There are many important elements that go into building a strong digital community. One of the most essential features is the timing and cadence of communications to new members. Like any new relationship, friendly, romantic or otherwise, the beginning few months are usually the most intense, when people involved are learning about each other and starting to build a joint trust. The launch of an online community is no different and must be coupled with a high frequency of communications. These can include everything from emails, Facebook messages, direct Twitter messages, phone calls, etc. Once the relationship has been established and members are engaging on their own, frequency of communications can begin to level out.
Strong, well-planned communications at the launch of a program achieves the following goals:
First, they directly impact the degree of success the program is able to deliver. The initial cadence increases uptake and participation, delivering a lift that will last the length of a program.
Second, they begin to build a solid relationship with community members, setting the tone and expectation for the community. If you join a community and then don't hear from the organizers for weeks or even months, interest and trust will nosedive.
Third, they keep your community and its purpose top of mind with your members. This is especially important when launching a community, to make sure that members keep coming back and are interacting instead of signing up and abandoning ship.
Fourth, it provides you an opportunity to add value to members immediately. Value can be added by sending links to resources on topics members are interested in, and provide updates on new community initiatives and planning.
Are you currently launching or managing a community? Do you have any communications tips to share?