Establish a personality for your community

by Martin Reed on 22 June 2007 in Snippets

Being unique is very important. Your website must be differentiated from others – what makes your site different (and therefore more attractive) to all the others out there?

Let’s say you want to establish a community about Sea Monkeys – there may already be a large, well established community on this subject. Does this mean there is no room for a competitor? Not at all – go for it, but ensure you offer something different.

Personality can be your differentiator

Do some research into your competitors. Work out what you think they could do better – check out their suggestions area and see what their members are requesting.

Did the fact that British Airways were running transatlantic flights between London and New York City stop Virigin Atlantic from doing the same? No – Richard Branson simply looked at ways they could improve upon BA’s offering, and went ahead and did it.

Your subject area may well have a good number of communities already – but you can use personality as your differentiator.

All communities have a personality

Every community has its own distinct personality. It has its own customs and rituals, its own sense of humour and its own rules.

Some personalities naturally evolve – the personality of the Just Chat message boards certainly evolved into one of a cheap sense of humour, sarcasm and light-hearted belittling!

Develop your community’s personality

You can establish a community for your website from the outset. The tone and content of your posts and articles will determine the personality of your site.

Visitors to your site will be keen to emulate your style and ways of thinking, and before you know it you will find your members adopting your style – this will then evolve into an overall personality for your community.

I hardly ever read articles about community personality – I believe this is one area of community building that is hugely overlooked. Don’t fall into the same trap – establish a personality for your community and make your site different from the competition.

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Malc June 22, 2007 at 8:33 pm

Hey Martin
Great article, just what I was looking for, having just created my first community I was looking for inspiration and tips about how to run it well. This article has really helped me a great deal

Thanks Malc

Martin Reed June 23, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Hey Malc – Thanks for your comment. I am glad to hear this article was useful for you. I hope you stick around and I look forward to reading more of your comments in the future.

Sara August 19, 2007 at 11:39 pm

Building a personality is one of the first things I am trying to do. So far it is helpful with a strong dose of sarcasm mixed in. I think that is alot like me actually :)

Martin Reed - Blog Author August 20, 2007 at 9:02 pm

Sara – I am a big fan of injecting humour and sarcasm into a community as a way of giving it a personality. Just be sure that your members understand your forum’s personality – the last thing you want to do is offend or upset them!

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