5 Steps to create an effective community strategy
Updated: May 4
If you don't know where you're going, it's hard to plan. Therefore it's important for your community to set meaningful goals and then plan the steps for how to fulfill these goals. Whether you’re looking to set new priorities, outline plans for growth, determine a product roadmap or plan your investment decisions, you’ll need a strategy. Because a community strategy is essential for every community’s success, we will help you with the first steps. Let's have a look at them:
Step 1: Gather the facts
To know where you’re heading, you have to know where you are right now. So before you start looking ahead, you should review the past performance or the current situation. Look at each area of the business and your community, then determine what worked well, what could have been better and what opportunities lie ahead. There are many tools and techniques available to help with this process, such as SWOT analysis.
Step 2: Set a vision statement
In this step, you will revise the business purpose of your community. Answer these questions: Why did you create your community? What value does your community bring to your members and your company? What distinguishes your community from others?
When you are aware of the community purpose you can start setting a vision statement. What do you consider a successful community? How will your community look in 1/3/5 years? The vision statement should be motivational, ambitious and realistic.
Step 3: Get to know your community members
If you want to build a successful community you have to be sure that you fulfill your community members' needs. Try to create a trusted learning environment where your audience can be heard, have an opportunity to give feedback and bring new ideas. Don’t make assumptions and ask your community members or conduct surveys. This will provide insights into what the customers really need and helps you to deliver better value. The questions must emphasize both ‘why’ and ‘how’ to get a clear picture of what has to be accomplished in order to provide superior customer experience.
And don't forget that the members' purpose and the business purpose must overlap. This overlap is called a shared purpose and will become the baseline for your community.
Tip on an article: 5 ways of getting to know your community members better
Step 4: Measurement
Creating, managing and reviewing a strategy requires you to capture the relevant data, break down large chunks of it, plan, prioritize and capture the relevant information. Data is POWER. The more information you have, the better equipped you are to update your community activities and strategy. It is important to keep in mind that every community has its own metrics. There are probably unique elements in your community that you'll want to measure, as these will generally lead incrementally towards your overall community goals. Don’t forget to measure what matters! Read more in the article What to Measure in Your Community?
If you don’t have measurable value, then you don’t have a budget - and if you don’t have a budget, then you don’t have a community. You have to show measurable value in what you are going to do in the community.
Step 5: Action plan
You have all the data, you know your community purpose, vision, and values; you know your members, you have identified the shared purpose and you have set goals and decided what to measure. In other words, you should be able to describe the current state and the desired state in the future. Now it is time to create an action plan and think about the individual steps needed to reach your final destination. The last step in the process of strategic planning is to think about how many people and what budget you will need for all these activities. Best of luck!
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