Who do you feel are your peers?
Your peers are those that have similar backgrounds,
experiences, skills, or (sometimes) aspirations as yourself.
It’s easier to persuade people to join a community, if the
community targets those they feel are in their peer group. People want to
participate to impress their peer group. They want to connect and make friends
within their peer group. They like to compare themselves and gain a positive distinctiveness amongst their
This is important. If you want to build a community, it’s
better to raise the boundary to attract people who feel other members are their
If you’re a level 3 architect in London, you’re more likely
to join (and participate in) a community for level 3 architects in London than
a community for architects.
This might sound obvious, but it’s the opposite of what most
organizations are doing. Most organizations make their communities open to
everyone that wants to join. They persuade as many people as possible to join.
They target all the audience they feel they could get instead of the audience
they can get.
These broad, open, communities face the same problems. What’s
the reason for joining? Where is the value? What makes the community unique?
How will you compete against existing communities?
Using peer groups and an embedded sense of exclusivity
answers these questions.
It’s easier to target the best, most passionate; most
qualified people and invite them to join a community. They want to join for
purely selfish reasons – they want to feel they’re one of the best. They want
to feel like insiders. They don’t want to be left out. Most importantly, they
immediately want to build their reputation amongst this group.
Believe me, I know the
temptation to go for the masses. Resist that temptation. Decide your criteria and stick with it. Higher barriers to joining create a stronger sense of
We’re now accepting applications for our Professional
Community Management course (Sept 30 – Nov 8). This is an online course that will teach you
how to apply proven, reliable, science to build bigger, better, and more active
communities. If you want to learn more, click here.