5 Keys to Nurturing an Online Community

1. Have a launch plan.

You need a plan. Without one, your community with wither from lack of a solid foundation.

Map out the specifics of your community, including goals, activities, audience, tone and voice, purpose, and content. Allocate resources:

  • Who will manage each aspect of the community?
  • How much time will you allocate?
  • What budget is needed?

2. Plan for engagement.

Your community can’t be all about you. Remember that the primary purpose of a community is to serve the needs of the members of that community – your target audience.

Have a plan that puts the needs and interests of community members first by providing information and opportunities they value and creating opportunities for a two-way flow of information.

Also, pay attention to the needs and questions of community members. The better you are understand their pain points and expectations and make adjustments to meet them, the stronger your community will be.

3.  Let everyone have a voice.

Communities that thrive have a balance between order and interaction among members of the community. There needs to be a focus that meets expectations, yet enough room for people to discuss what is important to them.

 

Manage your community in a manner that ensures that it is is a welcoming and friendly space where people can share knowledge, learn from one another, and offer feedback. Instead of always being the expert to answer every question, make introductions, start conversations, and encourage members to connect with one another.

4. Build a content stream. 

Have a plan for sustainable and regular content postings to your community. A month-by-month or week-to-week calendar can be very helpful here.

Before launch, be sure there are several content postings that help to shape and draw the right audience to the community. Add content regularly.

5. Nuture.

All communities need constant tending. Answer questions. Correct mistakes. Encourge members to participate.

Pay attention to metrics as well. Your plan should identify the key metrics that you will monitor as part of ongoing assessment of the health of your community. This will help you to assess the impact of your efforts.

Metrics you may want to monitor, depending on your goals:

  • Member growth/decline
  • Member participation as captured in number of comments, likes, posts, etc
  • Level of interaction with various types of content
  • Days and times for best engagement
  • Demographics of members, both active and inactive