What doors does your community open?

Recently I’ve been thinking about communities in terms of member transformation.

Ie - they enter into your community as ‘one person’ and they leave ‘transformed’.

Here’s a little visual I created.

I know I always struggle to communicate the benefits of joining a community, often I fall into the trap of describing the features instead of the benefits or value. After a conversation with a friend the idea of ‘doors opening’ has stuck with me as a way to think about the benefits of the community.

These doors that are opened can then be pitched to community members as a core reason to join.

For example, in this tweet is this response:

In communities of practice, (which is what I’m most familiar with), a core benefit are the opportunities to advance your career at a faster pace than without the community. This could be down to the network you build, learning opportunities, simply job posts being shared or a million other reasons.

Whatever it is, the community deserves credit for facilitating advancing people’s careers and we need to educate our members of the indirect but very interconnected ways that community truly makes a difference.

I wonder if asking the ‘what doors has this community opened?’ question to your community would be a good way to survey your community in addition to gaining inspiration on how to promote and market your community better?

Thoughts, experiences or ideas anyone?

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I love this.

On a personal level from the perspective of a community member, communities have been transformative for me.

I’ve lost weight with the help of a community.
I’ve become a better runner with the help of a community.
I’ve actually been able to reach people I’d never reach without a community. I’ve spoken to high level CEOs of major brands who have a team around them to stop people being able to speak to them because we share a passion and ended up on the same community.

Community is the great leveller. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what your drive or what your job title is - we all come together to geek out on a shared passion.

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This is one of the most powerful things about community for me - you can connect with someone, even if they’re a high-powered exec who wouldn’t ordinarily have time for you, purely because you both think ewoks are cool.

Asking what doors your community opens is a great way to define your community strategy and also get an idea from your members what value they find in it. A great question to ask ourselves as community builders as well as in community surveys.

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Thanks for making me laugh.

And also, yes, to this question being useful for a community strategy. I actually want to start a discussion separately around how to create a community strategy, I feel many of the old ways are not so relevant these days.

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