Defining a purpose for your online community helps you to decide how you’ll grow, what content you’ll create, and how you’ll communicate. Every element of the community is shaped by its purpose. It also allows you to clarify what you want out of the community as the host.
When creating an online community you must ask yourself the following questions about purpose:
What is the member’s purpose for being part of the community?
This is the reason for the community’s members participation in a single phrase? Is it going to be a place where members can share their passion for CrossFit, to support their vegan lifestyle, improve their mental health, understand Ford Escort cars, find out about where they live, learn to manage their diabetes? There are as many reasons for creating a community as there are communities. At the heart of this is a compelling reason to belong, engage and share in the online community. This is fundamentally why your members will be part of your community.
What is my purpose for starting a community?
This is your personal purpose for starting the community. It might be totally altruistic or highly commercial. It sounds obvious, but your purpose and the member’s purpose must match. If your main reason for the community is financial, it should complement the purpose of the community. Members of a self-improvement community will benefit from being able to buy courses or by being able to subscribe for personal support and useful content. Music community members will enjoy being able to get merchandise and tickets. Craft community members will be happy to order cheaper materials etc.
What is the overall purpose of the community?
Now combine the two purposes, yours and the members into a simple phrase that defines your community, its easier said than done and it may be worth creating a list of a few until you’ve hit the nail on the head.