This past Friday I was given the opportunity to do a small guest post for a local community here in Fort Collins, called "Community Catalysts."
The network is run by this amazing community expert and teacher - Darrick Hildman.
I've placed my full interview in the image below, but he asked me a question I think is worth a good amount of introspection and exploration for your own community...
"What does a 'meaningful community' look like to you?"
In my response I started with some silly response about how important it is that we be focused on the mission and values of our community, but before I knew it, I was second guessing what he meant by "meaningful".
The only way I could answer the question was by comparing the communities I've built to my family and friends. The people in my life that mean something. And my answer surprised even me:
There is a progression in your community's relationship with your members.
A "useful" community provides value to its members.
A "successful" community accomplishes the goals and mission of that community, by imparting value to its members.
An "engaged" community encourages relationships to grow beyond the value a member initially desires and encourages them to give back.
But the #1 metric I use to determine how "meaningful" a community is...
A member's willingness to disclose more about themselves shows a genuine affinity with other members. A meaningful community is exemplified in those moments when a person's relationship with others in the community transcends the community's purpose or the value-added engagement that keeps them interacting. A meaningful community creates a real feeling of affiliation that proves to a member that this is where they want to spend their time.
Creating a space for self-disclosure is hard
Creating a plan that fosters a meaningful community is just as important as making one that performs according to the goals of the brand. It requires a plan and a good amount of thought.
Clearly, I hadn't thought about it enough.
So, I thought I'd pay it forward to you - what tactics are you using to create "meaning" in the hearts and minds of your community members? How are you making the community better?
And while you're thinking about it, I invite you to read the rest of my post, join us in the community catalyst group and check out Darrick's new consultancy!