Nowadays, it seems like everything, even your salad, has an associated “community.” This word is so ubiquitous that its meaning has become unclear and its use has become redundant.
As important as it is for startups to understand the value of building community, it is equally important to distinguish between a community that is high-value and one that is low/no-value.
While a high-value community can build customer loyalty, a low-value community can detract from brand confidence and turn otherwise satisfied users off.
If you decide to make community a focus, make sure you co-create with your users and listen to their needs so you avoid building a stale, boring or (at worst) damaging community.
The Community Canvas details the key aspects of your community in a simple one-page document. It is designed to be ever-changing, so you can always go back and refine it as you learn!
Examples of high-value community elements: resource-sharing, networking, expert advice
Stay in constant communication with your users. Keep them at the forefront of your mind when designing new community initiatives.
Interaction failure occurs if a member posts something in a group, for example, and gets no response. A person who experiences this would become discouraged from participating further and would eventually abandon the platform. If you design a community, it’s critical you have the resources to actively maintain it.
Consistency is vital. Members should feel that their time will not be wasted and that this community will continue to exist in the future.
Keep in mind that it’s easy for someone to be a passive member of multiple communities, claiming value using a “consumerist mindset.” This is the default state that many people adopt when joining a community.
However, multihoming costs ARE a factor. These are the intrinsic costs for members of maintaining a presence in multiple communities at the same time.
Multihoming costs are low in a low-value community. But they are far costlier when an individual spends time as an active community member. Thus due to high multihoming costs, a person will be highly active in only a few communities.
And the advantage for you is this: If you succeed in creating a high-value community, your user base will be incentivized to stick around.