Make your community plan specific and detailed. It should be a step by step set of actions you can use to develop your online community. Include the following 10 elements in your plan:

1. Find a community manager. This is a person who has ultimate authority for managing your online community. Find this person before you launch. If this person is you, take care that you study the community management science. If this is another person you should know a clear answer on following questions. What are the limits of their authority. What can/can’t they do without you? What are their responsibilities and deliverables?

2. Determine who are the first people that you’re going to invite. This means you have already built up a clear target audience profile. You know their demographics, habits and attitudes. You should have a list of people, you’re just picking the best 50 to 100 to join right now. Everyone else can wait until the community is launched and going.

3. How you are going to approach them. You should know where they gather, how to contact them and what habits do they have. What magazines do they read, what clubs do they visit, what social networks are they members of?

4. What you’re going to tell them. Based upon your research, you should know what will be your message to them and what will get them to join. This usually includes appeals to get unique information, make new important contacts, earn more money or gain more status or power. You should also know what your credibility status is within your potential audience or why will the people you approach listen to you?

5. How you will convert newcomer into an active member. What will members do in your community for the first few weeks? You need a clear process that will take a newcomer to the community past the initial period into a regular. This means you have to think about an engagement plan, think about asking for opinions/recommendations, quizes, contests etc.

6. What will happen in your community. You need both a short and long-term version of this. How will you bond them into a group? What is their purpose for being there? What are the set of activities you’re planning in the community for the first 6 months.

7. How you will grow the community. Will you continue to use direct invites, social media marketing, Joint Venture promotions? Will you use referrals? If so what will you do to gain those referrals? Will you go for advertisment/promotion in top media outlets. If so, what will you tell them to get those mentions? Will you setup an affiliate programme?

8. What platform you will use. We covered this topic excessively both in the lessons and in the websites.

9. What content you will produce. You should have a clear content schedule planned out, with responsibilities, for the first 6 weeks and refresh it at the beginning of every month. Keep it relevant and frequent. Don'r rely in the beginning on user generated content.

10. What you are measuring. What metrics matter to you? This should also include how you will react to these metrics. How will these metrics change your actions?

Your plan must be specific. It should be clear who is responsible for what and by which date. It should show much time these activities are expected to take and how much each should cost.

We also recommend you to check out these great complimentary resources:

For your online networking success and until next time.

B2BPioneers Program