The Importance of Strategy
Let’s start by bursting a bubble: communities don’t often start running by themselves as of day one! In fact, it usually takes 6 to 12 months until the community starts running on its own, instead of the community manager doing the majority of the work.
Since both your time and energy is limited (and the resources for community management are often limited in the beginning!), you should determine what to focus on and where you should put all your effort in. This starts with setting up a strategy that should eventually turn into an action plan.
Another important reason for setting up a strategy is probably to please your management 😉. But in all seriousness, it’s vital to write down what you want to achieve with your community and to recognize when you are on the right track and are achieving your goals. This is the best way to determine if your community is generating value as it should. This will also help present your community value to stakeholders and management.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t change your goals/strategy along the way, but it makes changing your goals a well-thought action.
There are tons of ways to structure the process of creating a community strategy. The one that we use for our consultancy service is an approach supported by FeverBee, a well-respected online community consultancy. They have an extensive amount of research on communities, including articles, videos, training manuals, and other materials. The content below will be based on both their materials and our own community experience.
Other interesting sites with useful information on community building and strategy are listed below: