Why Slow and Steady Wins the Online Community Race - dummies

Why Slow and Steady Wins the Online Community Race

By Deborah Ng

Online communities aren’t set-it-and-forget-it affairs. Though the best case scenario is to achieve steady, organic growth, the truth is, it doesn’t happen overnight. You may be frustrated at first because you have only a few members at a time and your employer may not think your community is growing quick enough, but the truth of the matter is that very few overnight success cases occur.

A slow, steady growth can give you a better idea of who your community members are and help you tweak your online tools accordingly. A mob scene doesn’t give a community manager the opportunity to get to know members on a more personal level. It’s important to know exactly who is in your community, for several reasons:

  • You can tailor content and social networking to meet their needs.

  • You’ll be able to offer the most appropriate types of promotions.

  • You can write the types of content they want to read.

  • You can easily work out discussion topics when you know who you’re talking to.

Something else to consider is the experience of a community manager. This isn’t true for every case, but sometimes it’s easier for a new community manager to learn and grow with the community. If you’ve never managed a community, perhaps a crowded community scene isn’t the place to start. A slow, steady beginning will allow you to get your bearings and learn as you go.

When a community is built around a mob, the mob rules. When a community starts out slow, there’s more mutual respect between the members of the community and those in authority. The rules are established early, and there’s no power struggle between the community and their moderator.

Does this mean you have to wait five years to see good results? Absolutely not, but instead of hoping for overnight success, work on bringing in a steady stream of new members. In time, it will almost seem as if the community is growing itself.