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What’s the purpose of your online community?

Now think about this. What’s it really about?

Are you limiting the perceived value of your community in the way that you introduce and talk about it? If you are in a support community and talk about it as such, you might for example be limiting it to users who visit only when there is a problem.

Rather, you should be asking your users who come there how they are planning to scale their use of your product. Are you giving them tips for how to expand its value throughout their enterprise? Are you asking them about how the product can help them to advance their career by becoming a product evangelist? Are you offering incentives to provide innovative uses of your product?

There’s an entire value chain that your community could serve while you’re “just” offering support. Consider the much deeper usefulness of a community that helps your customers to accomplish more than their goals by learning how to make the most of your product.

Once you’ve done that, next consider how calling yourself a community manager is limiting your own career options. What value are you really providing? Is it merely management of communities? Where else are your skills applicable?

Categories: Online Communities

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