Many years ago, I was brought in to save a dying community of teachers.
I was the third consultant brought into the project.
The previous two had undertaken research, made recommendations which failed to reverse the downward trend, and had vanished.
My research quickly revealed precisely what the former two consultants had learned; teachers were too busy to participate in a community!
They were overwhelmed with grading papers, adapting to new edicts from above, responding to student questions, dealing with tricky parents, etc…
The community was never a priority for them!
Their lack of time came up in every single interview and almost every survey response.
Before you scroll down, take a second and think what you would recommend if they were your client.
Seriously, stop and take a second to think what you would recommend.
Would you try to make the platform easier and quicker to use?
Would you try to make the community more fun and engaging?
Would you try to build a small, private, base of community members for mentoring and ensure every interaction was high-value?
If you answered yes to the above, you are recommending precisely what the former two consultants recommended.
None of these recommendations worked!
The solution is staring right at you but you’re probably not seeing it.
It’s easy to listen to members but not truly see what they’re saying.
I made a simple recommendation, if teachers are clearly too busy to participate, make the community a place for teachers to share their time-saving tips.
This is what we call ‘tweaking the concept’.
Nailing the concept is one of the most powerful ways you can drive more activity and participation.
Activity in the teachers’ community exploded and eventually surpassed its peak within six months. We brought in productivity experts, let teachers track how much time they had saved, and highlighted our time-saving idea of the week.
Once we nailed the concept, it became easier to come up with powerful engagement ideas.
Do You Know What Your Members Really Desire?
One of the first things I do in any client project is interview and survey members.
I’m not randomly putting questions together at the last minute, every question guides me closer to finding out what every segment, not just needs, but deeply desires.
Only once that research is done can I create a community concept that deeply connects with what members desire.
If you get the concept right, everything becomes much easier.
The best part of this, is it costs far less than changing technology and the impact is indefinite.
As part of our Psychology of Community course, I’m going to teach you how to undertake this research and build your community concept.
If you have an existing successful community, this can maximize the level of participation.
If you’re about to launch a community, this will ensure your community thrives.
And if you’re struggling, you should refine your concept before tweaking anything else.
This is a set of skills you can use on any community you ever work on.
I hope you will join me, the course begins next week!
You can sign up for Psychology of Community for $750 or sign up for Strategic Community Management too at a combined rate of $1100 USD.
See you on the inside.