I often get asked for advice on setting up and running a community – so I thought I’d share my top five ‘hacks’ (or hints and tips if you are not a millennial). I’d be interested in your comments on these or if you have got any alternative or additional ideas.
Know your objectives: are you looking for an ‘on-tap’ resource to give you quick access to customers for a variety of needs? Or is the main goal of your community to support a specific project such as a new product you’re developing? Long-term and short-term communities require different designs.
Small can be beautiful: communities don’t always have to be huge to be effective. 50 to 100 highly engaged participants can deliver a wealth of insights on a longitudinal basis.
Incentivise everything: it doesn’t have to be a lot – but it has to be something. Small incentives for every task work much better than big prize draws
Avoid embarrassing silences: you need to keep the community ticking over to keep people engaged. If it goes dead for a couple of weeks people drift off – so make sure there’s always something going on
Don’t restrict yourself: Communities are a fantastic tool, but can often be even more effective in combination with other methodologies, such as telephone interviews or f2f UX testing