Okay, the first thing to answer is whether you actually want to do this. Community building is a buzzword these days. But if you are planning to build a community ‘because everybody else is’ then it’s probably a good idea to remember what your mother might have said about following what everybody else is doing. Jumping off the roof would be a lot less work and only marginally less painful.
Having said that there are real tangible reasons to build a community around your product and brand. A successful community isn’t an add on to a product, brand or company; it will be integral to engaging with customers, partners and the wider world which would include both potential customers and partners. It will be a part of your strategy to communicate; this can help marketing and also provide valuable feedback for your technical.
Once you have decided that ‘yes’ you most certainly do want to build a community and ‘yes’ you are ready for all the work involved then you are going to need to roll up your selves and do some hard graft.
First, you are going to do some research. I started here pretty much reading that from start to finish and then got some very good material from here also. You should also be talking to people who have more experience than you do, I met with Mike Riversdale whose blog you can read here, he’s great and there isn’t a substitute for actual people with real experience. I also got some great background information and ideas from listening to this podcast. Research will continue, it won’t ever stop actually, but that’s a start.
One of the first things we decided was that our community building was going to be a step-by-step process that was going to go one step at a time. While an overarching vision is important we are not going to plot anything like an end point at this stage, it is more important to get the foundations right.
So, if you’re game join me for the next instalment where I’ll be looking at answering the first question; who is your community for and what kind of community will it be?
Success is preparation meets opportunity – Jack