Creating a Powerful Community Strategy for the Future

What makes a community strategy successful? Implementing a powerful go-to community strategy is paramount for engagement and growth.

What you'll learn in this article:

  • List item 1
  • List item 2
  • List item 3
  • List item 4

What makes a community strategy successful? Implementing a powerful go-to community strategy is paramount for engagement and growth.

This guide delivers actionable insights to develop and refine a community strategy, tailored to your group’s needs and your organizational goals. Embark on shaping a dynamic community, grounded in solid strategy and practical applications, all laid out in the following sections.

Key Takeaways

  • A successful community strategy is based on a deep understanding of community needs, which involves identifying demographics, and their motivations, and utilizing community feedback for product or service improvements.
  • Platforms like Disco offer comprehensive features such as sophisticated automation, AI Co-Pilot, member onboarding, channels, forums, and member categorization, which are essential for building, managing, and scaling an engaging community.
  • Measuring community success involves tracking key performance indicators, analyzing community ROI, and adjusting community strategies based on data insights to ensure alignment with community needs and organizational goals.

Why Do You Need A Go-To Community Strategy?

A Go-To Community Strategy or GTC is a comprehensive plan that identifies and meets your community's unique needs. It involves understanding member demographics and motivations, engaging and retaining members, and measuring success with key performance indicators.

The strategy is adjusted based on data insights, aligning with organizational goals, and balancing value creation and capture. It's the roadmap to cultivating a thriving, engaged community that contributes to organizational success.

In addition, you need a go-to community strategy to build a successful online community. Think of it as your blueprint, your roadmap to success. It's an integral tool that allows you to understand who your members are, what motivates them, and how you can best engage them to foster a sense of belonging and commitment.

Community members collaborating on a project

Furthermore, without a well-defined community strategy, you're navigating uncharted waters without a compass. You risk missing out on valuable opportunities for engagement and growth, and you run the risk of not meeting your organizational goals.

Therefore, a Go-To Community Strategy is not just desirable, but essential for building a thriving, engaged, and successful online community.

GTC vs GTM: What's the Difference?

While both a Go-To Community Strategy (GTC) and a Go-To Marketing Strategy (GTM) are essential in the digital marketing field, they serve different purposes and have unique features. The GTC is primarily focused on building, engaging, and maintaining a vibrant community, while the GTM is aimed at promoting and selling a product or service.

While both strategies are crucial for a successful online presence, they cater to different aspects of the digital landscape. Here is a comparison table to visualize the differences between the two:

An Example of a Go-To-Community Strategy (GTC)

Let's consider a software development company that has created a new project management tool. Their GTC might involve:

  • Identifying their community: They might target project managers, product owners, and team leads in the tech industry.
  • Creating a dedicated online platform: They could develop a forum or use existing platforms like Slack or Discord to facilitate discussions and feedback.
  • Engaging the community: They could host webinars or live Q&A sessions, share blog posts and tutorials, and encourage community members to share their experiences and tips.
  • Monitoring and evolving: They would track metrics like active users, engagement rates, and feedback, and adapt their strategy based on these insights.
An Example of a Go-To-Marketing Strategy (GTM)

Now, let's consider the same company's GTM for launching the project management tool:

  1. Market Research: They would first conduct extensive research to understand the market demand, competitors, and potential barriers to entry.
  2. Target Customer: They would identify their target customers, which could be small to medium-sized tech companies.
  3. Pricing and Positioning: They would set a competitive price for their product and position it as a user-friendly tool designed to streamline project management tasks.
  4. Sales and Marketing: They could use online ads, content marketing, and partnerships with influential figures in the tech industry to promote their tool.
  5. Distribution: They might choose to distribute their product directly through their website or via software marketplaces like G2 or Capterra.

Top Challenges in Community Strategy Development (+Solutions)

Creating a community strategy resembles setting off on an exciting journey. However, like any adventure, it comes with its set of challenges.

Diverse group of community members engaged in a discussion

Top challenges in community strategy development include aligning with organizational goals and balancing value creation and capture. Understanding these challenges is not only important but also empowering, as it allows you to anticipate potential roadblocks and devise effective strategies to overcome them.

