• Sarah Robinson

Are You Too Vague About Your Community?


Me: What’s your goal for your community?

Them: We want a lot of people having a lot of conversations.

Me: Right. So how many is “a lot”?

Them: Ummmm……

I wish I could tell you this kind of conversation was the exception in my work. Unfortunately I have some variation of it almost every day. Businesses, organizations, and brands all want a big, active community. When their community doesn’t look like that, they call me.

One of the first things I do is get a picture of how they define a successful community. I want to get at what their goal is . I press them for specific details and that’s when the “ummmm’s” start. They haven’t thought of community goals in specifics, only in vague generalities. And that is why their community isn’t making progress.

Here’s a leadership truism I learned years ago: if your goal is vague, your outcome will be vague. Make your goal clear and specific and your outcome will be clear and specific.

How do you know if your community goals are vague or clear and specific? Here are a few checkpoints to get you started:

– Can you describe the ideal candidate for your community (not your company’s target market, but a specific ideal candidate for your community)?

– Do you know what your community members specifically want and need from a community experience?

– How do you measure success? What specific, measurable markers will you hit when your community is successful?

– What specific actions to you want your community members to take?

– What will you do to encourage these specific actions?

– What are your 30, 60, 90 day benchmarks?

Bonus checkpoint: Who, besides your community manager, is aware of any of these goals and invested in achieving them?

If you can clearly and specifically answer all of the above questions, you are crystal clear in the direction you are leading your community. And your ability to make it successful will be one million times easier.

If your answers to these questions are vague and can’t be measured, you’ve got to take hold of the tiller and set a clear course. Without it, your chances of success are slim to none.

Is your community goal clear or vague?