Elements of a Community’s Strategic Plan
When we talk about community strategy, we are usually talking about the strategic plan.
A community strategy forms one part of the community’s strategic plan. It’s neither the first nor the last part.
Strategic planning is a process of identifying the broad goal, of translating that goal into member behaviors (objectives) you need to achieve. You then create a strategy (or strategies) to achieve those objectives.
Once you have created the strategy, you identify the best way to fulfil that strategy (tactics). Next, you decide who, what, and when those tactics will be executed (action plan). Finally, you measure and improve.
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The key elements of a community strategic plan are below.
- Goals. This is what the organization wishes to achieve from the community
- Objectives. Objectives are what behavior you need members to perform in order to achieve this goal
- Strategy. The strategy includes the emotions you will amplify in order to influence people to perform this behavior
- Tactics. Tactics are the specific action steps you will execute to amplify these emotions
- Plan. A plan (or action plan) identifies who is going to execute those tactics, what is required to execute those tactics, and when those tactics will be executed
- Improve. This is the process of measuring what happened, analyzing why it happened, and making continuous improvements
Strategic Plan Example
You can take many approaches to achieve your goal, multiple strategies to fulfil your objectives and many tactics to implement your strategy. Let’s connect these together into a similar example. The broader business goal might be to increase retention rates of a software platform. The customer success department might do that by building a community that shares useful tips on using that platform better and increasing the perceived value of the product.
- The community goal is to increase customer retention rates.
- The objective is to get members to share their best tips on using the product.
- The strategy might, in turn, be to turn those that share the best tips into stars that others feel jealous of and want to emulate.
- The tactics can include regular interviews with the top members, webinars featuring stars, inviting these stars to speak at events, or flying them to the headquarters for specific access and previews.
- Then, our action plan will identify the costs involved in doing these interviews and activities. It might identify who is best suited to do them, when they can be undertaken, and steps required to execute them extremely well.
Notice above how everything fits together. Also, notice how the strategy works. By devoting the majority of our resources to create stars and amplify the sense of jealousy (or admiration), we are taking resources away from other areas and other members. This means you face the risk that this will fail and other areas might be a better use for those resources.
In the next few chapters, you’re going to learn more about the community goals, objectives and types of strategy you might choose.
- A community strategy gets the most attention but forms just one part of the strategic plan.
- A strategic plan consists of objectives, a strategy, tactics, an action plan and improvement (measure, analyze, improve).