Aligning your community strategy with organizational goals guarantees that your community endeavors aid in the complete success of your organization. It’s like aligning the wheels of a car to ensure a smooth and efficient ride.

Conversely, balancing value creation and capture resembles preserving a healthy ecosystem. It ensures that while the community continues to create value for its members, it also captures enough value to sustain itself.

Aligning with Organizational Goals

Aligning your community strategy with organizational goals is like aligning the stars for a successful journey. It ensures that your community efforts contribute to the overall success of your organization.

When aligning community benefits with both organizational goals and member desires, it is crucial to refer back to personas and prior research. This understanding allows the organization to tailor the community strategy to serve members effectively while simultaneously contributing to the organization’s broader objectives.

How to Solve?

To tackle the challenge of aligning your community strategy with organizational goals and balancing value creation and capture, it's essential to clearly define both organizational objectives and community needs.

Create a roadmap that highlights how community initiatives contribute to organizational success. Ensure the community is creating value for its members through engaging content, opportunities for networking, and personalized experiences.

Disco, an all-in-one community platform that creates personalized learning experiences and allows you to organize both community-wide and product launch events is a popular go-to software solution for online communities. Use Disco's learning suite to diversify your community products and download member reports later on to track your KPIs.

By doing so, you can ensure you are executing the roadmap that you've created to align the community's goals with your business.

Balancing Value Creation and Capture

Balancing value creation and capture in a community strategy is like maintaining a healthy balance in an ecosystem. It ensures that while the community continues to create value for its members, it also captures enough value to sustain itself.

Value creation within the realm of an online community pertains to the act of generating value for the members of the community. Meanwhile, value capture involves obtaining profits or advantages from the generated value. This value creation can lead to self-managing communities where a community functions without a leader or a manager. It runs on its own by the members or a system you built in place.

How to Solve?

A community manager can effectively balance value creation and capture in a learning community by implementing the following strategies:

  1. Creating a learner-centric learning environment
  2. Supporting stakeholders including learners, instructors, alumni, and community members
  3. Focusing on building strong customer relationships to actively create and capture value from those relationships.

Manage your members seamlessly with Disco's member management tool. Feel free to create groups and subgroups, customize member profiles, and create directories in an all-in-one place--the Disco platform.

How to Build a Go-to Community Strategy (+How to Apply)

Step #1: Understanding Your Community's Needs

A successful go-to community strategy begins with grasping the needs of your community. It’s like a compass, guiding your strategic decisions and helping you navigate toward a thriving and engaged community. In fact, it can become your go-to community strategy for consistent growth and engagement, while also supporting your go-to-market strategy.

Recognizing community members involves more than just identification; it also includes comprehending their motivations and aspirations. Revealing these motivations allows you to mold your community strategy to match their needs, fostering a profound bond and commitment. This is what makes your go-to community smarter and helps you proactively compete in the market.

Identifying key demographics

Pinpointing key demographics resembles drawing an intricate map of your community terrain. It helps you understand the varied contours of your community and develop tailored content and engagement strategies that resonate with the distinct characteristics and preferences of various segments within your community. This, in turn, fosters positive sum relationships.

Demographics from Investopedia

When classifying demographics within a community, consider factors such as:

  • Age ranges
  • Geographical locations
  • Interests
  • Needs
  • Preferred methods of community engagement

These factors can guide you in designing effective community programs that cater to the unique needs and preferences of different member segments, which in turn helps companies proactively compete in their respective markets.

Moreover, segmenting members in surveys plays a crucial role in enabling a comprehensive review and analysis of responses based on different member segments. This allows for a deeper understanding of each group’s distinct needs and informs the customization of community strategies to effectively address them.

Discovering members' motivations

Revealing the motivations of community members equates to discovering the key that opens your community’s heart. It enables community leaders to effectively cater to member needs and desires, thereby nurturing a strong sense of belonging and loyalty, and providing opportunities to reward participation.

There are several effective methods for discovering the motivations of members in an online community. These include:

  • Gaining a deep understanding of your audience
  • Providing diverse and valuable content
  • Acknowledging and incentivizing members
  • Leveraging gamification for engagement
  • Utilizing surveys, focus groups, interviews, and assessments

These methods can help in converting members into paying customers.

