Starting a Community / Community Launch Best Practices

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joses
joses Vanilla Bean

Hello everyone! I'm currently in the pilot phase of my community, with plans of publicly launching in early June. ๐Ÿ˜

Could you please help answer a few questions and provide any best practices you have regarding having a successful community launch?

  • When marketing your community launch, did you host an event?
    • How did you market your community launch?
  • Are there any tactics you've used or seen be used when launching that resulted in high initial engagement?
  • Other than post consistent content & interact with members, what other things does your community do?
  • How does your community utilize badges?

Any comments are appreciated! I've worked on brand communities in the past, but this is the first time launching one, so I'd love to make sure I use every best practice in the book before going live! ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments

  • Kirstie Macfarlane
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    Hi @joses - thanks for this great question!

    I wanted to share a couple of posts that I thought might be helpful:

    #QuickLaunch Engagement Tactics

    I would also recommend that you take a look at our Customer Showcase Posts, where some of our Vanilla customers have added detailed breakdowns of how they've designed their communities, including marketing, content plans, calculating ROI.

    I'm sure some of our Vanilla friends will have other good insights ๐Ÿค“

  • PiperWilson
    PiperWilson HLV Staff
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    Hi @joses,

    Here are several things I'd like you to consider.

    The first thing I recommend is not to launch with a big bang. Start slow and build up engagement in the community, experiment with tactics (i.e., build an advocacy program, invite super users, get your team participating, etc.) Then you can have a big bang relaunch.

    Remember that engagement, for engagement's sake, isn't what you want. You want quality, not quantity. Tricks to get engagement will most likely backfire. A looong time ago, I was in a community that showed the number of posts a member had created, and it was obvious that all you needed to do was create a post to move up to the next level. The next level was also shown next to a member's posts. Did I post things like "LOL" and "I like this!" to get to the next higher level? You bet I did!

    According to Carrie Melissa Jones (one of my favorite community gurus), a sign of good engagement is between 4-20% of your active members. So, if you start with 1,000 members, but only 300 are active, all you need for "good engagement" is between 12 and 60 members participating. (It's up to you to define active. For example, some use login activity alone because that shows members are returning and consuming content, while others use reactions as a minimum measure of engagement.)

    As far as marketing the community, one of the best ways and an easy lift is to have the community highly visible. By that, I mean including a link to the community in company signatures and newsletters, making sure it's on your website in more than one place, etc.

    Badges, like engagement, aren't useful if they don't mean something. As a team, you need to discover what members want to do and reward that behavior. And the reward must be meaningful to them.

    Finally, make sure that whatever you do to create, encourage, and maintain your community ties back into your company's goals. Don't guess at those goals. Have conversations with the decision-makers to find out what they want to see. Without that information, you run the risk of being seen as a cost center, not something useful.

    I know that was a lot. I hope I didn't overwhelm you.