I’m following two private communities of practice on the same platform launched at approximately the same time.
Neither had a big audience to begin with.
One community manager has been initiating a new discussion once or twice a week and then emailing 15 to 20 members to reply to it. He also reaches out to people talking about the topic on social media and invites each person to join with a personal, private, email.
Every new member receives a personal private email that aims to begin a discussion. It’s absolutely draining work – but over the past month, the number of posts has risen from 5 to 10 organic posts per week up to 60 to 70 organic posts per week now (and it’s really beginning to accelerate). The community has around 150 registered members.
In the other, the community team initiates a new fun discussion each day, publishes fresh weekly content, and looks for more opportunities to get members to join. This community has 400+ registered members but attracts only 3 to 4 organic posts per week (from 2 to 3 active members). This number has declined since the launch.
The lessons here should be clear. Registration means nothing without discussions. And the way to get discussions isn’t to pack a community with members, it’s to create discussions that can solicit useful information for others and then work hard to get people to reply to them.