Before long they begin to tire and because of new offerings in the marketplace it’s commonplace for them to jump ship for a new experience.
When you build a community behind your app you are more likely to encourage:
- Content creation
By developing a sense of community (and providing the right platform) you will retain your users for an extended period of time. Many users, over the course of community involvement, will become engrained and resist the temptation to move to a different offering because they are accepted and feel comradery with others.
You may be asking, by now, what you need to do to create communities for your app. Well, here are some of the essentials you wanted to know…
When you take a focus on building a community there are a few factors to keep in mind:
- What is the overall objective of building the community?
- Who are going to be the users (that will stick)?
- What narrative/content are you going to push through the platform?
- How will the community be managed?
The groundwork is crucial to developing a great community because without it you are simply creating a platform which has no clear direction. In some situations a free-for-all direction is fine (ie. 4Chan or Reddit) but since you are basing this community around your application it should tie into the overall objective of keeping people happy, engaging, creating content, or aiding in the promotion of the app.
The objective of the community, in the general sense, should be to keep users attached to your app for longer periods of time.
The user is going to be similar to the ones’ to whom you’ve acquired but not necessarily the average types that may use it casually. What you want are the ones that are passionate about the application so they become these types.
The narrative (or content) is the general tone and direction you plan to introduce to the community. Though you may not have complete control over this – you can generally sway the direction such as creating discussion on how to improve the app, alternative uses, or encouraging individuals to share.
Finally, you will need to find people to manage the community. The community management can either be internal or placed upon passionate, die-hard members.
Now comes the tricky part…
Any app developer can introduce a community platform to their offering; they can easily gain a small following, too. But the challenge comes during the tipping point of the community building.
It’s at this moment that your community has the chance to become established or sink back into obscurity as the users flee to something new.
It’s hard to say the specifics of what will work for your community building efforts but there are a few things you can do to encourage users to stick and help you push past the tipping point:
- The most important thing is to understand your user base; this means you need to always have open dialog so that you may gain feedback on ways to improve the platform
- Incentives and gamification are fantastic ways to encourage participation; by giving users kick-backs, bonuses, highlights, or some form of “gameplay” feature you encourage them to return time and time again because it becomes fun
- Increase your budget to attract new members to your app and funnel them to the community all-the-while catering to those heavy users that will aid in the promotion through social sharing
It goes without saying that during this time you should track as much as you can so that you can refine the users you’re targeting in your advertising/marketing campaigns and how to better improve the platform to lower the resistance of new users joining.
In the last phase you have nailed it – your community has become established.
The important thing to think about is that it’s not just a numbers game. Sure, there are many communities out there that boast tens of millions of users but even a small community is an accomplishment when you consider the vast amount of competition.
From here on out your job is to:
- Continually improve the platform and make it easier-to-use
- Experiment and take on challenges to always bring something new to the community
- Bring on additional help as community managers
- Reward active users
- Keep on-ward with app discovery and user retention campaigns
There is plenty more to learn about when it comes to community building; lots of great information has already been created. Take a look at a few of the following as part of your bonus reading to get it right:
- 5 Methods and 15 Tools To Find Your Audience And Build a Community
- Brick by Brick: A free guide to building awesome communities [ebook]
- 10 Tips for Building a Strong Online Community Around Your Startup
Build the community and you will build a successful app. It will take time and effort; you will need to continually push to drive new users to fill out the space but with the right attitude, commitment, platform, and drive – you will find your success.
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