Big or small, public or private, the health of a community is measured by the interaction within it.
That was certainly the consensus on this week’s #RayBunch show on which we were grateful to have the expert advice from Mark Timberlake director of the online marketing company, SME Heroes as our special guest.
Mark runs the successful Google+ Community: Online Video Educators & Entrepreneurs which is a “collaborative marketing community, creating educational residual income through learning together.” The Community comes out of his experience as an online trainer with udemy.
Do we set out to build a Community or a Tribe?
Like everything we do, professionally at least, we should have a plan in place before taking that first step towards our goal.
In the case of creating an online Community, it helps to be very clear why you’re creating it and what you hope to get out of it.
Do you want to offer a gathering place for your followers to interact and grow together? Or do you want a place to nurture a tribe of followers who will help you reach your goals?
Are these goals mutually exclusive?
What is the difference between a Community and a Tribe?
The core responsibility as a Community leader is to promote the people within the community.
Find a core group of people who will contribute to the Community and help them succeed.
It’s not what they can do for you but what you can do for them.
Why would anyone want to start a community?
Communities can send traffic to your website as well as help build your reputation.
A Community should have an end product that you can sell. That’s not to say you’re selling inside the Community but that you have a goal that will help you benefit from the time and resources it takes to build a nurture one.
But everyone in the Community gains if it’s a healthy one. Everyone learns.
Tips for building a healthy Community
1. Start with a core of active followers.
You want to start with people you already have a relationship with who will seed the discussions and sharing.
2. When you see people who are active engagers, make them moderators.
You can’t do it yourself. But be sure they’re generous and friendly. An advantage to having moderators is they can cover your shift in different time zones.
3. Have very clear rules set out in the Community description.
4. Even if it’s a public Community, use the option to have people ask for permission to join.
This helps you screen for trolls and spammers. It makes everyone’s life easier.
5. It’s essential to build a “niche” Community.
It can be on the same topic as someone else’s but what you’re doing – how you’re doing it and how you’re helping people in that Community has to be specialized.
Thanks for dropping by. I'm the Director of Digital Marketing for Image-24.com.
My background in business includes non-profit (performing arts), restaurants and Promotions.
Having moved on from my own strategic consulting company, I now write about what interests me. So in this blog, you may read about my thoughts on marketing, health issues and business culture.
You can follow me on Twitter @rayhiltz or @image24Call