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Last Updated on 2023-09-06 by Kassandra
If you are a community manager, you know that part of the job is to grow your community.
If it seems like a difficult or daunting task, then be sure to leverage the information here.
When you are building a community, you are seeking to create a space for people of shared interests, goals, and values. You are providing a way for those same people to connect, engage, and support other members.
I have grown communities over 3k members in size and managed ones with over 100k members.
In this post, I want to share with you some lessons learned over the years.
Please note that some links may be affiliate links. Therefore, should you click and choose to purchase? I may receive compensation.
Why Do People Fail To Grow Their Community?
Have you ever heard someone say “building a community is hard”?
Just like any other skill in life, you have to put time and effort into learning and doing.
In neuroscience, there’s a truth where neurons that fire together wire together. It’s where pathways in your brain are formed & reinforced through repetition.
“Repetition is the mother of all skill.” – TO DETERMINE
Below are some reasons why you may be struggling to grow your community.
Lack Of Planning
- Lack of clear purpose and vision that resonates with members. This makes things difficult to attract (let alone retain) engaged members.
- Inadequate planning. Whether that’s planning out your communications, webinars, content strategy, you name it … Without a solid plan with sufficient resources, you will struggle growing your community.
- Lack of resources – or trying to do too much without support. And this doesn’t have to be paid positions, either. Thriving communities may have volunteers eager to see the initiative thrive.
- Unrealistic expectations. Just like in business, if you expect miracles without anyone to do the work, money to run ads, etc … You are setting yourself up for failure. Do you need ads? No. But your goals must match your resources and planning.
Not Focusing On Your Community Needs
- Inconsistent (or no) marketing of the community, who it serves, and how people can get involved to all available channels. Ineffective communication leads to mistrust, disinterest, and sometimes even haters!
- Your community is not the top priority. If you are not creating content, finding ways to engage your members, and generally doing what you can to make them happy? You are flirting with disaster. I’m not saying to only do what they ask (as you have your own goals & vision for the group), but keeping their wants & needs at the forefront will make a lot of other plans run smoothly.
- Lack of inclusivity. Part of the enticement for a community is the human desire to belong. If you are not inclusive & members do not feel welcome, it may discourage people from staying – let alone joining.
- Allowing toxic behavior. This drives away otherwise great members. Who wants to be around rude people? Having clear community guidelines will help people understand what is allowed and why.
How To Grow Your Community
There are multiple facets when it comes to effectively growing your community.
Create Your Baseline To Grow Your Community
First thing you must do is to address the pitfalls previously shared. You can do this by:
- Define your purpose or vision for the community (and here are some workshops to help)
- Research your audience
- Decide where your community will thrive (e.g.: Discord, Facebook, upcoach, etc)
- Provide quality content that supports the needs of your community
Community builders should therefore strategically & continually assess their strategies, provide ample opportunity for member feedback, and be adaptive with change.
Dedication, persistence, and a commitment to fostering connection allows you to build a thriving community.
But honestly? The biggest factors in your success on growing your community are to:
- be patient – it takes time to grow and for people to learn about your community
- stay consistent – even when you don’t see progress you had hoped for
- start small – just as you cannot automate without knowing how to do something manually, you cannot scale a community without supporting the needs of your members
Evolve & Scale
Once you have your basics determined and a plan of action, you can start to incorporate additional supportive growth tools. Here are just a few:
- Measure progress. Determine what metrics are important to you, track them, and play with it. Find ways to improve your numbers – don’t be afraid to try new things! Just be sure to give it time.
- Gather consistent feedback from the community on what they like, what could be improved, and what they want to see more of. (I would suggest at minimum twice a year, if not once a quarter.)
- Empower your members to be leaders within the community or contribute in meaningful ways.
- Choose your preferred social media platform(s) to market your community on (learn how with these suggestions to avoid seeming like a spammer)
- Celebrate milestones in the community – as well as your members!
When you’re looking to grow your community, you must recognize this is an ongoing process.
Building an inclusive, strong, and supportive community takes time.
And when you see your vision coming to pass?
Makes the hard work worthwhile.