If you try to explore & redefine communities, you will get to find mainly five types of communities that are presenting themselves regularly. These types are distinct from one another, yet overlap naturally in context and approach – because at their core, they are driven by the humans who inhabit them. As you learn more about these communities, try to think about your own life and identify the various communities you currently belong to or communities you are aware of and how they fit into these five definitions.
- Interest. Communities of people who share the same interest or passion.
- Action. Communities of people trying to bring about change.
- Place. Communities of people brought together by geographic boundaries.
- Practice. Communities of people in the same profession or undertake the same activities.
- Circumstance. Communities of people brought together by external events/situations.
So today we will talk about the fourth type i.e. community of practice which can also be referred to as a skill community.
So what is a Skill Community?
Definition: A skill community is a group of people who share a skill they practice and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
An example of this can be a group of marketers who practice marketing strategies & upskill together.
Now being an admin/moderator of a skill community, you need to understand what your members are expecting from you and your community. It can be anything: can be valuable content, can be networking with new people, or can be social learning.
After finding this, you can start off with a few member-oriented activities to bring out a wave of engagement in the community following a lot of patience and consistency in executing these activities as they help members in creating a habit of participation and will keep growing the community engagement higher & higher.
Let’s deep dive:
1. Create a welcoming environment
A welcoming environment will encourage new members right from day one to participate in the community. Be sure to always welcome new members, and encourage old members to participate on an ongoing basis. Make sure community members know they’re in a good space to ask their questions, share their successes and give honest feedback to you. Consistent maintenance of the group requires carefully considering how you or your brand communicates with members.
2. Curate the right content
Many community members connect through the content you share. It could be a relevant blog, funny GIF, or music video. As a community admin/moderator, it’s important that you know how to curate the right content. Pay attention to what types of content receive the highest engagement and also what members are sharing with each other.
3. Host offline & online events
You can create a sense of belonging by introducing members to a group of like-minded people in the community. And once your community is established, it’s worth hosting an online or offline event that encourages community members to network with each other.
To host offline events, you can examine the geographic details of community members and host a meetup at a relevant location where members can come, meet and get to know each other in person.
Don’t stop here. Go for Live AMA sessions, webinars, and discussion sessions to engage your online members that are living in different cities.
4. Define a mentor program
Encouraging members to engage in a virtual conversation rather than acting as a silent person comes with a few barriers. It can be the fear associated with contributing to the conversation. It can be tough for new members to find their voice in a sea of virtual identities.
Establishing a mentor program matches new members with old members. Tasking old members with engaging new members is a great way to build a strong online connection.
This includes tagging members in conversations, being there as a resource for private questions, and accompanying members to in-person events.
5. Find out what’s important to each member
Finally, it’s critical to figure out why each member is part of your community. Each member will have a different reason. The key is finding out what their motivation is and then nurturing it. Adding rewards for each level can help you in some way to take them far with you.
These are some key parameters you can keep in mind while designing an engagement strategy for your community and its members. You can tweak them on the basis of your requirements, on the basis of your community, on the basis of member persona, or simply on the basis of the values they are seeking.
As you start running a community, you will get to learn so many things in the journey itself.