Don’t try to imitate major community programs without their resources.
Ideally, every community effort would have a full-time community manager with a six-figure budget to build and support their audience.
However, most people are juggling community around other tasks with limited financial support.
The temptation is to launch a platform, drive members to it, and start responding to questions. But without a decent amount of time and money, this probably isn’t the most effective approach. It sets high expectations, spreads resources thin, and requires a big, long-term, commitment.
An easier approach is to deliver a powerful community experience at regular intervals.
Instead of having an ongoing community you can’t fully support, focus on powerful community experiences you can deliver.
You can nurture a sense of community in many different ways:
- You can host monthly webinars with product experts where customers can join to ask questions.
- You can invite customers to join you at headquarters a couple of times a year.
- You can host weekly live twitter chats.
- You can solicit contributions of customers each month and publish the best advice and tips in a newsletter digest.
- You can create a podcast and invite contributions from members. You can encourage and promote the meetups of your members.
A hosted platform is just one of many approaches to foster a strong sense of community. It can deliver great results, but it’s both time and resource-intensive. If you have neither, take a different approach.
It’s always better to deliver a powerful community experience for a short amount of time than a mediocre experience for a long period of time. It’s easy to build upon a powerful community experience than a mediocre one.