Community Strategy Insights

The latest insights on community strategy, technology, and value by FeverBee’s founder, Richard Millington

It’s About Identity

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

If the topic isn’t part of a member’s identity, you can’t build a typical community.

No-one is in AT&T’s community by choice. Something broke and they want a quick resolution. You shouldn’t try building a sense of community, initiating off-topic discussions, and interviewing your newcomers*.

The name of this game is speed and quality. You need to solve a member’s problem before they’ve had to ask a question. That’s the gold standard you edge closer towards each day.

If the topic is part of a member’s identity, you’re playing a different game. Your members don’t want answers, they want a place to belong. They want to know their peers and see how they compare. They want to achieve a positive distinctiveness.

Most successful communities today are like AT&T. They are customer support based. Members want good answers to tough questions.

If you’re not sure, here’s a simple test. Ask members of your audience to describe themselves. If they mention your topic (e.g. “I’m a programmer”), you can build an identity-based community. If not, build a support community.

Both types of communities work. The secret is being clear about which you’re building.

* you can build a community of superusers among this group.

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