You put all the hard work in to developing your community; you would be forgiven for thinking that it’s your own. It isn’t though – your community belongs to its members. They are the people you need to keep happy. They are the lifeblood of your community.
Always keep your members happy
Keeping your members happy is of paramount importance. If the people who make up your community aren’t happy, they will leave and you will have no community at all.
At times, your members may suggest new features or rules that you don’t entirely agree with. It is important that you always welcome feedback from your members and make any changes that are demanded particularly strongly.
As I mentioned in my article entitled ‘When members request new forum categories‘, you can always introduce new features on a trial basis and see how they work out. Even if they don’t, your members will at least see that you are listening to their opinions and valuing their participation.
Take the time to get to know your members
For your community to be successful, you need to ensure you take the time to get to know your members. This involves engaging and interacting with them and generally getting involved in discussions.
Don’t feel awkward about getting involved in light-hearted or passionate conversations – your members will be happy to see you getting involved. Indeed, many thread starters will often feel flattered if they see the developer of the site getting involved in a conversation they started.
By getting to know those that make up your community, you will be in a better position to understand their personalities, wants and needs.
The importance of understanding your members
By understanding your members’ wants and needs, you are able to cater to them to ensure they become long term community members.
You can only direct the future direction of your online community if you understand your members. If you decide to introduce new rules or guidelines without understanding your community for example, you may face a backlash.
It is only by fully understanding your community members that you can think like them. When you think like them, you have a huge advantage over your competitors who all too often will make decisions based on their own opinions rather than those of their members.