Outside of transactional communities (customer service), most lasting communities are built upon shared experiences and shared memories.
If you positively remember going through events and circumstances together, your propensity to continue supporting and participating in future community activities rises considerably (wouldn’t you do anything for your college buddies?).
But how many activities (discussions, blog posts, activity) from the community do you remember last year? I’ll bet it’s not many.
This is a hidden problem. It won’t show up in your data. Members won’t ask you to have memorable experiences and discussions, but you still need to figure out how to do it.
This doesn’t just mean offline events. Build up a list if you like. What would big achievements in your field look like? What would help a lot of people? Now reach out to a few of your top members and ask them what they think.
Is there anything on the list you can achieve? Is there anything members are especially passionate about? What would the next steps for a plan of action look like?
Start making it happen.
The great thing about this is no-one remembers (by nature) the failures. It’s only the home runs that count.
Creating amazing memories might happen by chance, but chance makes for bad strategy. Why not instead deliberately create situations which might lead to positive shared memories of the group? Rely on yourself, not on chance.
It’s time to get serious about the soft side of this work.