Too many organizations only come up with one, single, risky, all-encompassing idea for a community.
This typically means: ‘we’re going to build a community for customers to ask and answer each other’s questions’.
The problem is the odds of hitting a home-run on your first-ever swing of the bat isn’t great.
If the concept works and takes off, great! If it doesn’t, it’s game over. And far too often, it’s game over.
Our approach is usually different. We use our surveys and interviews to identify several possible audience clusters and related community concepts. Then we test them and see which performs best.
For example, instead of a single, generic, community for all customers to ask and answer each other’s questions, you can instead have:
- Test 1: A community for beginners in your field to get started and receive help from select mentors.
- Test 2: A private community just for top customers at Fortune500 businesses.
- Test 3: A tightly moderated community where members can’t post without sharing the source of their opinion.
- Test 4: A community that helps customers advance in their careers (i.e. discussions beyond the product/software).
- Test 5: A community for people who want to use a data-driven, modern, approach into the topic.
Once you’ve used your research to come up with several possible concepts, test your concepts.
Host webinars, post tweets, write blog posts, start small groups on Facebook/WhatsApp/other channels, host a small meetup on the topic.
You will find some ideas have legs and some don’t. You will also learn how easy it is to reach the audience, embrace the questions/feedback you get, and end up developing a far more successful community.
Don’t risk everything on a single idea. Test five ideas and see which comes up top. Then invest heavily in your top-performing idea(s).