Should We Do This? A Decision Framework For Community Tactics

Clients often ask us questions about new tactics. For example:

“Let’s create a video channel in our community for members to record and share videos”

It makes sense. Videos are rising in popularity, more platforms are pushing it, and it sounds fun. If you pull it off, your community can become the YouTube for its topic.

If you don’t have a framework for making decisions on tactics like these, you can easily go off-strategy and exhaust yourself chasing new ideas. Many communities become a graveyard for forgotten ideas.

Here’s how we tend to think about any new tactic.

1) Does it directly link to a community goal? How would sharing videos help a community achieve its goal? Certain kinds of videos might help members overcome common problems in better detail or help customers get more from a product.

You can also see what the tactic might look like at this stage. If videos are about problems, we might create a channel to tackle specific problems no-one else can solve. If they’re about success, we might use them for beginner or advanced level tips etc…

2) Is it the best way to achieve the goal? Having customer sales reps write answers to previously unanswerable questions or share best tips might be easier and more effective. What makes videos unique? They make it simple to follow what’s happening as it’s happening. This probably suggests targeting newcomers.

3) Have members expressed an interest in recording/viewing videos from each other? Most of the time the answer is no. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it (members often struggle to express an interest in something they haven’t seen). But it does mean you need to do a trial of the idea first to see if it’s popular before investing much time and resources in it.

4) How do we trial this idea? You might run a simple competition, have a video week (or month), allow just the very top members to create and share videos, pull in existing videos from other sources and see if they’re a hit etc…Most of the time, a tactic is a complete dud and needs to be refined or tossed out. Never do something big without a small trial first.

5) What will we stop doing to make time and energy to do this well? Running a successful video channel well takes a lot of time and resources. What tactics will we stop doing to make sure we can do this well? Who will be responsible for it?

What you might notice is now the idea of “Let’s launch a video channel for members to create and share videos” becomes “Let’s host a newcomer video week for top members to share how they tackled their earliest challenges. If it works out, we’ll stop our weekly MVP calls and focus on collecting best videos instead on a new channel of the community”

Don’t get sucked into investing huge amounts of time and resources into ideas which aren’t clearly powerful, proven to work, and you don’t have time to do them well. Go through the process and reject or adjust the idea until you know it’s worth doing.

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