5 Signs of Great Communities

A great online community is one that stirs up your imagination and gives you the opportunity to be as creative as possible. It should make you feel inspired, energized and eager to share your ideas with others.

5 Signs of Great Communities

Communities are everywhere, engrained in business, sports, school, interests, and hobbies.

A successful community allows its members to engage with a topic/brand, build connections with like-minded people, and provide opportunities exclusive to the community.

I believe communities are beginning to take center stage, and that they will become the catalysts behind massive-scale projects. Alexis Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit, predicts that “more than half of the top-500 publicly traded companies are going to have a chief community officer” within five years. This prediction sets a high bar for communities, leveling their value at the C-suite. Communities are not slowing down anytime soon!

With so many communities, you should be looking out for problems within their structure that are key signs for a flawed system.

Here are the 5 areas to consider when searching for a community...

Content

Great communities give people useful information or access to resources that they can't get anywhere else.

That could be a newsletter or a list of relevant job postings. The content has to be high-quality and specific to the interests of the community.

Poor quality or unaligned content shows a lack of credibility or worse, effort from the organizers.

Negativity/Spam

When you are an active member of a great community, you feel energized and creative.

You feel like you can contribute and share your knowledge with others. There is very little negativity, the members are friendly and helpful when answering questions, and your participation in the group makes you feel good about yourself.

When the members are using the community engagement as levers to sell or spread negativity, run!

Engagement

The more people you get to engage, the more exciting things can happen.

Community members should feel personally involved with one another and with the site itself. Members should feel welcome to communicate openly with one another, both through private messages as well as public posts.

A lack of engagement isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, but it could simply be the response of members who don't seem to resonate with the content. This becomes a problem if you don't see change over time.

Feedback

A community that functions well has systems to provide feedback.

Feedback leads to learning, which allows communities to improve themselves. This includes ways for the members to tell the leaders what they want and ways for the leaders to tell the members what they are doing and share progress.

Lacking a system to provide regular feedback will likely fail to address the community’s needs.

Topic

Communities not only use their niche to attract new members but also as a way of retaining value for current members.

The best community for you will depend on what you want and whom you want to be with. Look for targeted topics, experience levels, and specialization when evaluating a community.

Diversification can be good, but without a clear niche, you might not find the right people.

The Right Community is Out There For You

A great online community is one that stirs up your imagination and gives you the opportunity to be as creative as possible. It should make you feel inspired, energized and eager to share your ideas with others.

If you see these signs in a community, you can be confident that you're in the right place.


If you enjoyed this essay, give me a follow for more on startups and community: