community growth (22)

Switching community platforms is one of the riskiest things you can do. The benefits are usually minimal and the dangers are colossal. Unless you picked a terrible platform initially, changing a platform won't help you much. If you want a better community, it's rarely a new platform you need, it's a new and better approach to community management.
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Your employees probably aren’t keen to help you build a community. It’s more work for them. It’s not even in their job description. If you force them to get involved, you’re going to get the minimum effort. So don’t force them, addict them. Here’s a few ideas to get your employees involved in building your community.
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The biggest influence upon whether a newcomer becomes a regular (after their first contribution), is the speed and quality of the response to their first message. If they don't get a response within 24 hours, they're gone. Give priority to ensuring newcomers (the people with a 1 post count) get a quick response.
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The goal at this stage isn't to persuade members to create an online identity for the community. Don't ask any questions that don't relate to the name, e-mail, and password. The goal is simply to get them through this stage and back to participating.
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In the first visit, members need to see something they want to participate in. Too frequently we focus upon getting members to read. That's easy. Getting them to participate is more difficult.
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How do people hear about your community? Do you wait for people to join or approach them? The biggest influence upon someone’s likelihood of becoming a regular participant is their level of interest in the topic.
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Your goal, and the goal of every community manager, is to progress their community through the lifecycle. If you achieve this, you maximise what your community can be, the benefit it brings to your organization, and the benefits that members gain from the community.
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If there is one single thing every community manager should know about communities, the lifecycle is it. 

Using the lifecycle you can identify exactly where you are now and where you need to go next. 
In this series of posts, we're going to explain the full online community lifecycle.

 The maturity phase of the online community lifecycle begins when members of the community are generating 90% or more of activity/growth, and there is a limited sense of community.
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If there is one single thing every community manager should know about communities, the lifecycle is it. 

Using the lifecycle you can identify exactly where you are now and where you need to go next. 
In this series of posts, we're going to explain the full online community lifecycle.

 The establishment phase of the online community lifecycle begins when the community has reached critical mass.
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A writer, lecturer at Stanford University and frequent speaker, Nir Eyal's specialty is educating companies and consumers on habits and behaviors that help and hinder their lives, both online and off. In talking about what traits apps need to "hook" users, much of his information was directly relevant to building communities that keep members coming back .
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We all gather in interconnected clusters. You’ve probably seen a cluster map somewhere. Think of it like social groups in a playground. Friends gather in circles of 8 to 12 people, but one of those people might have connections to another group of similar size.
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Everything between the moment you establish the objectives and the moment you begin doing outreach to your members is the conceptualization phase. This is when you decide who you're targeting, what the community will be about, what type of community it will be, and how you get it going.
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Sometimes new members do find their way to your community. Sometimes they do invite their friends. Sometimes you don't need to do much work to make this happen. It's probably not a good idea to bet your client's fee on 'sometimes'. A better approach is to think of tactics and a process to stimulate growth.
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Types of Community Growth

How you persuade new members to join a community isn't as interesting as why you are persuading new members to join a community. Making a community bigger won't necessarily make it better. In fact, evidence suggests that making a community bigger will decrease the level of participation. It gets noisier, harder to follow and less personable than it used to be.
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Too many communities focus on advice or industry news when they should be focused on community people and activities. The best content for any online community is content about the community. Here are 20 content ideas you can use.
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Every few weeks, Ning invites a leading expert to discuss trending topics and best practices for community management. Watch the recordings here.

More than two million people have built a branded social network on Ning. Many of these customers now enjoy thriving online communities. You can find a few of those success stories here.

Learn what it takes to thrive and see what it is possible to achieve with Ning.


Growing a thriving online community is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Our goal at Ning is to make building a community dead simple. We provide an incredibly reliable, popular, and easy-to-use platform so you can focus on cultivating your community.

Learn how to launch your community in minutes.

Have you considered monetizing your community? Download your free copy of Monetizing Online Forums by Patrick O'Keefe to learn what methods are available, how to implement them, and how you can benefit today.