Community building is becoming an increasingly important part of modern communications strategies. Many businesses, teams, and member organisations have made it a priority to build a community of members, employees, or customers who regularly engage with each other and the organisation. Such community building supports both internal and external communications, while helping to achieve organisational goals.
Building a strong, vibrant community is not easy. It does not happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without discipline. Intentional adherence to community principles is necessary when trying to build a completely new community, or when changing an existing culture.
Successful communities generally have three core attributes:
- Higher purpose
- Sense of belonging
People participate for a reason. They get involved because of any number of positive reasons: they love what you work on, they love your product, they feel they can make a difference or further their passion, etc. They could also be motivated by negative reasons, for example frustrated by an issue and want to unite against that common enemy.
Whatever it is that gets members in the door, try to hone in on and maximise the output of the community efforts towards that purpose. Knowing what motivates each individual and your stakeholders as a whole is extremely beneficial. Use that information to engage the member at every opportunity and to motivate the team when morale is down. It is always re-energising to be reminded of the end goal, of the aspirational vision the collective is working toward.
Sense of Belonging
It is human nature to want to belong somewhere. To have a place where everyone knows your name. Creating a space that is welcoming to is only the first step.
Maintaining the relationships and the vibe is also a challenge. Reinforcing community standards at every level at every event is probably the hardest part of building a new community. It must be a priority from the leaders of the organisation down to each member. This requires proactive intention to maintain the shared community values.
Communities need to be facilitated and maintained. Connecting people with shared interests, making every person feel welcome, sharing some laughs; doing what needs to be done to reinforce the community and behaviour. Allocating people to be facilitators of the community is a good investment.
The importance of having fun cannot be overstated! People come back if they get social satisfaction and have a good time. They will bring their family and friends. The community grows exponentially if people are having fun, because everyone wants to participate.
Fun will engage those who don’t believe in the higher purpose or cause. Fun creates deeper relationships amongst members. Fun makes doing the work effortless. Fun is the glue of your community.
Creating fun is done through many means. Competition and prizes motivate most, and having music playing in the background always adds to the ambiance. It’s not hard to maintain a fun culture if leaders and members share that value and contribute silliness themselves.
So, if you’re trying to build an engaged community, these are three tenants to consciously uphold. These can be interpreted to fit any organisation and their stakeholders, whether they be members, customers or supporters. It’s up to you as a leader to determine how these principles best manifest in your team.
For further advice on how to build and engage the community for your organisation, please contact Campaign Capital.
CGM Communications influences and inspires action through connection and the sharing of stories. We support strategic communication with the community, government and media.