Announcing – Back to Basics: Developing an Online Community Strategy

 

The topic of online community strategy is one of the things that occupies a large chunk of my mental cycles. I’ve written about a pretty basic process and framework a few times over the years, and I think the baseline concepts have held up well. You can read a couple of relatively recent posts here (I’d love to hear your thoughts):
How to Develop a Community Strategy
Holistic Community Strategy

Why am I Doing This?
I’m very passionate about the opportunities that online communities and social media bring to the table, and I’ve had my fair share of real world experience (10+ years), but the primary reason I want to write this series is pretty simple:
Organizations are still challenged with setting strategy. From our efforts with the Online Community Research Network, we still see that only about 25% of our participant organizations have a comprehensive community strategy in place.

Over the next few weeks, I will explore the following topics, offering my own opinions and insight, data from our ongoing community research, as well as other relevant content from experienced community-building professionals. I’ll also try to post as many templates that I use (or can borrow), where appropriate. In short: I’ll be posting, you will be adding to the discussion, and we will all (hopefully) be making our day to day community practices a little better. I hope that sounds like fun :-)

The Topics
The topics, which generally follow my strategy development process, will be:

1. Goal Definition:
How to assemble an internal stakeholder team and facilitate definition of business goals for the community.

2. Member Needs Research:
Processes and techniques for engaging community members in a process of discovery and conducting member “needs” research.

3. Social Media Ecosystem Research:
Methodology for conducting a discovery exercise of the relevant parts of the social web to find out where your community (or potential community) is already working and playing.

4. Designing an Online Presence Architecture (with a hat tip to Chris Brogan):
Factoring the goals of the business, the needs of the members, and the opportunities in the social media ecosystem to create a presence architecture that maps out where to focus engagements.

5. Engagement Planning:
How to develop content & activity plans for the community, including
–Where: to engage (home, outposts)
–Who: responsible party
–How: specific activity
–When: frequency of activity
–What: expected outcomes (prototypical metrics!)

6. Community Platform Selection:
Guidance on how to select a community platform, along with recent ratings for major platforms.

7. Management & Moderation
An overview of the important and evolving role of the Online Community Manager, building an online community team, and best practices on moderation.

8. Metrics & Reporting
What metrics to collect, what they tell you, who to report them to, and how often.

9. Policy Creation & Roll-out
How to develop community and social media policies that fit your organization, and how to deploy them.

10. Governance
Creating a governance structure in your organization, keeping exective stakeholders informed and engaged, and achieving the right balance of of inter-departmental communication and guidance.

11. Superusers / Elites
A review of the best superusers programs, with a focus on process, identification and incentives.

Again, I would LOVE your feedback on the topics above. My goals is to write an article a week over the next 12-14 weeks. Each article will be labeled “Back to Basics”, and will be tagged #ocb2b

Posted via web from Social Architect

Bill Johnston - Founder, Structure3C. Former Head of Community at Dell & Autodesk. Mobile: (415) 233-6914 Twitter: @billjohnston LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/billj In a sentence: Seasoned online community and social media executive and advisor with over 15 years experience developing large scale online communities, social media initiatives and successful online product strategies.
3 comments
  1. Hi there,
    For me the topic would be timely.
    I do hope you will aggregate it all in the end into an ebook or at least a single page full of all the posts in the series.
    Tsahi

  2. I wass looking to get back to basics and discovered your post at the top of the heap when searching “develop community strategy”. There is a complexity to the options available on the internet that can make anyone’s head hurt. Before we go off half-cocked, it’s good to fully understand who’s on the team, what they want and need, and were we are headed. I’ll be following the series and passing it on to others.

  3. This is a great starting point for discussion of communities.

    My organization is involved in managing several large communities for high tech companies and we view the community as having both online and offline components. All of our communities started off as user groups which meet in physical locations. We also have an online component. Our challenges are to integrate these two modes to drive value to our community members.

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