It's the beginning of a new year, and whether your community is just getting started or has been around for years, it's always good to go into the shop for a tune-up once in a while.
Here's a handy checklist you can use to make sure your online community continues to hum along throughout 2016 and beyond.
10 Point Community Tune-Up Checklist
- Terms of Service, legal - Have there been any changes in the last year that affect your TOS or legal position? New regulations? New lines of business? Here's an example: if you enabled image or video sharing in your community over the last year, do you have language that protects copyrighted material?
- Community guidelines - How is the tone of your community? Do you need to tweak your published community guidelines to address any issues or conflicts that arise consistently? If you do make changes to the guidelines, make sure you are transparent with the edits and bring your community members in on the changes and any future moderation changes that will come along with them.
- Administrator and moderators - Check in with moderators or admin team and take a pulse. You should be doing this frequently anyway, but if you haven't lately, now is a good time to start the year with some input from the team. Look for suggestions on how to make the community even better. Do you have adequate staff? Do you want to accept volunteer moderators or hire some this year?
- New features from your technology platform - Did your community platform release any updates or new features in the last year? Have you decided how you can take advantage of them or integrate them into your strategy?
- Address inactive members - Do you want to send out a communication to inactive members? If they've been inactive for all of 2015, do you want to consider pruning out those old members? Depending on the mission of your community, you might want to consider getting rid of dead weight or coming up with a strategy to bring them back.
- Address irrelevant, stale, or incorrect content - Take a look at the content created over the last year. Does anything need to be updated, refreshed, moved, or deleted?
- Look at design and branding - When was the last time you refreshed your header or footer? Do you have a new logo or color scheme? Will you be running any special campaigns this year that might require a custom image for the community? Get proactive and prepare now.
- Consider rewarding your super members - Review your all-star community members. Who are they, what is their profile? How do you create more of them? Have you said thanks lately? Do some direct outreach to make sure they know you've noticed them.
- Highlight key content produced over the past year - What stood out last year in the community? Think about creating a highlight widget or featured content for your most popular items. You could also consider doing some additional social promotion if it's public content. Make some hay out of your best stuff!
- Goals - Come up with a community goal for the year, with metrics to track progress. Involve the community itself in setting and achieving the goal; you'd be surprised at how motivating this can be.
Do you have a routine check-up that you do for your online community? Have you had your oil checked lately?
Please share your ideas in the comments!
Title image via Flickr CC: JD Hancock