We don't spend enough time looking at existing communities to see what works.
The same tactics that work in a similar community 'type' (action, circumstance, interest, place, practice) will also work in your community.
If you're managing a community of lawyers, see what works in a community for accountants, teachers, doctors, directors, accountants, etc…
If you're managing a community on behalf of a non-profit, see what works for greenpeace, oxfam, Kiva, Avaaz.
Too often, we look for a specific example within our sector. You can guess the problem here. It's already been done. If you want to innovate, keep your concept fresh, and make your community existing, you have to bring new ideas from similar community types into your community.
Make a list of the following:
- What discussions are most popular in similar community types?
- How are those discussions initiated? How are they structured? How long are they? What emotion do they use?
- What activities/events are taking place? Polls, surveys, challenges, quizzes, online webinars, live chats.
- How specifically are these events structured?
- What content is published? How is this content structured? What is the most popular type of content? What specifically is clever/innovative?
Look for unique, new, popular, and otherwise clever ideas from similar community types from different fields and bring them in to your community.