Community management consultant Carrie Melissa Jones says that ‘brand’ and ‘community’ ‘are two words that are not well-defined. While a brand is any identifiable organisation, a community involves building relationships with the people who are critical to your success – and that’s not always your end customer; it’s your suppliers, vendors and employees.’
‘Start by getting to know the people you work with or serve as full human beings, beyond the transactional value of what they provide to you.’
Use meaningful metrics.
‘People will often look at vanity metrics, like how many people are reading a newsletter or are in a Facebook community group. That is only the first level of activity. You also want to be measuring community health in how people are connecting to one another, and business outcomes in how the community is driving revenue, innovation and employee retention within the business.’
‘When founders are at the centre of communities, it becomes difficult to scale. You need to find people who exude your values, passion and purpose, and give them control and power in your communities where appropriate.’
Try to fulfil every need.
‘Business owners often say they want their community members to get multiple outcomes from their participation, including things out of the business’ control. Avoid having lofty goals.’
Over-rely on shiny tech.
‘It’s easy to find tools that claim to create community, but the platform doesn’t do the work if the clear and compelling purpose of the community is not there.’
Rush the process.
‘Building communities is not an overnight process, despite what some brand stories might have you believe. On average, it takes about 18 months to build a community.’
This article was first published in How to Start a Business 2021. To become a subscriber or purchase our newest guide, head to our webshop.