3 tips from Mr Miyagi – Building online communities
You might not think of Mr Miyagi as an expert building online communities. He is an expert in people.
Community is all about people. No matter what your focus, there are always other people interested in the same thing. In business, we aim to solve a problem for those other people. Within a social sciences framework, communities exist for like-minded individuals to gather and exchange ideas about their interests. Increasingly, businesses are recognising the benefits of maintaining a community, which can aid in their problem-solving mission.
Building a community around your business is not as simple as opening the doors with a one-off tweet or email invite. While growing a big community takes a lot of hours, here are some quick tips on how to build a strong foundation for your community based on Mr Miyagi’s sound advice to his young protégé.
When establishing a new community it’s important not to try to be all things to all people.
While like-minded individuals will have the same broad interest, they all have different experiences, motivations, and niche interests within the broader topic. A vintage car fanatic is not necessarily looking for the same kind of idea exchange in a motoring community as a high performance vehicle enthusiast.
You trust the quality of what you know, not quantity
You don’t have to know everything to build an online community around your business. You just have to know how to do the basics well.
Instead of asking your entire contact list to join your new community, target quality influencers in your industry that you have developed a relationship with and who would be genuinely interested in the community. Invite them to join as first users. These influencers will guide the quality of community conversations and position your community and your business as an industry leader.
First learn stand, then learn fly
To build a thriving community, start with a few specific niches. Concentrate your resources there first.
In a music community, you could build features and the user experience around songwriters. By concentrating your efforts on a specific group and listening to their needs, you can build a strong group who will form the community’s core users.
So, remember, wax on, wax off, find balance, and don’t forget to breathe.