How do you practice Community Discovery?

Questions to Find Answers / Hypothesis to Test / Steps to Complete

As a Freelance Community Builder, I often start new communities for my clients (at least I try :sweat_smile:) It wasn’t easy for me to explain the importance of Community Discovery to clients waiting for immediate actions. That’s why I’ve created a process to show them how it helps us to build our MVC.

There are still some gaps, so I want to create this post. Let’s share our Community Discovery practices here to grow together :partying_face:

PS: Two things before sharing my process

What I Understand from / How do I Practice Community Discovery

:people_hugging: Align on the purposes - Why should the community exist for the organization/person?

  • Which are the needs making you think the community is the solution?
  • What results are expected by building it?
  • How can members contribute to these outcomes?

:nerd_face: Our People - Who are our potential members?

  • Which characteristics make them a perfect candidate? (Struggles, Activities, Experience, Interests, Location, etc.)
  • Which one or two should we focus on first?
  • Where can we find them? (Other Communities, Key Words to search on Social Media, etc.)

:scroll: Mission of the Community - Community should focus on doing…

  • Which members’ need/s should we try to solve?
  • How should we meet these needs?
  • Are there any communities/routines/spaces that you say, “This is what I want to create.”

:eyes: Understanding Our People - What should we keep in mind about our people when building the community?

  • Our people prioritize which needs?

    • What kind of answers are they seeking actively?
    • Which conversations are our people engaged in?
  • What are the routines/content types/tone of voice our people prefer?

    • Sync/Async, Online/Offline, Listen/Active Participant, Time Preferences, Network/Introductory, etc.
    • Long/Short, Visual/Text/Sound, Introductory/Fun/Invitation to Share, etc.
    • Professional/Fun/Curious/Intimate
  • What values are important to them?

  • Which incentives may pull them?

  • Which platforms do they like spending time on?

  • What I do to Understand?

    • Interviews with potential members to gather insights and start the conversation.
    • Check other communities targeting the same member group to see what works there.
    • Search with keywords on Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn, and Google to find blogs, posts, and conversations.
    • Create surveys for preferences. (Needs, Testing/Collecting Routine Ideas, Resources/Thought Leaders they follow, Communities they are involved in, Platform Preferences)
    • For the Ideation process - What do other communities with similar purposes but target different groups do?

:circus_tent: Ecosystem Mapping and Positioning - Knowing who can support your mission, who you can grow with, and what is missing in the ecosystem is vital for success. I believe ecosystem players should build their own communities/ talk with each other regularly to grow the ecosystem and foster partnerships.

Build intimate relations, learn from their experiences, share your insights, and not just ask but try to find areas for mutual partnerships.

  • Communities and their focuses
  • Products, Organizations, Events
  • Thought Leaders, Content Creators

:bulb: Ideation and Drafts for MVC - By understanding our people and seeing what kind of content, routines, and branding are around, we have different options to start the community. Discovering the better version needs conversation, testing, and building together!

  • Find 20-30 people willing to build the community with you. They don’t have to spend time or work as you do. Open space for them to share their thoughts.
  • Start the conversation around your draft (Community Space, Routines and Rituals, Event Content)
  • Test your ideas by implementing them (Like inviting people for the routine and asking for feedback)

I try to summarize my process. Hope it is easy to apply and helps you in your process. Please share your strategy or comments to help other community builders and me :star_struck:

Wishing all of you the best!

5 Likes

This is really useful, thanks for sharing.

1 Like

Thanks Alex!

Happy you like it :star_struck:

This is a really wonderful foundation!

I would add a couple things to ideation (or even add a creation stage) process:

  • Create a community ecosystem map for a dream world scenario. This map breaks down in a matrix the events, conversation, and content in the community and how each of these helps members get started, get help, and get inspired. We also identify how these happen in big groups, small groups, and 1:1 interactions. Like any ecosystem, the more diversity the better!

  • Onboarding Flow: even from the beginning, it’s helpful to get a vision for where people are starting when they join your community and ideally where they would be after their first 30 days. Mapping this is valuable for 100 new members, it’s valuable for your first 5 members. Causing too much confusion because you don’t know where you want people to go or what you want them to do will cause people to leave or check out.

  • Crafting a launch plan: Even if you’re launching to five people, having a plan in place of what communication will happen when will make your life easier and create a smoother process for your members. Here we focus on the timeline, communications (who gets told what, when), and if you really want to get fancy you can overlay a habit formation framework to make sure you are incentivizing the right actions.

2 Likes

Hey @brileever

Thank you for these great insights and ideas :star_struck: Especially loved the onboarding flow and launch plan!

I’ll add these to my process. :rainbow:

2 Likes