Many community consultants tell clients how to build a community.
That’s not enough.
Knowing how to build a community is easy. Having the resources, mindset, opportunity and the ability to build a community matter is harder.
If you’re a consultant, your advice and recommendations should cover the following:
- Is your product interesting enough to have a community?
- Does the boss see the benefit and importance of a community?
- Are all the key people within the company included in the project?
- Do they understand what makes a community unique from typical marketing initiatives?
- Does at least one person have responsibility for the community?
- Is it his/her full-time job?
- Do the people involved in the community respect the time-commitment involved?
- Is the company willing to adapt based upon the feedback and actions of their community?
- Have competitors tried to launch a community and succeeded or failed (with reasons)? How can you copy their successes and avoid their failures?
- Are potential members easy to identify?
- Are potential members easy to engage in a conversation? Do they seem open to a community?
- Can the company adequately reward members of your community with first-look, trial products, recognition, invites to events etc?
- Are potential members highly technical or less so?
- What are the big contentious issues to avoid?
- Is this a long-term project for the company?
Recommending not to have a community is as important a recommendation as deciding to have one. Create a checklist that a company should pass for you to recommend a community, and stick to it.