A damaged community is a nightmare for people in our profession. Whether you inherited a community that isn’t engaged because of prior missteps or the community you manage is damaged because of something out of (or sometimes in) your control, rehabilitating that community can be a herculean feat. This is the exact subject we covered at this past month’s Community Manager Breakfast and our attendees had some very intelligent insights on what to do.

First we talked about preventing a damaged community. Breakfast attendees agreed that setting expectations for a community will help mitigate overpromising and under delivering. What’s the purpose of the community? What are the goals? Mutiny is easily prevented by setting clear guidelines and procedures. Additionally, one of the best ways to prevent a damaged community is not having one at all! Asking yourself whether you should have a community can be the difference between a thriving community and a damaged community you have just for the sake of having it. For example, would a community around Clorox really thrive? Could you be able to keep your promise for what that community was meant to accomplish? As they say, the key to preventing damaged communities is abstaining from creating one.

But let’s say you decided to create a community and it is awesome, but over time things happen and people simply aren’t as engaged or eager as they used to be. How do you reinvigorate your community? We came up with some tried but true tactics to do just that:

  • Reach out one-on-one. You can’t do it with everyone, so find your most active users and encourage them to help you rebuild.
  • Try an event, online or off, and let people know you care about them.
  • Launch an “elite” program to reward consistent or helpful members of the community.
  • Find out what your users are passionate about to post more engaging content.
  • Don’t make a lot of asks if your community isn’t engaged. Rebuild their trust first.
  • Data is key. Look at everything available to you.

As always, it was a pleasure to host the breakfast. Be sure to let us know if you have any other tips and hopefully you find this information useful if you didn’t come and as a refresher if you did. See you next month!