Understanding Community Building Basics: A Visualization
In my recent few conversations around Community Management with fellow industry members, there’s something common I noticed. The lack of understanding of what it actually is!
As the demand for community building and management increases, it becomes even more crucial to get the basics right. The following insights are drawn from my own experience as a Community Manager and Builder. Do bear in mind, that this just scratches the surface. But hopes to be an interesting read and a conversation starter.
So What is a Community?
Sticking to the roots, A Community is a group of people bonded together by a common area of interest. For example: A bunch of cyclists going for rides are bonded by their common interest in cycling.
The above definition has helped me identify more communities than we may generally spot. (More on spotting communities around us some other day.)
What is Community Building/Management?
When you provide a platform for this set of people to meet, engage and enable conversations, that's community building.
How can you create a community platform?
Identify your/business goals
Identify your target audience's needs
These need to overlap to create your niche of serviceable community.
You want to gain business by curating paid trips.
Your TA of Cyclists wants to go on exciting rides and explore new areas.
Community goals become curating exciting paid cycling tours.
Here are some ways you can address more of your possible serviceable community:
1. Move closer to your audience's needs.
Understand them better.
Talk to them regularly.
See what else they want and try to fulfill that.
You were curating rides only in Mumbai.
However, they want to explore Thane and beyond too.
Hence, you can start curating rides over there as well.
2. Expand your services to offer more to your community.
Try to understand what else your community might need.
Most of the time you can address more, but they don't ask for it because they didn't think you can fulfill that too.
Try offering more and correct your offerings based on the response.
You extend bike repair and maintenance services to your community members.
This will help them keep their precious cycles well maintained and enrich their experience as a community member.
3. Introduce a partner to address a completely different need.
There is only so much you can address and at times your resources might be limited.
At the same time, you realize there are more needs of your community left completely unaddressed.
This would be a great time to introduce a partner.
Identify common grounds and opportunities to win for all, and introduce them to your community.
Your community members want to upgrade their cycles.
You introduce a partner that sells cycles and community members get a discount.
This again enriches the experience for the community member and is a win for your partner as well.
It would be worthwhile to have your answers to the above in advance. These will go a long way in understanding the direction for the community and how much of your goals can you actually achieve; While also saving lots of wasted energy, time and resources put in the wrong place.