The first port of call is to make sure you're clear on why you're going to start a community in the first place.
What is the purpose of the community?
What will the values be?
Who is the community for?
Introducing the Community Canvas tool
A fantastic tool called the Community Canvas has a range of worksheets and diagrams to help you take these concepts from your head onto paper, and in the process formulate a clear overview to help you developing your community.
If you're pressed for time, or you have a good idea of the whys and wherefores, jump right in and fill out the 'Minimum Viable Community' template.
This tool gives you a really great overview and asks some pertinent questions that should get the conversation moving before you jump in and start building.
Sooner or later, somebody will utter the word 'strategy' .. but don't let your heart sink! It doesn't have to be boring!
The lovely folk over at Feverbee have put together an awesome course on building community strategy .. and what's more, it's free!
It covers areas including:
- Why create a strategy
- Setting goals and objectives
- Developing an action plan
- Data and metrics
- Managing change
You can also download a handy template which you can work through step by step.
I found this dovetailed well with the Community Canvas - several of the points will have been explored in the CC work, so the strategy work will naturally follow from this early work.
Calculating ROI for communities
Another great tool from Feverbee is a short course and handy spreadsheet on calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) from communities.
This covers areas including:
- Understanding value in communities
- What is return on investment
- How to measure communities
- What are the benefits of a community
- Determining costs and returns
- Working with acquisition, retention and cost reduction
- Communicating value to others
Want to read more about building a community? Check out this ultimate list of resources - jam packed with articles and resources on a range of topics!