Who kills a community? A member never does that. A stakeholder will never do that. Is it You? The Community Manager? In fact it is you.
Most of the stale, dead and pale communities have a strong community manager – a personality so strong, it overpowers the community. Like a tough teacher who never lets the students talk no matter what.
In 1999, my score in Mathematics dropped from 92/100 to 29/100 in just six months! Did my teacher ensure I failed? No, she tried to make me understand everything, every day, relentlessly. Then, how?
In her efforts, she never allowed me to grow on my own. She wanted me to succeed and forced me every minute; just like pulling a plant every day to ensure it grows faster. The plant will die. I bet my salary. And I failed! Thank God, those were interim exams.
That is what most of the community managers do. They force the community to grow by adding more and more members every day, without ensuring those who are already there are gaining value. More fancy events, more empty forums and more blood. Community starts to look like a buzzing market where members are zombies because they do know where they are, and what are they doing there.
Like the coach said to Forrest Gump, “The secret to this game, son, is no matter what happens, never, ever take your eye off the ball.” Likewise, let’s roll back to basics – a member-focused community is what one needs. Create a family – do not create a market.
Feed the members what they want to gorge on. Don’t sell products. Sale will happen when members want to buy. The first step is to make them talk about the product, rally around the concept and adopt the brand. Today’s market is social and customers decide what sells not the producer.
Don’t sell products, buy members. Don’t sell the community, buy members.