HL Vanilla Connect: Strategic Community Planning Framework March 14th


Hey everyone! 👋

Great community starts with a great plan – we use a planning framework called SPAN & CARGO to help you nail down what kind of community you are trying to build and how to get there – whether you’re creating a community plan for the first time, or revisiting your plans for 2023, creating a SPAN & CARGO plan is a great way to make your strategic goals a reality.

It's so important to make sure that you have a strong strategic plan, and that's why we'll be hosting a new HL Vanilla Connect Session on Tuesday, March 14th at 2PM EST🗓

🤔 What's SPAN & CARGO anyway?

Never heard of SPAN & CARGO before, or need a refresher? Here’s a quick clip with an overview (less than 3 minutes long, I promise!):

You can read more about the basics here: 

🚀 Ready to get started?

Check out the attached planning framework:

Once you’ve reviewed the basics and done some research with your internal and external stakeholders, join us for a new HL Vanilla Connect session to learn more about the different types of communities and go deeper into the CARGO methodology. 

In this session, we’ll build out a CARGO plan together, talk about best practices and tactics for each aspect, and most importantly, connect you with peers and so we can build great communities together. Hope to see you there! 🤓

Register here:



  • Shauna
    Shauna HLV Staff

    Here is a downloadable word doc for you to complete during today's session:

    Can't wait to see you all there! 🤓

  • Shauna
    Shauna HLV Staff
    edited May 2023 #3

    We had a terrific session today, thank you so much to all who attended!

    📽 Recording

    You can find the recording of today's session here:


    Zoom Passcode: eZUm1b7.

    👩‍🏫 Deck

    You can find a copy of the slidedeck here:

    🎉 Shoutouts

    We had some great conversation today:

    @jbreunsbach talked about how posting his thought leadership content on LinkedIn and his podcast helps to drive folks to his community

    @Sasha_antonenko asked a great question about how folks are tracking where users are coming from and how they heard about community to figure out which channels are the most successful, and @jbreunsbach shared that he asks users how they heard about community when they sign up (sidenote: could be a cool usecase for the new profile fields!)

    @stefanieb asked Jeff to expand on this idea of asking community users how they heard about community, and Jeff mentioned he uses marketing automation software to survey his users about once a year -- Stef also made the cool suggestion of using our Call to Action widget to promote a user survey

    @SamanthaIsin was kind enough to share her experience holding a feedback session for their beta users, which helped her uncover that users wanted to be notified of new content - Samantha shared that she's used the approach of creating a special community email digest category and subscribing her users to that category manually (she posted about this here as well) -- Jeff mentioned they leverage RSS feeds and email marketing software to accomplish this in his community. -- You can find more notes on creating your own email digest today in this post, or check out this idea to here more about this upcoming feature of Vanilla expected in the next few months)

    @DustiO mentioned the cool idea of holding a community office hours and inviting active users to attend and how this networking gives their community users a sense of partnership, and how having a community slack channel helps drive internal engagement

    Once we got chatting about goals and outcomes as they pertain to community SPAN verticals, @Sasha_antonenko was saying how she has been hoping to learn and understand where their customers are stumbling in terms of the use of the product, so that they can take that information, feed that back to their product teams and help them develop better solutions. I thought this was a cool way to think about that product community aspect through the eyes of a support community's goals and metrics.

    @Adrienne had asked about different ways of measuring support deflection beyond accepted answers and time to answer, which I thought @annayardley answered so well in this thread. @LiselotteP raised a great point here that a pop up survey works best when it comes up after a period of time, so that folks have a chance to find what they are looking for and pole around before the pop up comes up. She mentioned that she had read that the optimal time for this was 37 seconds after being on site - which I thought was an interesting insight! Sasha had also mentioned that she uses correlation to look at forecasted support tickets, and then compares increases in specific topics in the community with specific decreases in tickets -- a great approach especially for communities that are hesitant to complete surveys

    Did I miss something cool that you all learned? I'd love to hear any cool takeaways you all had from this session! I had an awesome time chatting with you all today, I really appreciate you coming out and I hope to see you in one of our next sessions -- we'll have an open session two weeks from today, and you'll see theming and analytics focused sessions in the coming weeks. 🤓