Community managers can do a huge range of activities, but for the stage you’re describing, they will mostly be focused on building your community from scratch. This involves thinking critically about the value your community provides — both for your organization AND for the audience you are hoping will join your community. After those questions have been answered, a community manager can go about recruiting early members, and involving them with helping to build the new community. Expert advice from a community manager we recently published on Social Studies is key here: Reach out to each of these people in a way that cannot possibly scale.
She breaks down starting a community from scratch into five exercises that I highly recommend doing before you hire a community manager and again once you have hired a community manager.
1. Identify Your Community’s Value Proposition for Your Company
These are the things you imagine to be happening in the future when you know that your community is working.
“Why do you want to build a community? Is your goal to address key business metrics like churn and customer lifetime value? Is it to harness the power of community to help you grow by increasing the number of customers who evangelize your product for customer referrals? Are you trying to develop a community-driven content strategy and increase your brand trust? There are numerous ways your community can add value to your company, so start by identifying and focusing on three key areas.”
2. Identify Your Community’s Value Proposition for Its Members
This is the reason why members will join your community.
“Why would anyone want to join your community? What motivates them to participate in your community? Write down how that participation would take shape.
How does your community solve a problem for them that they may already be trying to solve in other ways? Write down those other ways. Write down how your community does it in ways that are better or worse. What are those other ways?
When a member describes the value of your community to a friend, what do they say? When you answer these questions, you have your community’s value-proposition.”
- How crucial is Facebook to college social life?
- La dégradation de la société américaine est-elle financée par nos ennemis?
- Does Quoran culture exist? If yes, what is Quoran culture?
- What would be the impact on world economy if the main social networks were down for a whole week?
- Why did Formspring fail while Quora thrives?
3. Start Small, Start Special
This is how you get started with actual members.
“Write down all the people you know who would find your community immensely valuable. Create a spreadsheet and organize the list with the people who would value it the most at the top. Reach out to each of these people in a way that cannot possibly scale.
Invite them out to 1-1 coffees or send them a handwritten note. Run your ideas past them, get feedback, and ask them to think of three people each who would also find the community valuable. If you start with 10, you will soon have 30. If start with 50, you will soon have 150 members.”
4. Empower Your Community to Help You Grow
This is how you go from 20 or 50 to hundreds or thousands.
5. Create a Community Health Dashboard
Quantify Your Community’s Growth and Success
If you want to do these exercises, you can get the full post on the Social Studies Blog: Community Building from Scratch: A How-to Guide | TINT