Here’s a task, set a google news alert for the phrase “launches an online community”
Whenever an organisation launches a community (and uses the phrase in a press release), you receive a notification.
Now you receive a weekly stream of the latest communities which have been launched.
You will notice that most of them violate every best practice in developing a successful community.
- No two-qualifier target audience. A community for all farmers ignores the qualifier rule; a community needs to have a specific audience with at least two qualifiers. There are existing, established, communities in this field. Don’t compete against them.
- No activity above the fold on the landing page of the community. The homepage provides places where you can interact (if you click), but doesn’t showcase current interactions between members.
- Hard to find discussions. If you click join the discussion, you still can’t find the discussions. You’re taken to another long-copy content page. It’s not immediately clear where people can participate in the community.
- No existing activity prior to the launch of the community. There is no existing activity in the community. Even if you click comments, you see that there only two visible comments – both several weeks old. There in no existing, established, base of activity to grow upon. The social density is also very low. There are far too many features and places to do things..
- No, quick, clear win. There is no quick, clear, goal that members can help the community achieve. What is the big discussion, resource being created, or single, uniting, reason for members to participate in the community right now?
These are just five of dozens of issues we can quickly spot.
In nearly every single aspect of the community, it has violated best practice and is almost certain to die. There is a reason we need skilled people to do this work. Now, more than ever, we need people that can confidently guide their organisation through every process of getting a community off the ground.
This is the reason I suspect our course had it’s biggest intake so far. The demand for learning the skill of building a community (and knowing what resources/knowledge) is required is high. The current abilities are low. If you’re launching a community, you need experience to do this well.