Levels of Activity and Indispensable Community

In a couple of days, the SNS community will disappear. It joins a growing number of hosted communities which are vanishing from the web at an alarming rate.

Take a second to read the announcement below (Google translated from Dutch).

(Click here for full image)

A Twitter follower said this was a bad idea, ‘you can’t build a real community on other platforms’.

But the location of the community isn’t the problem. The problem is why does SNS need a community at all? What makes it indispensable?

A quick look at the platform shows it was attracting only 3 to 4 new discussions a day. That’s nowhere near enough to justify the cost of a platform like Insided. It’s not active enough to be of huge value to customers either.

Why would you want to talk to another customer when you can talk to an employee and get your problem solved?

Communities become indispensable when they create value for the member and organisation they can’t get anywhere else.

A community can offer customers the chance to get quicker responses, more empathetic responses, and avoid contacting customer support entirely.

A community is indispensable to the organisation when it lets them massively scale their support efforts without hiring an army of support staff.

And if scale is what indispensable means to your organisation, you need more than a handful of posts a day to do it.

The battle you need to fight isn’t just getting answers to questions, but to drive more people to the community in the first place. That’s an internal battle. A battle where you ensure the organisation becomes ‘community-first’ on all things support. That’s a tedious process of building relationships, persuading colleagues, and ensuring the community gradually handles a growing share of support questions (and your organisation knows it!)

Sadly, in the long-term, either your community becomes indispensable or it becomes a memory.

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