What makes your community? More than the community members or the reason behind the community’s actual existence…if you really take the time to think about it, the thing that really makes your community and causes it to continue is the conversation.
Online communities matter—people are desperate for connections but in the busy realm of the real world, those connections can be hard to come by. For this reason, many search online. They look for communities that share their thoughts and ideals but most of all, that allow them to connect.
As your community’s administrator, you understand the value of online conversations. It’s your responsibility to keep them moving in the right direction. But, remember…balance matters.
The purpose of your community to help individuals connect around specific topics…around topics that relate to your brand, cause or organization.
These discussion topics matter. They are after all, the one connection that bring all users to your community. Keeping them relevant, deep and appropriate matter.
But, think about it. The people you’re closest to, the people you share the deepest connections with, do you talk shop all the time?
Probably not. You talk about real world issues, about personal lives, about what you did over the weekend. You discuss upcoming events and get-togethers. You talk about real life.
This should happen in your community as well…to a point. Take the time to start conversations that revolve around other topics. Definitely allow them when they start. Allowing community members to discuss other topics in a forum that still centers around your community’s purpose allows them to deepen their connections while still focusing on the reason they are there. It’s a positive form of communication that will only reinforce your members’ involvement.
So step back. Think about your community and if your members are truly connected and engaged. If not…think outside the box…go for balance. Your community will grow because of it!