Monday, November 19, 2012

Plan And Start: Your Online Community Plan

Looking to build an online community? Do not start blank. Research shows that many community development plans were either impractical, irrelevant or do not exist. It is extremely important to have a plan before embarking on a community plan.

Today, let us discuss few pointers that should be kept in mind while making your online community plan:

    1. Choose a Leader
Elect a leader who would take care of your end to end online community plan Explain him the job deliverables of what and what not he is responsible to do within his tenure and jurisdiction.

    2.  Define your target customers
Discuss with your online community manager and construct community personas by including data like demographics, habits and attitudes, marital status, education level, annual income and others.

     3. Start targeting
Once you have your online community personas, start targeting them. Begin with those having the most social and online presence and then spread the message as quickly as possible.

     4. Attract them
Prepare a value proposition to offer to people. It should be attractive enough to make them join your online community.

     5. Retention policy
Plan out an engagement program before any of your member loses interest. Assign a pre-registered member to explain about the community process and engage members to ask question and have interaction.

     6. Community activities
Make plan for short term community happenings and keep members updated. Keep the feeling alive that they are part of something and re contributing towards a cause.

     7. Growth
Decide whether you want your online community to be exclusive or massive. Having a clear idea of this would help your community members to promote and grow the community accordingly.

     8. Launch pad
Where do you want to launch? This is the most important part. It typically starts with forums, mailing lists, newsgroups and others. But once you choose the platform you need to explain why.

     9. Prepare Content
Try to stay at least 30 days ahead of publishing. Have a content calendar and plan for content creation.

    10. Measure results
Are you able to measure value of the online community? Discuss with your members what metrics matters to them and include them in your analytics.

This might seem like a lot to take on, but setting up for success is probably the most tedious part of this process. Once you are up and running, just make sure to have someone to keep running it smoothly. So what are you waiting up, just plan and start your online community. 

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