Why do so many communities fail? An online community is destined to fail if there is not enough interest in the concept for the community. No one will join a community unless its concept is closely related to what they do. To create a successful community, you must have a well-researched, niche topic, preferably with a couple of qualifiers in place (e.g., a community for backpackers who want to reduce the weight of their backpacks). It shouldn't have any competition, either -- that backpacking example, already been done. And please don't go out there trying to create the next Facebook or Twilight Saga fan community unless you're approaching it from some radical angle.

Most online communities are ghost towns. An oft referenced study by Deloitte revealed that even though 6% of businesses put over $1 million into branded online community building efforts, 35% have less than 100 active members, and less than a quarter have more than 1,000 active members. The study dated back to 2008, so FeverBee took a close look at data from Brand Republic and found that out of a random sample of 875 communities, only 12 had over 100 active members -- that's just 1.3 percent. This presentation evolved from those studies as an exploration of why so many communities fail, and how to overcome the first hurdle of community cultivation -- establishing a brilliant concept.

If you get the concept right, your community will explode to life. There is a data-driven process for making these initial decisions, but I'm not about to give away the cow. Watch the video above to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of many organizations and develop a community concept that attracts high quality membership, positive engagement, and the community-driven dialogue that will inform the direction and evolution of your unique community.


For more community management best practices, download half of Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities for free, then thank @RichMillington!

Conceptualizing a Framework for Communities is the ninth in a series of Community Management Talks with FeverBee founder Richard Millington, who has spent the last 10 years mastering a range of social sciences, refining key community management skills, learning how to use and apply data, and amassing a collection of case studies to tackle every situation. Previous webinars cover topics including strategies for creating content that your community will love, generating activity, managing growth, facilitating member engagement, converting newcomers into active members, and the science behind it all. If you're not on our email list and would like to be alerted of upcoming Community Management Talks, please email Allison.

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