How a robust Community Grid can improve performance

Over an interactive session with us, Mr. Arbab Usmani from UppSkill, one of the oldest community builders in India, came up with a new concept that is sure to revolutionize the community industry in India – Community Grid. 

Arbab’s Lunch With LMCM Session introducing the concept of Community Grid


What is a Community Grid?

A community grid is a framework to keep track of your community type, platform, align them with your goals, and an important tool to measure your content and the value it adds to your member community.

What are the components of a Community Grid?

  • Community Type
  • Channel & Platform
  • Goal, Mission & Vision
  • Research
  • Rules
  • Value
  • Members
  • Content

Let’s take a look at each of these components in the light of community management.

Community Type: The first and foremost component of a community grid is the type of community we are trying to build. For example, it can be a business community of credit card owners, or a leisure group of dog lovers or might as well be a professional group of digital marketing enthusiasts, determining the community type is the very first step towards building a community.

Channel and Platform: Choosing the right fit channel/platform for your community for maximum engagement is crucial for community growth. The media to be used can vary from text only to images and text, to videos and text, to a mixture of all three, and hence the scope and nature of community interaction are determined by the channel and platform one is going to use. If you are not using your built-in platform, then Facebook is by far the best social media platform to build and engage your community due to the wide interactive tools(image, videos, live videos, comment and likes tracking, and other analytics and insights) it offers for a member community.

Goal, Mission, and Vision: Once you choose a platform, it is necessary to align your goal, mission, and vision with the channel or platform to be on the same page. Let’s say for an ed-tech platform the ultimate goal can be to educate the community on the lines of technology so that they enroll for that ed-tech company’s course. 

The mission is more specific and short-term and in this case, can be to educate 1 lakh students on digital marketing. Your vision statement encapsulates the long-term purpose of your activity or business, which can make learning fun, inclusive, and accessible to everyone in your area/state/country.

Research for insights: More importantly in similar communities, research generates insights that might be beneficial for your community. You can perform a SWOT analysis to gain a competitive advantage. Keeping track of comments, engagement threads, what kind of content engages more is a part of the research process.  

Let’s say your competitor dog community has started a thread where they announced cash prizes for the best picture with your pet. Instead of doling out cash prizes, you can recognize the winners of the photo contest in some other way because recognition at times is a bigger incentive than monetary rewards. So continuously tracking, researching your competitors’ activities, and finetuning your selling strategies for your business within a community is a must. 

Rules:

Rules are super important for managing activities in the way you want. Setting aside rules for your community members can be of two types. 

Said rules: The rules which can be clearly laid out and are against the community guidelines are called said rules. They can range from bullying to using abusive language.  

Unsaid rules: The rules which cannot be explicitly stated in the community guidelines are called unsaid rules. For example, if a user is spamming telegram links or posting irrelevant items not congruent to your goals and theme, you can suitably lay down punitive measures for such posts. Similarly, posts that add value to your community’s purpose can warrant rewards to motivate the members of the community.

Value addition through posts: This can be understood under the two subcategories:

Frequency & Timing: Hitting the sweet spot in terms of the timing of your post is absolutely crucial in driving engagement. This is a process that can be perfected only by continuous tracking and experimentation. Generally, 8 pm-10 pm and 10 am -12 am are great times to maximize engagement or see a spike in activity. Similarly, whether you need to post multiple times daily or every alternate day is something you can figure out after a fair number of hits & trials and building a publishing calendar out of it.

Types of Posts: Consumers come for the content but stay for the freshness and innovation in the types of posts. So, it is crucial to rehash and re-invent your posts to avoid monotony and drive engagement. Again, building a posting calendar around the types of posts can help achieve much-needed clarity in community building.

Member types: Once the initial components of the framework are set up, it is important to establish the relationship between the members and the content The member types can be broadly categorized as:

Enabler:

The moderator or the admin of the community is also called the enabler. The enabler is often the highest contributor in the initial days of the community formation. As an enabler, it’s his/her role to drive the sleeper to become the engager and the engager to be the pusher.

Sleeper:

 The members who are chiefly inactive and dormant are called the sleeper members. A good hack to induce activity in these types of members is to let’s say publish a thread that there will be a clean-up in the community posts and the sleepers spring to life. Other ways to induce activity in sleepers can be to announce exciting contests or prizes or tag them in posts.

Engager:

Engagers comprise your loyal user base who actively like to post and stay engaged with other members of the community.

Pusher:

Pushers are the members that actively push the content of all types to stay ahead of the rest of the members. They are ahead of the engagers in terms of bringing out fresh topics or content formats in the community thread and are persistent in driving content. Pushers or engagers eventually go on to become enablers in due course of time. It is important for the enabler to maintain a working relationship with the pushers to maintain fluidity in the community.

Content Generation: Let’s face it! It’s tough to consistently post engaging posts. Content can be categorized into filler content(quantity) and relevant content(quality). High-quality content like podcasts, webinars are instrumental in spreading word of mouth and acquiring new members, and building your community. 

On the other hand, filler content like polls, news feed, and interesting trivia can be used to retain community members and instill that air of freshness when content starts to feel regular and mundane. The relationship between content and members needs to be constantly tracked and worked on for the community to grow productively and influence your business positively.

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