Moreover, behavioral analytics can provide insight into the pages visited by members, their progression through those pages, and any obstacles encountered. This offers a valuable understanding of their behaviors and motivations, which can be useful for existing communities to improve their strategies.

How to Apply?

Start by developing insightful onboarding questions for your new members and conducting surveys among your existing ones to gain a deeper understanding of their needs, challenges, aspirations, and reasons for joining your community. In essence, you need to conduct comprehensive market research with your community members and validate your assumptions with the data you gather.

For simple quantitative and qualitative surveys, consider using tools like Google Forms or Typeform. For more in-depth discussions, consider using video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meet for interviews. Lastly, you can integrate your onboarding questions directly into the community experience with Disco's custom onboarding feature.

Step #2: Engaging and Retaining Community Members

Engaging and retaining active community members can be likened to watering and tending to a plant, guaranteeing its growth and flourishing. By providing valuable content and encouraging collaboration and networking, the community team can foster long-term relationships with your community members.

Offering valuable content, such as enabling members to post questions and share resources, helps to sustain ongoing conversations. The posting of user-generated content (UGC) fosters trust within the community. Moreover, collaboration and networking are instrumental in driving community engagement through various events. Influencers and brand ambassadors play a pivotal role in promoting participation through personal interactions and leveraging their social media platforms to endorse events.

Providing valuable content

For online learning communities, valuable content encompasses a variety of resources such as:

  • live lectures
  • recorded videos
  • ebooks
  • supplementary materials
  • blogs and podcasts

Moreover, students have the opportunity to discover or contribute pertinent articles, blogs, videos, and documentaries related to the subject matter.

Creators can develop an engaging and sustainable community for their online school or business by:

  • Producing interactive content to captivate learners
  • Sharing expertise and skills
  • Promoting learners to share their personal experiences to cultivate a sense of belonging

By understanding the value the community provides, defining engagement goals, encouraging activity, and consistently delivering valuable content and resources, you can effectively deliver valuable content in an online community.

Encouraging collaboration and networking

Promoting collaboration and networking among community members equates to crafting a robust and vibrant fabric. Each thread strengthens the fabric and adds to its beauty. Networking offers numerous benefits to a learning community, including:

  • Valuable guidance from experienced professionals
  • A sense of belonging
  • Celebrating wins with like-minded individuals
  • Access to different perspectives
  • Career opportunities
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Skill development
  • Mentorship
  • Collaboration
How to apply?

When starting an online community, you can begin by using different online tools that are not in one place. Some popular tools are Notion, Google Suite, Zoom, Miro, Slack, Discord, etc. These are all useful, however, it could be time-consuming and inefficient if you want to scale your community because you need to manually connect them or integrate them.

The smartest community managers chose to use a complete all-in-one community platform like Disco where they can put everything they need in one place instead of hustling with different tools. Disco is the most trusted software of well-known and successful communities today such as Dribbble, AltMBA, Learn Biomimicry, and YSpace Accelerator.

Maximize Disco's live event features to enhance your community engagement and promote networking activities.

Step #3: Measuring Community Success

Assessing community success is akin to monitoring your community’s health. It provides essential feedback on the health of your community and helps you refine your community strategy. Essential components for monitoring community success include:

  • A robust community dashboard displaying current results and forecasts
  • Tracking community ROI
  • Identifying precise metrics through analytics tools such as CommonRoom and Orbit.

Measuring outcomes and tracking progress is crucial for refining the community strategy and ensuring its continuous evolution and improvement over time.

The impact of a community is typically assessed by measuring the achievement of desired outcomes and analyzing spending behavior before and after joining the community. Data challenges, including access, organization, and customer profiles, are often addressed by developing models or conducting workshops to clarify goals.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Key performance indicators (KPIs) serve as a compass, guiding you toward your community goals. They help you evaluate the effectiveness of your community strategy and identify areas for improvement. Key performance indicators for an online community strategy encompass:

  • The number of weekly and monthly community entrants
  • The percentage of new members completing profiles
  • Member sign-ups
  • Engagement rates
  • Member Activity
  • Traffic
  • Engagements
  • Conversion rate

The success of an online community can be assessed by tracking the number of members/followers gained and lost, monitoring their participation, measuring reach, and evaluating the effectiveness, shareability, and uniqueness of user-generated content.

