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Welcome to Community Hub: your go-to companion & guide

Over the years, we've had the privilege of partnering with hundreds of companies. Leveraging our extensive experience and in-depth research, we've put together this page to equip you with the essential steps and practical tips for building your very own digital community.

Community Framework

The Amity Social Cloud Community Building Framework is a comprehensive and constantly evolving guide for building and maintaining an online community. It covers all aspects, ranging from initial planning to successful launch, ongoing operations, and effective monetization strategies. The framework highlights the importance of understanding your community's goals and purpose while ensuring value is delivered to both users and the business.

1. Planning

Plant the right seeds

Communities that lack a clear goal or mission are set up to fail from the start. To avoid this, we recommend using our WHY, WHO, WHAT, HOW method to clearly define your community mission.

2. Community operations

Use the right nutrients

Not only do you need the right seeds, but you also need to nurture your community with the right team to ensure a strong start to its growth process.  Make sure you understand the stakeholders you need and get them prepared.

3. Launch & adoption

The budding plant

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Planning a successful launch with a seamless user experience is vital for community success. In this section, you'll find metrics and strategies to create awareness, attract members, and drive activation within your community.

4. Creating an engaged space

From budding to blooming

After the initial onboarding of users, it may seem challenging to encourage engagement among community members. But it doesn’t have to be.  By diversifying your engagement strategies, you can improve your chances of success.

5. A thriving community

Flowering plants

To build a self-sustaining and lasting community, you need to recruit, recognize, and give responsibilities to your power users.

6. ROI and monetization

Fruits of labor

Learn how to effectively track the success of your community and its impact on your business. Discover strategies to monetize specific aspects of your community for direct revenue generation.

4. Creating an engaged Space

From budding to blooming

After initially onboarding users, building engagement among community members can sometimes feel challenging and overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be.

By implementing the powerful strategies of ritualized content and initial activation highlighted in Section 3, you’ve already established a strong foundation and can expect a certain level of engagement from your users.

Key Points
While it's important not to have zero involvement from the business side within the community, you also don't want to go overboard. It can be tempting, as a business, to be part of every conversation and provide quick responses to users. It's crucial to allow the community some breathing space.

But here's something to consider: when admins and moderators of a community jump in too quickly to answer questions, it might discourage other members from sharing their thoughts and insights. From their perspective, once an authoritative voice has spoken, it can feel like the end of the discussion.

This is why finding the right balance is crucial. It's important to step in and engage with users when needed, but also give them space to express themselves. By being mindful of this, you create an environment where everyone's voice is valued and conversations can flourish.

Simplify, simplify, simplify

Before you start exploring engagement strategies, content types, and campaigns, it's crucial to remove any obstacles that might hinder user engagement. You need to create an environment where every user can easily participate and contribute without any barriers holding them back.

Simplifying the user experience through intuitive design will result in more users being exposed to your community. This can be achieved by:

• Making sure community is in your main app or website tabs
• Highlighting the “join” button for users
• Previewing community content on the homepage of your app or website
• Simplifying community actions as much as possible (editing profiles, posting, joining a group, etc.)

It's important to simplify the content aspect as well. Ensure that your content is relevant and easy to engage with by:

• Including clear descriptions in community groups along with instructional posts to guide users
• Incentivizing user-generated content, too many posts by the business can be overwhelming
• Making sure content fosters discussion, is informative or entertaining, and is visually pleasing
• Making sure content is up to date and keeping up with popular trends
• Humanizing your brand by sharing stories of challenges, and successes and providing employees with a soapbox.

Trial and error

Trial and error are integral to community building. Sometimes, strategies that you think will engage users may not turn out as planned, and that's perfectly normal. When a strategy isn't delivering the expected value, take a step back, and be open to changing or adapting it.

When adapting strategies, it's beneficial to examine not only your content but also the call to action. Instead of always asking members to “like or comment below”, consider inviting them to create their own posts about a specific topic or share a relevant image or video.

When you find something that works and clicks with your members, it will be as easy as “rinse and repeat” to keep that engagement going!

Create exclusive opportunities

Make your community the ultimate hub for exclusive content. By offering gated access to specific content for community members, you enhance the allure of joining the community, enticing more individuals to become part of it.

Remember that the more relevant and desirable the content, the higher the likelihood of persuading members to join your community. This can include exclusive highlights or interviews for sports platforms, special guides and worksheets from industry experts, helpful PDF resources, engaging webinars, or interactive Q&A sessions.

Recognize & reward members

By recognizing the contributions of actively involved members, you empower them to continue and even expand their contributions. Just a little recognition can go a long way in motivating and inspiring community members. Celebrating with your users is vital for fostering a positive community atmosphere and contributes to the overall well-being of your community.

It’s important to think out:
How can you celebrate small and big accomplishments in the community?
How can you highlight or recognize group achievements within the community?
What can you do to highlight or recognize individual achievements or contributions within the community?

These can be accomplished through various methods, such as pinned posts in communities, shoutouts, swag giveaways, community leaderboards, badges, and even granting exclusive access to upcoming or premium products or content.

Diversify engagement strategies

It's important to understand the different types of users in your community and how they engage with it. Some will be highly engaged power users, while others may be lurkers (content scrollers and readers who only view and barely interact in the communities). Most members will fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

Each user brings their unique level of engagement, influenced by factors like comfort, time availability, and knowledge.

It’s normal for communities to be made up of all kinds of members, from lurkers with minimal engagement to super users who are very active, modeled by the engagement staircase below.

It's perfectly normal to have a mix of members with different levels of involvement, from casual observers to super active participants. This re-imagination of the engagement ladder model by Noele Flowers illustrates the diversity of engagement within your community.

Adapt your engagement strategies to create multiple touchpoints for users, considering their varying levels of effort. Offer activities at different difficulty levels to cater to everyone's preferences.

Here are some examples of activities targeting each level of the engagement staircase:

Step 1 | Lowest engagement effort (lurkers)

Example activities:
• “Like” a post
• Enter a giveaway
• Introduce yourself
• Share information about are of expertise
• Vote on a poll
• Responded when prompted or tagged with specific relevant topic.

Step 2 | Low engagement effort (occasional contributors)

Example activities:
• Comment on ritualized post
• Ask a question on an AMA
• Respond to closed question
• Respond to an uncontroversial question.

Step 3 | Medium engagement effort  (average contributors)

Example activities:
• Create a new post in line with a predetermined norms
• Attend a webinar or workshop
• Respond to an open-ended question
• Share feedback about someone else’s work.

Step 4 | High engagement effort (frequent contributors)

Example activities:
• Ask a question to an expert, with pre-requisite knowledge
• Opt-in research or testing
• Participate in a challenge.

Step 5 | Highest engagement effort (super users + moderators)

Example activities:
• Start conversations or initiate rituals
• Give a workshop or webinar, host networking event
• Lead a community subgroup
• Tag in other members to relevant conversations
• Contribute in-depth or formal content.

Final thoughts

• Creating diverse engagement opportunities is crucial to ensure that all types of community members have a chance to participate. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy or method when it comes to community building. It's a journey of trial and error, where you explore different approaches until you find what resonates with your members.

• Recognizing and rewarding your users not only strengthens your immediate connection with them but also fosters long-term relationships. Show appreciation for their contributions and provide incentives that nurture loyalty and engagement.