I Built a Community and No One Came!

1 Mar

Sometimes you can have the best of intentions, and even the best of tactics, and still not get the outcome you’re hoping for. Online communities can be like that. I’ve been involved in my share of failures, and sometimes there is nothing that you can do about that. If the fundamental ingredients for community are not there, passion and focus, then failure is almost inevitable.

But let’s suppose that you are pretty firmly convinced that those aren’t a problem. What can you do to to help give your community the best chance of success?

#1 Get Help! No, not psychiatric help… Find people who share your passion. Its extraordinarily difficult to be the sole driving force behind a community. The oft-quoted rule of thumb is that 90% of people are lurkers, 9% are willing to comment on something, and 1% are willing to actually create new content. Obviously you can’t survive without that 1%. And in a community that is just getting started you don’t want to leave it to statistics to get that 1% for you. You want to go out and find them, bring them in, and do whatever you can to encourage them to contribute.

#2 Think about your audience. What is the focus of the community?  Why will people be interested in this community? Is it something that will help them do their jobs more effectively? Is it a place to come for specialized information about a hobby or skill? Once you know your audience, figure out how to best publicize yourself to them. If your community is starting small, consider reaching out to new members on an individual basis. Involve existing members in reaching out for new members.

#3 Think about content. Some communities are very content focused — particularly if you are trying to build up a library of specialized information. But even in communities that are more interaction oriented, content can still serve as a springboard for interaction; a controversial blog post that you find out on the internet can help kick off a discussion on your site. So, make a list of sites, blogs, etc. that routinely have interesting new content that is related to your community. Don’t be afraid to create new content yourself. When an idea comes to mind that relates to the community, write it down immediately, or send yourself an email reminder. Finally, consider actually creating a content calendar; a list of content items and when you publish them to the community. This will help ensure that there is regular flow of new information to keep bringing people back.

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One Response to “I Built a Community and No One Came!”

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  1. I Built a Community and No One Came! | Social Intranet and Mobile | Scoop.it - March 4, 2012

    […] background-position: 50% 0px; background-color:#222222; background-repeat : no-repeat; } associcom.wordpress.com – Today, 11:49 […]

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