This article is for those who have some form of a community but haven’t figured out how to make it work. Does this sound like you: You don't know why your community isn't working but you’re ready to change that. You’re not capitalizing on your brand’s community as much as you could be.
Your goal is to create a healthy community, foster a set of tribesmen who will drive the conversation in your industry, and generate revenue. Part of building a community requires giving back to that community. You already know it is going to take a lot of hard work and effort to get it there.
We will be covering scenarios that cause communities to stay stagnant. We've chosen the five most common reasons a community may be unhealthy:
You Have The Followers But Not Enough Tribesmen
Have Tribesmen Only And Not Many Members,
Tribesman Not Getting Along,
Have A Community But It Doesn’t Convert into Revenue
Hit a Plateau Of Members And Can’t Grow Anymore.
If you don’t have a community yet, but would like to build one, here’s an article on How to Build your Community from the Foundation Up
Top 5 Reasons Your Community Isn’t Healthy
You Have The Followers But Not Enough Tribesmen
If you're noticing you have a lot of followers but not many are engaged whether by attending your events or starting conversations, you probably have followers but not enough tribesmen. In our article you'll see the different member types. Are you finding your community is made up of more ghost members and passive members than tribesman?
Don't worry this is a common issue amongst communities.
Usually, this is a result of a lack of vision, clarity, or passion. Another common factor could be that you're not fully aligned with the passion of your community. There may be something in your passion that people either consciously or subconsciously don't want to associate with, which is a more challenging problem to have.
When offering a diagnosis on community health, it does require some digging to figure out the heart of the issue. Your vision, passion, and alignment is a good place to start. On the bright side, an easy way to find out the issue is to take a few members aside and ask them. Do you have a clear vision? Are your members excited by your passion?
If the issue is your vision, it either means your community is not aligned with your existing vision or you don't have a clear one that your community will stand behind. If your passion is the issue, it means you're either being too vague or your members aren’t clear what your passion is. The good news is if you have members, something about your passion resonates with your members and you just need to refine it.
Have Tribesmen Only And Not Many Members
The opposite scenario is you have lots of tribesmen but not enough members. This isn't the worst scenario to be in since tribesmen are the most important members of any community. However, the other members are who help grow your community. If you're hoping to expand your group of tribesmen, you will need other members for this to happen.
Too many tribesmen and too few members happen if you started with a strong core membership and you've done a really good job of nurturing them. However, you may not have paid enough attention to new members and providing useful resources to encourage them to join your community.
One of the key components of a healthy community is the content that you provide and how you share this content with the greater community. By understanding what others who share a similar passion are looking for, you are able to create content that is relevant to them. By sharing this with your tribesmen, as well as those outside of your community, you’re able to grow members outside of your existing community.
Tribesmen Not Getting Along
In this scenario your members are highly engaged and they’re clearly tribesmen. The problem is they constantly disagree with each other. They publicly voice their disagreements and, oftentimes, can't let go of the conversation. Eventually, they start poking at each other and the disagreements carry on and on.
While some of your tribesmen are respectful in the manner they disagree, others, not so much. You might be unsure of how to react or whether you should step in. At this point, you're already worried this is reflecting poorly on your community. Good news, that’s not the case.
Communities that allow disagreements - within reason - actually build trust with potential new members. It demonstrates that you're not controlling the conversation and you're allowing the members to have open discussions and freedom of voice.
Unlike in scenario one, you have a strong vision and passion. The issue is the leader may not have set clear rules and regulations for the community. Your leader is the primary role model, and over time as the community grows, will need to step back and fall to the wayside. The rules and regulations that the leader enforces and moderates need to evolve over time and adapt to your ever-changing community.
Have A Community But It Doesn’t Convert into Revenue
You believe you have a healthy community, but you’re wondering why it's not converting into Revenue. There is excellent engagement and your tribesmen are talking about your passion often, but still you aren't seeing the benefits of having a healthy brand community.
There are many reasons why this could be happening. It could be a misalignment of your passion with your product or service offering. It could be your members want to buy your product but can’t due to unknown restrictions such as price point or shipping access. It could be that while your community is authentic, your product is not authentically aligned.
There is an easy way to find out.
Given that you have a healthy community, that would mean you have tribesmen and other members. You can reap the benefits of your community and tap into their thoughts. You have access to an entire pool of individuals to conduct market research to get a better understanding of the disconnect.
There are different cures for different scenarios and the solution may not be as easy as just identifying the problem. However, it is usually worthwhile to shift the product positioning to ensure that it's aligned with or accessible to your members. Oftentimes a slight correction to either of these will rectify this problem.
Hit a Plateau Of Members And Can’t Grow Anymore
You've had a healthy community for quite some time and you’ve got a strong group of tribesmen. They're loyal and they’ve been around for years. You trust them and they trust you. But you're noticing your community hasn't been growing, there’s been a lack of fresh blood.
That's true of your members overall, they've hit a stagnant spot. You're finding the ways you've been garnering members is no longer working. It could be a number of factors, such as generational differences or perhaps the media avenues you had previously used to promote your organization no longer seem to work. Whatever the case, the symptoms are the same, no matter your efforts, your community is standing still.
A common cause could be that you’re not be actively seeking others who share your passion and researching what's currently happening with the people who share this passion. You're no longer on the cutting edge of what's happening and you’ll need to take a hard look at what useful information you're providing the greater community that will attract new members to join your community.
It’s generally due to the usefulness of what you're providing. Sometimes it simply no longer resonates with people outside of your membership. This doesn't mean that you can't change it. You have built a community, a feat in and of itself, now it's just a matter of adapting to the ever-evolving market.
The first thing you want to do is talk to your tribesmen to get a better understanding of what they've heard about others who share a similar passion who haven’t joined your community. They’re the first place to look to find what's happening in the Greater Community. Tribesmen should be able to lead you to other groups and organizations who share similar passions.
Once you've identified the other communities, go explore and look at what's changed, what has evolved, and what community members are hoping to achieve. Make a list of all the topics that people are having discussions around. Identify what makes them tick. And just like that, you've developed a new content list.
Depending on what your community platform is - whether Facebook, Community Centre, coffee shop, or Reddit - you'll need to figure out a way to share new information to members inside and outside of your community. Your current members will help share it and whichever avenue you take to reach new members, ensure they have a way to join your community. That your main call to action. For example, if you decide to throw a webinar, make sure that you provide them with how to join your community at the end of the webinar. If it's a blog post ensure that you're encouraging people to join your community at the end of the blog post.
Whatever your scenario, a healthy or unhealthy community, remember that the point is to ensure that you're always giving back to them. By tapping in and keeping abreast of what's happening in your community and the greater communities abroad, you'll continually grow and maintain a healthy community of your own.
Communities are organic entities, so while we have a methodology to create and build communities, a lot of the in between is organic. The more in tune with your community you are, the more you are able to decide intuitively what the right decisions are for it to continually grow.
Remember that the more you invest in your community at the beginning the more they'll give back to you in the end. A Community is a long-term investment that pays you back tenfold. It's the best investment your business can make with the greatest ROI.
If you want to learn more, it might be valuable to read our community marketing strategy posts
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