One client asked whether they needed a dedicated community platform.
The answer depends on whether they have gone as far as possible without one.
If you don’t have a large audience already engaging with each other through blog comments, webinars, and social media channels, why do you think launching a central platform will help?
There is plenty you can do to build community without a single platform.
You can create a curated list of Twitter/LinkedIn accounts for members to follow and learn from each other. You can even promote a hashtag members can follow to participate in topical discussions. Members can share their accounts and join the list.
You can host webinars, invite members to submit questions and participate in live discussions with each other during the webinars. Better yet, ask members to nominate guest speakers or even put themselves forward for webinars.
You can start a blog, build a following, and encourage members to submit content for it. You can invite members to share comments on the blog and identify topics they want to be covered.
The best time to launch a platform is after you’ve created a large demand for it. A platform should improve what you’re already doing because trying to create new behaviors from scratch is risky.