Large communities are often a numbers game.
You know if you have an audience of several thousand, a small % of them will become active members of the community and 1 – 2% of them will become your top members. You plan accordingly.
But managing communities of smaller groups is a different ball game.
You can’t churn through members. You’ll soon have none left. You can’t develop a community platform and strategy for them and hope it works. You don’t have the numbers to do frequent tests.
Instead, you begin at the very core. By talking and getting to know each person. You build close relationships with them. You gather feedback and start collaborating with them to develop the community. You’re the facilitator of the community. You identify the unique assets of every person (even the newcomers who know which questions newcomers have) and their shared challenges.
Then you collaborate together to discover how members can use those assets to help one another solve their challenges.
If you’re working to develop a small group, you’re going to be spending far more time in direct one to one interactions compared with managing a larger community.