Build Communities For The Long-Term

When you’re going through the process of developing a new communities, one question you need to ask yourself is how long the community will live.

If the community is built around a time-sensitive event or product, with no contingency plan in place once the product or event’s promotion cycle has ended, you should give serious consideration to whether you should even create one to begin with.

Communities are meant to thrive and build steam as time goes on. New members will join, and others will leave. But over time the community will grow.

This is a point that Online Community Consultant Richard Millington touches on in a new post about how to know when an online community is successful. He looks at BravoTV’s habits with its online communities.

It gets worse, BravoTV ritually abandons communities with the rise and fall of each show.

My point isn’t to demonise BravoTV so much to highlight that much of what is considered good community practice bares so little relevance to what makes a community a success.

Ritualized content and standardized platforms do nothing to help a community, they might even prevent a community from developing a unique identity

I understand why BravoTV does this with online communities that are tied to TV shows. They come and then they go, replaced with something completely different. The excitement and opportunity around a show is contained to when it’s on the air, and when it goes off the air, the excitement shifts to something else.

So BravoTV is a unique example of this that might be eligible to get a ‘pass’ on this activity.

But for other companies and brands, creating an online community for a single purpose with an expiration date hinders your ability to build a useful and meaningful community because you’re always conscious of the day when the community is abandoned.

Photo credit: Flickr/Chris RubberDragon