For managing a learning community, vital KPIs to track include utilization, completion percentage, course effectiveness, engagement, and impact. These KPIs provide valuable insights and support informed decision-making, which are essential for instructional design teams.

Explore how to craft your Community Engagement OKRs to ensure you are on the right path for your community and business.

Adjusting your strategy based on data

Essential metrics that should be monitored to adapt your community strategy include analytics for identifying crucial data points, as well as engagement metrics like monthly active users, likes, comments, and posts.

Data can significantly impact adjustments in community management strategy by providing insights that improve brand visibility, enable personalized and targeted services, and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Consequently, this leads to a more aligned strategy with the community’s needs and expectations. Typical indicators that suggest the need for adjustment in a community strategy include unmet key performance indicators (KPIs), milestones, and benchmarks, lack of community diversity represented at events, and failure to achieve desired growth or a decline in customer satisfaction.

How to apply?

Determine why analytics is an indispensable part of a flourishing online community. Harness the capabilities of technology and automation to generate reports, monitor progress, and measure your community engagement OKRs. These measures are essential in ensuring the efficacy of your community strategies.

Disco offers a comprehensive analytics tool and a member progress report feature to help you optimize your time in collecting and interpreting your community's data.

Building a Community Strategy with Disco

As for constructing a community strategy, Disco serves as a multipurpose tool for every online community. It’s a comprehensive platform that supports various aspects of community management, from fostering engagement and attracting new prospects to gaining valuable insights into the target audience.

Selecting the appropriate platform for building a community is a crucial step in the process. When evaluating a platform like Disco, consider the following:

  • Determine where the community will be hosted
  • Establish methods for upholding community standards
  • Identify which community-building tasks can be delegated externally
  • Ensure that the platform possesses the necessary technical framework to efficiently support the online community

Disco Platform Capabilities: From Automation to Community Engagement

Disco is more than a platform; it’s a resource kit packed with sophisticated automation, streamlined member onboarding, Slack integration, AI Co-Pilot, discussions, and the ability to categorize members according to their preferences and needs.

These features make it an ideal choice for community managers looking to foster engagement, attract new prospects, and gain valuable insights into their target audience.

Disco facilitates user engagement within the community through its Community and Engagement features such as channels and forums. These features not only provide a platform for members to connect and interact, but they also cultivate a sense of community and belonging, which is crucial for the growth of any online community.

Become an Expert in Community Building with Learning Community Playbook!

The Learning Community Playbook, crafted by Team Disco in collaboration with industry experts, is a comprehensive guide that provides valuable insights into building and managing a thriving online community. This playbook traverses through key components of community building, from understanding your community's needs to effectively engaging and retaining members.

It also delves into measuring community success and addressing challenges in community strategy development. With its practical advice and actionable strategies, it serves as a roadmap to aligning your community goals with your organizational objectives and balancing value creation and capture.

Download the Learning Community Playbook for free and embark on your journey to building a successful online community.

Supercharge Your Learning Community

A step-by-step guide to build and grow a thriving learning community.

The Learning Community Playbook by Disco

Wrapping Up...

To wrap up, building a successful community strategy is like crafting a masterpiece. It involves understanding your community’s needs, identifying key demographics, and discovering members’ motivations. It also requires engaging and retaining community members, measuring community success, and managing challenges in community strategy development.

By aligning your strategy with organizational goals and balancing value creation and capture, you can ensure the continuous growth and success of your community. So, ready to take the reins and steer your community toward success?

Start your 14-day free trial with Disco and apply what you have learned while using the platform! You can also start with our interactive product tour to get a firsthand experience of the platform without signing up.

Published on
December 28, 2023
Previous chapter
Chapter Name
Next chapter
Chapter Name
The Learning Community Playbook by Disco

Supercharge your community

The Learning Community Playbook delivers actionable insights, innovative frameworks, and valuable strategies to spark engagement, nurture growth, and foster deeper connections. Access this resource and start building a vibrant learning ecosystem today!

Ready to start building your community?