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How to Cut Losses in Your Online Community

Stats about your online community are valuable for an important reason: They let you know what’s not working. Finding out that a campaign or idea didn’t turn out as you planned isn’t appealing, but it’s important. It’s better to realize what isn’t panning out and try something else than to waste time and resources to keep a failed idea going.

Not every case of low turnout or negative reaction is a reason to cut bait and run, but it’s good to know when to breathe life into a lagging campaign and when to give up the ghost. Here are a few signs:

  • If the same topic gets little or no response every single time, bag it. Create projects, conversations, and campaigns on the subjects that folks respond to best.

  • If sales of a particular product or service are dismal no matter how much you push, promote, or discount it, face reality, and drop the campaign.

  • If you’re not receiving a response to community-building efforts on the social networks, analyze your content there to figure out why. If all you do is tweet links, for example, you’re spamming, not building a community. If outreach on a particular social network isn’t working despite repeated efforts, put your effort into the networks that are working while you figure out a new strategy.

Admitting that something isn’t working doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. It’s better to implement new ideas and find out that they’re not working than not to try anything new at all.

Pay attention to your stats and feedback. They give you extremely valuable insight into how new members are coming into your community, and what they’re doing once they get there. Learn from both the campaigns that are working and those that aren’t turning out as planned.

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