In this episode of Masters of Community, we have an exciting and intense debate between David Spinks and Richard Millington. Rich is the Founder and MD at FeverBee, a community consultancy that has helped over 290 organizations develop thriving communities. He believes that the core purpose of a community is to give people the right information, while David argues that the purpose of a community is to receive and offer help to others they share problems with. Other points in between these extremes are also discussed. The debate will help clarify what community means to your business, how to create a community outside of the “information sharing” purpose, and the correct stats to optimize your community operations. The best part? Our moderator Jen balances the otherwise intense debate with her funny audio effects. Who is this episode for?: Business and nonprofit community managers and analysts. 3 key takeaways: 1. Why do people join a community?: Having a sense of belonging is a great consequence of finding high-quality information in a community. While both are important, they don’t have equal importance. Therefore, you must focus on great information first through customer journeys in their business community, as initiatives to build a sense of community only last while there are budgets for them. A sense of belonging comes from having your problems heard, finding people who have the same challenges as you, and feeling like you are a part of the product-building process. While people don’t actively look to belong in business communities, businesses that provide that feeling will have an upper hand. 2. How to measure a sense of belonging?: Ask simple questions about value, safety, and relationships in the community to help understand the ethos of the community. Understand that the role of creating a sense of belonging is only one of the roles that the community will play in members’ lives. 3. How do you build a community outside the information exchange paradigm?: Relentlessly providing high-quality information quickly helps make your business community a welcoming place where members feel included. Beyond that, to sustain engagement, a sense of purpose in the community is important and will help them see it as a place to receive and create value for others. Understand the different types of communities that can exist and use that to clarify the purpose of your community. What other things should your users be able to take away besides information? Notable Quotes: 1. “A community is never going to be homogenous..as we know, a lot of the time people come for information at first, and then they start coming back more because this starts to become a place where some percentage are going to become more and more invested. Very engaged in the community” 2. “You might use [customer] journeys to make sense, especially at the newcomer phase, but as a full model, I don't think the data supports [the commitment curve model] in a predictive way. I think people jump around all over the place. And it's far messier than what we think”. 3. “I don't think you can build community without investing at the core of really making sure that the people who are creating value feel connected, feel connected to the purpose, feel connected to each other. That's what's going to motivate them to show up every day and create that value for all the other members who are just there to consume information”.
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