How To Develop A Community Strategy

If you only pursue a single, specific objective mentioned above, will you stop doing the things that keep activity going every day? What about welcoming newcomers? Removing the posts? Maintaining the website, etc? Many of the tasks you perform today, for example, are critical tasks to keep activity ticking over.

Trade-offs to Succeed

This is where you have to understand the trade-off required in strategic community management.

If you want to increase the quantity of valuable behaviors, you have to be comfortable with a decline in some of the metrics you measure today. This is natural. You are shifting resources away from maximizing engagement and towards strategic goals. The challenge is to identify what level of decline is within your comfort zone.

It is important to have clear, strategic, objectives to hit. You should decisively allocate your resources (more on this later) to achieve that objective. However, you should not allocate all of your resources to achieve this (or these) objective(s). You still need to perform many other tasks that keep a high level of growth and activity in the community.

You cannot hope to decisively increase the number of newcomers joining the community if you only allocate another 10% to 15% of our resources to promoting the community. Yet, you would see a huge change if you commit 70% of your resources to achieve this goal.

This leaves 30% to best sustain the level of activity from members we have now. It’s at this point we set a failsafe. What kind of decline are we comfortable with? This should usually between a 5% and 30% drop in growth or engagement, which is acceptable in order to achieve our goal.

The critical thing is to include this failsafe as its own unique objective.


Previous Objective: Increase the quantity of content created by existing, active community content creators to attract high levels of search traffic.
New Strategic Objective 1) Increase the quantity of content created by existing, active community content creators to attract high levels of search traffic.
New Strategic Objective 2) Ensure newcomer rates remain within 12% of the current levels.

This 12% failsafe depends entirely upon the number of resources you allocate. For example, if you allocate 95% of resources, you might expect a 30% drop. If you allocate 50% of resources, you might expect closer to a 5% drop. This gives you some balance to work with. If you’re not keeping within 12% of current levels, you may need to adjust your resources accordingly.

It is also critically important you prepare any internal stakeholders for this drop in engagement metrics. If you do not, you could find yourself facing serious problems later on.


  1. You need to pursue a clear, strategic objective, but do not ignore sustaining a level of engagement.
  2. Decide what level of engagement drop you are comfortable with and prepare for this drop in advance.
  3. Set a fail-safe metric in your community objectives to ensure that the level of growth or activity still remains relatively high. This is usually set between 5% and 30%.
  4. Write this fail-safe metric into the objectives as a clear percentage. If you fall below this, reallocate more resources to this group.



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