We grossly undervalue the importance of a coherent community strategy.
Take some common community questions….
How do I increase engagement?
Why don’t I have support?
What platform should I use?
How should I set-up the platform?
Whom should I hire?
How do I reduce churn?
What should my superuser program look like?
These sound like tactical questions, they’re not. They’re strategic questions.
If you find yourself asking these questions, I’ll bet you don’t have a community strategy in place (at least not a good one). Which means you’re likely to tackle each question individually. It means you’re likely to find yourself bogged down in petty minutia instead of taking your community to where it needs to go.
Not sure what platform you need? Your strategy should tell you exactly what features you need and when you need them in your roadmap.
Not sure how to increase engagement? Your strategy should tell you exactly what members need and desire (and how to satisfy those needs and desires).
Not sure whom to hire? Your strategy tells you what skills you need at each stage of the community journey and the kind of budget you have available.
Not sure how to gain internal support? Your strategy should include a clear list of stakeholders along with their unique needs (remember a strategy is just a worthless word doc until it’s agreed and supported by your stakeholders).
The problem with all of the above questions is no-one can give good advice unless they know what your strategy is. And they can’t know what the strategy is unless you have taken the time to create one.
If you’re finding yourself asking these questions and getting bogged down in minutia, it’s not because you have dozens of tiny tactical problems to solve. It’s because you don’t have a strategy to solve them.
It doesn’t make sense to keep spinning your wheels or put more fuel in the tank when you’re bogged down in the mud. You need a different, strategic, approach.