from doing the little things you can focus on the really big things like this. You’re still using the same amount of resources, but you’re allocating them differently.
What Would You Do With Unlimited Resources?
You can do this for almost any tactic you do today.
Take a second to imagine what would happen if you had to spend all your time, money, and resources on just one tactic.
It’s this kind of thinking that sets you on the path to achieving phenomenal results. You might be amazed by just how much you can achieve once you learn to stop doing the things which don’t have a big impact.
p.s. Registration for our Strategy Community Management program opens this week. We’re going to take a group of passionate community managers through the process of applying strategic thinking to every single action you take to achieve phenomenal growth.