Community Club Weekly
Issue #57 | January 7th, 2021
Community Club Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community managers.
Building good customer personas is one of the first and most integral parts of the product development process. Without a solid foundational knowledge of who your best customers are, what motivates them, the challenges they face, and what goals they have, you'll have a rough time trying to build an enticing and functional product. These personas should represent customers, decision-makers, buyers, and users, and you need a well-rounded understanding of these individuals in order to build the best product.
Persona development largely relies on market research, site/product usage data, surveys, and user interviews from customers and non-customers. This is a time consuming process and at times it may be difficult to find enough people willing to respond. It's also common to spend thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars on market research firms or tools that offer semi-reliable data at best. But it doesn't have to be this way!
Enter: community. Your community is made up of your most passionate customers, who actively use your product and want to form connections directly with your company and other people who also use your product. They are reliable respondents who are more willing to freely provide feedback and answer any questions you may have--while product managers may struggle to receive 1-2 responses from every 10 people they contact, community managers can expect 5-10 responses from their engaged community members. Since they are already using your product you know their behavior and that they are one of your personas and a good representation of the type of customer you want to target.
There are other downsides to traditional persona development outreach when you don't have a community to turn to: if you have to send emails to unclear segments of customers you will see minimal return, potentially harm the standing of your email domain if too many people unsubscribe or mark as spam, increase email fatigue for your company as a whole, or even awaken "sleeping" customer service issues.
"But how is a community member different from a customer?" you may ask. It's sort of like how a square is a rectangle but not all rectangles are squares. There is overlap, but important nuance: community members are invested and passionate about your product outside of everyday product usage. Sure, customers use your product, but community members spend additional time (likely their free time outside of business hours when they're not even using your product!) and energy devoted to connecting with you and other customers.
You can glean critical persona insights without even having to directly ask community members for feedback. Community members may share relevant information, content, or resources within your community space without your prompting, they may have casual conversations with other members about their challenges, goals, and motivations, or they may reach out on their own to your community manager to initiate conversations and share thoughts.
Using your community to source data around your ideal personas ends up being more reliable, faster, and less expensive than traditional research methods (though having a few different data sources is still important). This extra piece to the persona puzzle will leave you wishing you had incorporated community into your business from the get go.
Upcoming events, from the club and its members.
New Public Festival - January 12th-14th
Community Club Hangout - January 14th @ 5PM ET
What are your favourite communities that have cohort-based onboarding?
Chuck those vanity metrics in the bin! Focus on data that actually shows the value your community is bringing to your business.
How does your team support proactive moderation?
Community blog posts and articles from the past week.
Are "wide open" community spaces going the way of the dodo, or is it purely an issue of managing content discovery?
By Michael Silberling
A great primer for building communities, with a look at many of the different community platforms that are out there. Fair warning that there's an affiliate link at the bottom of the post.
By Jay Clouse
Moderation is a hot topic this week, and especially important for voice chat platforms that happen in real-time with very few ways to moderate conversation.
By Tatiana Walk-Morris
A handful of job opportunities sourced from the community.
Community Moderation Manager @ Scratch Foundation
Community & Program Manager @ aspect43
Director, Social Media & Community @ New Relic
Director of Community Management & Engagement @ Slip.stream
Head of Community @ Mattermost
Community Manager @ Teachable
Director of Community @ Remote