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The best community concepts are aligned to an existing motivation. They help us do something we already want to do.
The BJFogg model is a good way of talking about existing motivations.
Most organizations develop a community about themselves. They’re shocked their precious members don’t want to talk about them.
If members are visiting, but not sticking. It’s usually a concept problem.
Base your concept around one of the six core motivations:
If you can identify the specific activity members like to do within the topic, it’s easier to build a community around it.
People use the HuffingtonP ost to complain about Republicans, Wikipedia editors have 40,000 word discussions about grammatical rules, GAIA Online members talk utter gibberish (for 1.6bn posts), 4Chan members try to antagonize each other.
You can pinpoint the single things prospective members like doing and develop an entire concept around that.
Most customer service communities are based around solving a pain.
The challenge is to pinpoint specifically what your audience is most interested in and build the entire concept around that interest.
BackpackingLight is a terrific example. It’s not a community about travelling or backpacking, it’s a community about having the lightest possible backpack. They identified the single core pain and developed an entire concept around it. Homebase developed an entire community for people that want to get into gardening, not the seasoned experts.
You can ask members about their biggest challenge and build the concept around the answer.
Many communities in the advocacy, health, and personal improvement sectors are based around hope.
People participate in the FitBit community to improve themselves, likewise with the BodyBuilding forums. You can ask members what they want to achieve/be in the future and create the concept around that.
Community organizers used hope to build a community. They asked people what they wanted to achieve, identified common themes, and worked towards achieving them.
You can build communities around things we’re afraid of/afraid of happening. CancerConnection ensures people won’t go through cancer alone. HomeEnergyPros helps those worried about new technology/regulations in the sector.
You can ask members what they’re most afraid of and develop a concept to resolving that.
You can build communities for the desirable peer groups we wish to be accepted within. Ask prospective members who we look up to and create exclusive communities for this group.
Diageo built a community for the world’s top bartenders. We built a community for the world’s top community professionals. Andrew built a community for the top eCommerce professionals.
There’s always a market for an ever-more exclusive groups.
Social rejection is harder to build a community along. Ask prospective members who we consider our peers and build a community for those groups. Very often, nothing will already exist.
Many of the existing small, successful, groups on LinkedIn/Facebook are based around this. You can go large too. ModelMayhem is the definitive place for models in the USA. If you’re not a member, you’re probably not a model.
Aligning any topic to an existing motivation.
Any topic can have a variety of possible concepts. Imagine you’re building a community for HR professionals.
You might build a community for HR professionals to share their funniest or most memorable stories. This would be innately pleasurable.
You might build a community for HR professionals to discuss a single big challenge they face.
You might build a community for HR professionals to change something in their sector or acquire specific skills.
You might build a community for HR professionals to tackle something they’re most scared of..e.g giving feedback to their boss in effective ways.
You might build a community for the top HR professionals or those with a high levels of experience.
You might build a community for HR professionals in the topic.
If you want to get immediately better at building communities, get the concept right. Get a concept that’s attached to an existing motivation. You will find members convert into active participants more easier.