Developing a Community Strategy
Strategic Community Management
The best strategies shut down as many opportunities as possible to focus on a few single, decisive areas. In a community context, you need to find the best way to achieve your objectives above.
A strategy is the emotion that will change the behavior of your target audience. This means that, in order to write a great strategy, you need first to understand what changes behavior. This is where we need to understand a little more about psychology.
What Changes Behaviour?
Facts are far less powerful than emotions when it comes to changing member behavior. Think about climate change. Most people believe that climate change is both man-made and a serious threat to this planet. Yet, few people have changed their ways.
Behavior change is achieved by amplifying specific emotions to evoke a sustained behavior change.
Community strategy is therefore, the science (not art) of amplifying emotions to change the behavior of the specific group of people. A good community strategy identifies the emotion you want to amplify among the group. This is based upon research.
Your strategy is the approach you will take to get members to perform the behavior. As behavior is largely driven by emotions, a good strategy will target a specific emotion and use that emotion to drive the behavior you want members to perform.
Remember, too, that you will need more than one strategy here. You will need at least one strategy for your priority objective(s) and a unique strategy for your failsafe objectives. If you are lucky, the two will closely align. In practice, it is more likely you need to pursue two relatively distinct strategies for different target audiences.
Don’t Worry About Tactics Yet
You don’t want to worry about tactics at this level. Tactics are the specific things (e.g. invite experts to meet the CEO) that provoke the emotion. Tactics are irrelevant at the strategy level. If you get the strategy right, all of your tactics become more effective. Changing the platform, introducing gamification, creating an ambassador scheme, launching a new event… these are all tactics.
Sometimes, they are very effective tactics to achieve a strategy, but they are tactics nonetheless. If they are not strategic, they are taking you in the wrong direction.
A good tactic will significantly amplify an emotion. But a good strategy will amplify the efficacy of all tactics (even the bad ones). For example, a tactic that has a small impact towards amplifying the right emotion is far better than a tactic that has a big impact upon the wrong emotion.
- The purpose of a strategy is to allocate resources to achieve decisive outcomes.
- A community strategy makes people feel a specific emotion about the behavior you want them to perform.