Become great at community strategy
Build and scale a thriving community
Course length: 2h 52min
Some of the companies that train their teams at CXL:
Master the strategies you need to build a highly engaged community
As people crave deeper connection in today’s digital world, communities are more important than ever. A brand community has become a powerful tool for strengthening your organization and creating highly engaged brand advocates. But most marketers skip the most important step — the strategy.
This course will help you develop a successful community strategy, from scratch, using the best practices from today’s leading communities. Get the resources you need to launch, quickly reach a critical mass of activity, and scale your community to its full potential.
Don’t just wait and hope members will show up
Most community efforts flop because they fail to understand what truly hooks members and keeps them engaged. The “build it and they’ll come” approach might work for your local park. But it isn’t enough to build a thriving brand community.
This course will help you overcome that challenge by teaching you the step by step process of developing a magnetic community strategy. From audience research to building detailed member personas, and selecting the right platform for your audience.
Avoid costly mistakes of launching a community without a strategy, and set the foundations for sustainable growth.
After taking this course you’ll…
- Have a comprehensive member journey that captures newcomers, ensures they engage in your community, and nurtures them into top community members.
- Know the different technology platforms you can use, and set up the right one to match the needs of your audience.
- Be able to use deep research techniques to build detailed member personas
- Create a content and activities plan to boost discussion and turn top members into top contributors.
- Transform your member engagement with powerful psychological rewards
- Develop the perfect community platform to maximise engagement levels.
- Avoid other common pitfalls by developing a comprehensive community strategy
Get to the why and find your community sweet spot
Building a community is a balancing act between what the brand wants, what the community wants, and what members want. Go too far in any one direction and you’ll end up with a ghost town or struggle against the ‘engagement trap’.
This course teaches you a framework to evaluate and balance the needs of your organization with those of its members. You’ll identify the right goals for your community, and develop a unique positioning strategy to help your community stand out.
Learn the tried and perfected processes that have helped build booming communities at organizations like Facebook, Wikipedia, Sky and Lego.
This course is essential for you if…
- You’re launching a new community from scratch and you’re feeling lost, you’re not sure what you need to do or even where to begin.
- You work for an organization that needs to scale its customer support and success efforts.
- You’re managing a community but don’t have a clear strategy in place or vision for the future.
This course is NOT for you if…
- You’re a social media manager looking for more clicks, likes, and shares on the standard social media channels.
- You’re creating a blog, content site, or another platform which doesn’t allow member-to-member interaction.
- You have a strong track record in delivering successful online communities and are looking to upgrade your technical skills (UX, Design, programming etc…)
Richard Millington is the founder of FeverBee, author of 3 books on communities, and speaker at community events around the world.
Over the past 13 years, Richard has helped 310+ organizations, including Apple, Facebook, Google, The World Bank, and SAP use powerful psychology to build thriving communities. Through his community management academy, he has also trained 1250 of the world’s top community pros.
Your course curriculum
This first lesson covers the basic framework for developing a strategic plan for your community.
- Learn the five elements that form the kernel of community strategy and why each is needed for a community to succeed.
- Understand the key decisions you have to make to complete each of these five sections.
- Why you need to create a one-page strategic plan to share with others.
Learn to identify the potential goals for your community, how to set them, and why your goals should be really specific to the people you're working with.
- Learn what makes communities are unique from any other type of activity (content creation, PR, blog, social ads, social media etc..)
- Identify the key financial and non-financial goals your community can achieve and why you might need to use both.
- How to engage stakeholders and get detailed feedback about their needs. The more specific you can get, the better your goals will be.
Discover a series of techniques to determine who your members really are and how you can satisfy their needs.
- Learn the most important thing which draws people to a community and keeps them engaged.
- Understand how to identify segments from your member data and discover what each segments really wants.
- Discover how to build detailed member personas. These will form the basis of all your targeting and promotional efforts later in the course.
A community must finely balance the needs of the organisation against the needs of its members.
- Learn the different types of communities you can create and which is right for you. Each type can guide you down a completely different community path.
- Turn your community goals into specific member behaviors. Get really specific about what you need members to do to achieve your goals.
- Evaluate the feasibility of each behavior to identify the right goals and behaviors for your community.
Your community faces a number of competitors and substitutes. How can you perfectly position your community in the minds of your members and offer the benefits they need to stay engaged?
- Learn to analyse and evaluate the competition for your community to ensure your community isn't fighting a losing battle.
- Develop the right positioning for your community in the minds of members. What will make your community stand out? What are the unique benefits you should emphasize?
- Align every action you undertake to suit the positioning of your community. This covers your content, events, activities, and more.
It's critical to select the right community platform if you want to thrive. There are hundreds of option to choose from and new platforms emerging every day. How do you select the right platform your community?
- Determine what category of platform you need before selecting one. Like choosing a car, each category will lead you down a completely different approach.
- Learn to make an accurate membership projection which will guide your platform selection choice.
- Understand how to put together the uses cases to decide from a small shortlist of options which platform is perfect for you.
Most communities suffer from horrific retention problems. It's not uncommon for most members to disappear after making a single post. This is because there isn't a detailed journey in place which takes members from first becoming aware of the community to becoming a regular, active, member.
- Learn the psychology behind community retention. There are different reasons from why people join a community to why they consistently participate.
- Identify the unique sources of growth for your community and ensure you have a sustainable source of new members.
- Learn how identify every touchpoint your members have and create a detailed journey map outlining every activity members will take from the very first message to regular participation.
It's critical in the early stages of your community effort to reach a critical mass of activity. If you fail, your community will never take off. However, a 'big bang' launch isn't the right solution. Instead you need to launch fast and keep growing.
- Learn how many members you need in your community to reach a critical mass of activity. It's probably less than you think but you need to work harder for each of them.
- Understand the 'fast launch' approach and how you can stagger your promotional efforts across a series of weeks to develop your community.
- Develop a promotional plan for the three pages of a community launch and prepare all of the materials in advance to make the community thrive.
Every community eventually relies upon a small cadre of top members to keep things going. The real challenge is learning how to identify, nurture, and build a program to support the top members of your community.
- Decide how many superusers you need and what you need them to do. This should match your community goals to ensure they're delivering the most value.
- Identify the right criteria for your superusers. You need to ensure you're attracting the right people to join and participate in your community.
- Determine the rewards they will get and how you will run the program. Each type of reward leads to a very different set of actions on your behalf. Don't assume your top members only want tangible rewards.
Engaging community members often doesn't seem like a particularly difficult thing to do. Yet there is a lot of complexity, psychology, and nuance in how you engage any audience. If you don't use the right words or overcomplicate your message, you're not going to get the results you want.
- The five elements you can use in every single message to engage members. This will ensure members feel better about themselves and each other after each interaction with you.
- How to create discussions with a high 'emotional payoff'. Stop creating 'what do you think?' discussions and start creating discussions members actually want to respond to.
- How to communicate persuasively with your members by simplifying our messages and avoiding the common mistakes.
Launching a community entails certain risks. It's important to identify the most common types of risks and how you can prevent or mitigating the impact of each of them. Some of these risks are mild, others are show-stoppers.
- Be able to identify the most common legal, reputational, and personal risks you might face when launching a community. Knowing the risks is the first steps to mitigating them.
- Learn to evaluate the severity and likelihood of each of these risks. Depending upon the type of community you're building, there are very different categories of risk involved.
- Develop a mitigating plan to prevent each risk and assign to an 'owner'. This becomes a living process which keeps you, your organisation, and your community safe.
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