Most Communties are Designed for Lurkers

I can’t take credit for the above title or topic of this post, it is inspired by a recent article I read on – Identifying and Articulating The Benefit Of The Community.

I’ve been a community builder and manager for a very long time and I have worked on and with many different kinds of communities and unfortunately many of these communities do not stand the test of time. It is easy to set up a community and get lot’s of followers, but how do you retain these members and keep them engaged? This is the question we all want to answer. Believe it or not it is easier to answer than you think, it just takes time and patience, which most community owners unfortunately don’t have.

I say this in all due respect to the brands I have worked with over the years, however so many brands fall into the same trap – we want a million members by the end of the year! Brands are so focused on the BIG number they forget about the value of each one of those members.

I get it, numbers are important to a brands reputation and perception, plus it goes a long way in a board meeting, but is this really how you want to build your community?

The problem is that most brands design communities around a topic of interest. For example, our customers like urban clothes, so let’s build a community around that interest and set up a marketing campaign to get people to join and talk about clothes.This will initially get you lots of signups. However, there is no real added value for joining. This kind of community is passive and does not engage members or ignite any kind or real participation.

Result: you end up with lurkers and high drop off.

Is it not better to build a community that get’s your members to actively participate?

A few points from FeverBee that I think all community builders/managers/owners should live by:

The challenge is to articulate a benefit that both a) aligns with these motivations and b) places the recipient in a participating mindset. This means you will be targeting less people, but you get the ones that participate.

Build your community around the proposition that you, the member, will benefit from joining and participating.

This process takes time, and you need to nurture your community. Listen to your community. Align and re-align your content strategy based on member feedback.

You own this community, so you should know your members better than anyone! If not, do the work to find out: ask questions, poll and survey, address your members fears and concerns, most importantly let the community shape the community!

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