So here we are on the last part of our “Community Management” blog series. We are hoping that you have read our previous two blogs about building a community and tactics to engage with members. If yes, then you are on the right path and you will be seeing results anytime now. But, is this enough? A plant is sown, manured but afterwards also it has to be taken care of on daily basis. Likewise, your community is built and active but should be maintained for never ending results. Community management can also be understood according to the layout of five stages.
Assuming that your community has reached maturity, realised its its maximum potential and is self-sustainable now, it’s time to find activities that will help take it forward. As at the maturity level engagement can come to a standstill or can experience monotony, it must be re-fueled. Let’s discuss some activities which can steer the direction of community and keep it going.
- Measure, Adapt and Modify
All activities and their results during the initial stages should be measured. These results give insights about the success of particular types of posts and contents. These selective contents can be focused upon as these are the ones which attract most attention. Filter and continue with most beneficial activities of your community.
- Give New Direction
The main theme of any conversation might get over-exploited and members may lose interest in the agenda of the community. To spice things up, you as a community manager will have to get involved and steer the conversation into new direction. Introduce new topics but make sure to not deviate much from the community’s purpose.
- Celebrate your star members
Over the course of some months you will be able to identify some members who participate more than others. These are the members who act as conversation starters or moderators. They make your job easy by taking the charge in their hand. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge their efforts. You can create names for different posts and give online badges to these members. This, in turn, will also encourage other members to increase their involvement. Active community members who contribute through time, money and other resources need to be recognised for their efforts and may be rewarded with leadership positions.
- Post popular old content
As the community has moved beyond the maturity level and many new members have joined, it is possible that scrolling down to old content in not easy. New members might not be able to scroll down to read popular old content. So, make sure to post the old content again for the new members to read it. This will also help the new members to understand the journey of the community and the style and tone of engagement.
- Give a Warm Welcome to New Members
When a community has grown really big, it sometimes become intimidating for new members to join. People interested in your content might feel out of place to jump in the middle of conversations or to post their personal ideas. Welcome each new member with friendly environment. You can create a tutorial video to explain the rules and guidelines of the community so that new members will understand these and will feel a part of the community.
- Let sub-groups grow
As the tree gets bigger, it ought to grow branches and these branches make the life longer. When the members increase, it is difficult for every single person to contribute meaningful matter. Some may also feel that their contribution is not required. This is not a good sign for the growth of community. Formation of sub-groups (or sub-communities) will help to ensure that each member can feel valuable within these groups. These sub-groups also help in better supervision of the community as you can allocate the responsibilities of moderation /supervision among dedicated members.
- Creating opportunity for synergy
Community leaders should create online and offline forums and events where community members get an opportunity to interact with each other. Only when the community members interact, they can explore the synergy and opportunities for collaboration. Community members who actively contribute to the community must be rewarded by community leaders in non-financial ways such as connecting them with right people and opportunities.
It is very important to identify the current stage of your community and create activities around it accordingly. Not all communities reach all levels. Along with identifying your stage, it is equally important to identify the stage of similar communities. Consider community as equivalent to a family which needs different behaviour, environment and nourishment with passing years. Families grow too, and to stay together thoughtful activities must be carried out otherwise connections break and the members leave the group. Community leaders need to strive hard to create feeling of inclusion and sense of belonging ;
Because only when you belong, you become loyal.
When you become loyal, you become committed.
When you become committed, you make the community grow.
About the Authors
Dr Amit Nagpal is President and Community Builder at Bloggers Alliance. He is also a personal branding coach and business storyteller. To know more visit www.dramitnagpal.com and www.bloggersalliance.org .
Annie Jain is currently working as Manager- Online & International Marketing at Rangoli Furnishings Pvt Ltd. She is passionate about unraveling the power of storytelling and digital marketing)