In about half of the member surveys we do for clients, there is a consensus the community ‘isn’t as good as it used to be’.
This usually has three causes.
The first is revamping the technology to add more clutter and making it difficult for members to find what they want.
If members now have to close pop-up notifications and scroll down past large banners to see fewer full-length posts (instead of just the subject lines), that’s going to do real harm. Don’t do that.
The second is a failure to support the community at the same level. When you launch you might respond to every question quickly, spend plenty of time getting to know members, and respond to every idea. As the community grows, you can’t do that anymore without more resources. Naturally, members become disappointed.
The third is losing top members (often in the insider program) without attracting others to replace them. This happens often when the benefits of the insider program aren’t frequently increased (or, as is often the case) decrease.
The secret then is:
1) Keep the technology as simple and the website uncluttered.
2) Don’t set a standard you can’t maintain and get colleagues to help you engage with members.
3) Gradually increase the benefits to Insiders and the level of access and attention they receive from you.