You shouldn’t compare your online community with other online communities. It will only distract you from making a success of your own. It doesn’t matter how large other online communities are, you can still compete. Jealousy is a destructive pastime. It can be a great motivator, but a terrible time waster. In any case, are you really sure that their community is ‘better’ than yours?
Never play the numbers game
The numbers game is a mug’s game. Here are some scenarios why:
That community has 5,000 members – yours has 50
That community devised a competition rewarding those that ‘referred’ the most members. Most members simply registered a number of new accounts themselves under their referral ID.
That community has 50,000 posts – yours has 500
That community is full of abuse – abuse breeds abuse. It gets the post count up – but is that the kind of content you want?
That community gets 20,000 visitors per day – yours gets 500
That community could be spending large sums of money on attracting new visitors rather than cultivating and developing the community and its existing members. A community takes time to develop – people take time to bond. Existing, entrenched members are the key to developing ‘community’. On that note, I will finish off with:
That community has a beautiful site design and unique, expensive additional features
Forget the technology. You are developing a community of people, not machines.
If, despite these scenarios you are still jealous of your competitor(s), it’s time to really focus in on your community. Forget about numbers – focus on the community experience.
Consider the following:
- What do your members love best about your online community? (Do more)
- What do your members dislike about your online community? (Fix)
- What are the most popular sections of your online community? (Develop)
- What are the weaker sections of your online community? (Improve)
- What do your members want? (Act)
Competitors are your best friend
Competition is healthy. Competition helps you focus on your community. If you don’t look after your members they will go elsewhere. Be aware of your competitors and keep an eye on them, but don’t copy their every move. Your online community needs to be unique. Focus on what your competitors aren’t doing. You need to add value to your online community – you can’t do that if you are too busy putting yourself down and wasting your energy on jealousy. Besides – your community should be unique, so do you really have ‘competitors’?