Keeping the masses after Community "Rocket-Launch"

(Andrej Raider) #1

Hello everyone! :slight_smile:
After a long time I am submitting my first question to you and hope somebody can give me some advice.

In the past I gathered some experience with building up communities from “zero” to medium-size (but active) communities. Doing so, I always followed a similar process: Start with a few people and go bigger, day by day.

Now, I am involved in an exciting project, in which it is expected that the traffic on the community platform will be very big at Day 1 (due to marketing activities) and keep increasing.

I am aware, that there have been so many communities that started big, grew fast, but eventually died even faster.

I would like to learn from your experiences: If you know that you´ll get e.g. 1000 new people per day on your platform (and you can´t give them all a personal welcome message), waht would you focus on first? What are typical mistakes that one should try to avoid?

I´m thankful for any kind of advice or case-study :slight_smile:

Best Regards from Germany,


(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hi @Andrej_Raider – great to see you back.

I can’t offer any advice that’s based on personal experience, so these are just a couple of thoughts.

The reason for starting small is to foster strong relationships between the community members, which is hard to do en masse. I wonder if you could find a way to form cohorts so that people could still have that experience.

Do you have the opportunity to launch to a small beta group before the mass influx, or is it too late for that?

(Andrej Raider) #3

Hi Sarah, thanks for the warm welcome!

By forming cohorts you mean having multiple sub-communities from the beginning? I will discuss this with the group, not sure if this might be an option (from a technical point of view).

Indeed there will be some sort of a Beta with maybe 100 People, maybe less, but afaik it will be just for testing-purposes, to check if the platform functions propperly, and I believe there won´t be enough time to actually build something like a core-group within this short testing period (maybe a week). I´ll definitely mention that point and maybe we can extend it but since I am just one out of many steakholders it is quite likely that it won´t be changed. Thus I am already trying to think of ways to deal with a rocket-like community-launch.



(Sarah Hawk) #4

I do. Not necessarily technologically segregated, but perhaps inducted and then nurtured together so they form relationships and a sense of community – something to keep them connected and coming back.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

Actually, @caleb.love1 has a very similar challenge to this one. He is trying to control a launch so that the community keeps its integrity, which it seems to me is what you’re trying to achieve too.

It might be interesting for you two to swap notes.

(Caleb Love) #6

I’ve found fast launches to often feel like a cross between the wild wild west and the running of the bulls.

Training a strong support team on the backend and tapping into the existing networks of relationships are two keys for us. While we can’t form relationships with so many people that quickly, we thought we’d develop a “Group Manager Program” to take advantage of existing ones from other teams.

Here is just one of our many examples:

  • Our call center needs to deflect research support calls.
  • Our 11 regional 4600 smaller physical research facilities need to collaborate on best practices, communicate with headquarters, and get support for their facilities. The volunteers in centers also happen to love doing research and often have downtime or need support for patrons coming into their facilities.

During the beta, we make Research Support and Center support “Group Managers” (mini-community managers), we work with the HQ team overseeing centers to tap into their network of center directors and volunteers we can quickly get the word out to them, get them to help us seed with discussions and content we want and then after we can seed the community and spin off a center support group. HQ can better share information, and the centers will already be in the community receiving the info in their newsfeed because they like tinkering with research. there will also be a large base of people already in the community who can answer questions when the community goes public and the masses start flowing in (we have a fairly large org).

So for us it’s training “Group Managers” and partnering with different areas of the org that have already built networks of existing relationships. We don’t have to welcome every person, the center team can do it, and already know them.

That is just part of our world. Can you give us some additional information like:

What type of community are you trying to build? What kind of governance structure are you putting in place? What kind of strategies are you using to prepare the community?

(Piper_Wilson) #7

I don’t know if you’ve already launched or not but I’d like to suggest that you not underestimate the ability of people to bond when they’re working toward a common goal.

As I understand beta testing, you’re looking for bugs. Part of that involves using the product as intended. I see no reason why your beta testers can’t start bonding with each other as a core group while they test.

(Nick Emmett) #8

Throwing my two pence in the ring - who’s on your team for such a potentially large community?

I would say you need to be eagle-eyed watching out for those people who are engaged and keen to add value. they will need nurturing, build relationships with them, help them spread the word, get them on the team. Within the masses then you have ambassadors who are also looking to help people add value and help others, help them build their netoworks and connect with people.

What keeps people coming back?

Look for ways that you can do those two things and show others that people are getting it too.