Starting a new community? Here is how to go about it

I get asked this question a lot so: Here’s the exact process I would follow if I just got hired to lead community for a new company…🧵
Note: The most common mistake new community pros make is skip right to tactics: launching forums, sending emails, hosting events… As a result they spend months building community, but spread themselves thin and struggle to prove their value. This process solves for that.
1️⃣ Set up meetings with every executive leader on the team Ask them: 1. How do you define community? 2. What are your team’s top 3 goals? 3. How do you think community can help you achieve those goals? 4. How would you like to be involved in the community?
2️⃣ Set up meetings with 20 current and/or potential members Speak to a diverse range of members with diff perspectives. Aim to understand: 1. What is their experience with the community today (pros and cons) 2. What is their hope for the community 3. How you can help them
3️⃣ Audit all of your community spaces and channels Figure out: 1. Where are members gathering today? 2. What channels are being used to communicate with members? 3. What tools and technology are we using to build community? 4. Who’s responsible for managing each channel?
4️⃣ Audit analytics and reporting systems Figure out: 1. What community data exists today? 2. Where does the data live? 3. How are we reporting on community health and business impact? 4. What tools are we using to organize, analyze, and report community data?
5️⃣ Create a v1 of community goals Your conversations with leadership + members and your audits will show you the current state and opportunities for improvement. Choose specific goals (we use OKRs) that define the future state everyone wants to reach.
6️⃣ Bring the SFD (shitty first draft) of your proposed goals back to executive leadership Go back to all of the leaders you originally spoke to. Ensure that everyone is aligned on the goals that the community team (you) will work toward. Get their thumbs up to move forward.
7️⃣ Create a v1 community strategy Only after you have clearly defined goals that align with leadership and member expectations should you put together a strategy. Your strategy should focus on three areas: 🅰 Business 🅱 Community 🅲 Tactics
🅲 The Tactical Level of your strategy will define the specific things you’ll do, day-to-day and week-to-week in order to make each program successful. These should be specific tasks like: – Send weekly welcome thread – Send weekly email – Onboard 50 members
🕐Your community strategy should be time-based. I recommend breaking goals down by: – Annual – Quarter – Month Note: Community programs will generally take 6-12 months to show measurable ROI.
8️⃣ Get feedback on your strategy Go back to leadership again and walk them through your plan. Ask them to poke holes, ask hard questions, and share their ideas for how you can improve it. Rinse and repeat until you get final sign off.
9️⃣Get to work 🏎💨 If you don’t already have a community, start small and be very hands-on with 10-20 members. You could start with the members you interviewed. If you have an existing community, focus on engaging leaders and top contributors first. Give 💯. Be consistent.
🔟 Report on your progress Create a report that you’ll send out every: – Month – Quarter – Year The report should focus on: 🅰 Business impact: revenue 🅱 Community health: engagement data + survey/interview results 🅲 Tactical learnings: what worked? what didn’t work?
🔁 Revisit your community strategy every quarter and set new Community and Tactical level goals. Try not to change it up too much within the quarter. At the least, your top-level Business goals should remain the same unless there’s big a big shift for the business.
And that’s it! You got this! 💪 Hope this helps anyone who’s just taking on community at a new company. If you have questions, hit reply or DM me. Here to help. You can also turn to the @CMX community any time you need feedback/support from other community pros.

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