I remember when I first took on the task of managing AssociationSuccess.org. In trying to fathom the role, I concluded – quite simply – that my job was to keep the conversation going.
“Easy enough,” I thought to myself. After all, if anyone has ever sat next to me at a dinner table, they know conversation is something I hardly run short of.
It didn’t take long to realize that there is so much more to managing a community, especially in its early stages. “Keeping the conversation going” is certainly part of creating a community, but really only a small part.
Think back to a really good party you’ve attended. When it was at its peak, and everyone was gathered and in high spirits, perhaps there was someone who was entertaining the guests. Maybe they collected everyone together to tell a good story.
Now that is keeping the conversation going.
But what about everything else that went into making that party happen? It had to be carefully planned out. A guest list was created and invitations sent out. Now what about decorations? Food? Music? And that’s all before it even began! How did they make sure guests were entertained throughout the night? What did they do to build momentum with the first people who arrived to an empty home? And oh man, Billy and Joe both showed up and those two just don’t get along.
Seems a little daunting, doesn’t it? The good news is that if a party is pulled off successfully, then everyone walks away a little better off.
And that is why we build online communities. They have the potential to add tremendous value to our members for so many reasons. They also allow people to ask specific questions, share and learn from each other and, perhaps most importantly, connect with likeminded individuals.
If your members were getting all of this, would their annual renewal even be a question?