The Community Club

Louis
Louis

Posted on

How do you solve the empty land problem?

When you first start a community the community is empty with zero discussion and content. When new users come in they see it is empty they have no interest in engaging. So how do I solve an issue like that to excite news users even when there are little to no members in my new community?

Discussion (4)

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mac profile image
Mac

You definitely have to seed the content, and create reasons for users to engage.

In the early days of our community, a couple things that we did very actively:

  • Asked a question of the week as a conversation starter
  • Brought in AMA guests on a bi-weekly basis to give people a reason to engage themselves
  • Made sure to answer any questions, drop emojis, or generally respond to any engagement created so that users felt engaging was worth it

We still do a fair amount of content creation and engagement ourselves in the community, but less and less does it feel like it's required to get members to engage.

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pr33tish profile image
Preetish

This is where content seeding comes into play -- a classic solution to Chichen-egg-problem. For example, both Quora and Reddit founders used to post content (for months) to fill up the platform and attract others to post content. As you can see this approach requires absolute consistency.

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oliverding profile image
Oliver Ding

It's so hard to solve this classical problem. I recently developed a framework called Platform-for-Development.

medium.com/call4/the-platform-for-...

Though the framework is named with the term Platform, I do consider it is also useful for understanding Community Building. Maybe we can try it.

The framework has five analysis modules:

  1. Developmental Resources Analysis
  2. Situational Context Analysis
  3. Cultural Projection Analysis
  4. Social Engagement Analysis
  5. Activity Landscape Analysis

The first module focuses on three aspect of developmental resources:

  • Content (relevant information)
  • Social (Connect others)
  • Action (Special operations)

You can design and provide some these resources for your potential users.

The second module is about running "projects". For example, AMA is a format of a project. I have developed a theory about project. However, here we only need consider three elements of a project:

  • Purpose: Why do people join the project?
  • Position: What kind of roles people can take within the project?
  • Program: How does the project work?

The third module is about social and cultural psychology. It is complex. In order to simplify our discussion, we can focus on two keywords: theme and identity.

  • Theme: what's the idea/mission/vision/belief behind your community? Do you have strong motivation to write a manifesto?
  • Identity: Do you have a logo, unique picture and color for your community? Does these brand identity design represent your theme? Can they encourage your potential users?

I hope this framework can help you in a systematic way. You can find details in this article:

The Platform for Development (P4D) Framework (1.0)
medium.com/call4/the-platform-for-...

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robertniimi profile image
Robert Niimi

Depending on the business, you could also go the Instagram route which was to have a useful tool that brings users to the platform first and then leverage those users to kickoff the community. In IG's case it was the photo filters. This is the route my company has gone and we never had to seed content ourselves.