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Invision Community Blog


Managing successful online communities

Joel R
 

How to Build an Audience with CHIP

Follow the Invision Community Blog for best practices, core concepts, and thought leadership on community management.  This month's blog focuses on the CHIP Process (Create, Host, Interact, and Participate) to generate user demand to successfully launch new online communities.


Are you looking to launch a new online community or revitalize an existing community, and you're worried about the numbers of users?

Gaining members - and retaining them - is always the hardest struggle for new communities.  Even if you're an established brand or organization, it can be a challenge to build a core group of members.  The problem?  Most communities launch too early.  

The truism "if you build it, they will come" is no longer valid.  There are countless online peer and social groups, industry associations, and trade organizations competing for your user's time and attention.  You can't launch a new community and passively wait for users to visit.  The Internet is too crowded now.

Ask yourself the hard question: are you having difficulty attracting and retaining new members?  One of the best secrets to launching new communities is to already have a core group of members in place -- all done in advance of launching your community.  

Follow the CHIP process to generate member demand.

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Download:  IPS CHIP Process 2019-09.pdf

Part of the magic behind the CHIP Process is that by reaching out, you build relations with existing members in a meaningful manner.  Don't push your community idea at this point.  Your only goal is to meet people, build genuine relationships, and understand key themes such as user challenges or industry needs.  

This dramatically heightens your chance of success when you do launch.  You have a known audience familiar with you and your community, who can spread the word.  You identified a core group of active users, who can immediately start posting.  You also surveyed key themes and business challenges, so you even have a headstart on content will be most attractive. By doing this prep work in advance, you've fine-tuned your community strategy to exactly what's needed and can be successful on Day 1.  

Building a new community requires prep work.  Although Invision Community can empower you with a modern set of features once you launch, you need to pair the platform with the excitement and problem-solving that only your community can offer - and that means taking the time to understand what's needed before you launch. 

Best wishes on your community launch, and share your community's success in the comments below!  


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Most communities launch too early.  

Agree. I come across lot of "communities" with a long list of empty subforums and no topics in most of them. Nothing unique. Activity stream reveals the "community's" health. Dead before born.

cat falling GIF

I make the most time C providing content that is worth to discuss 😉 
then follows P (joining other communites related to mine and being active there, but true active not only because...) 
and then sometimes I (I have some contacts that seems to be useful, but most of them only seem 😄 )
H is nothing for me. 

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2 hours ago, Sonya* said:

Agree. I come across lot of "communities" with a long list of empty subforums and no topics in most of them. Nothing unique. Activity stream reveals the "community's" health. Dead before born.

Totally agree! It's one of my huge pet peeves as a fellow community admin to see a long list of empty or dead boards.  

It's impossible to start up a community with no audience or core group of members.  You really need that momentum going for you in advance.  

As a personal backstory, I "fell into" community management on accident many years ago when a favorite forum shut down.  I never realized it for many years how lucky I was able to move over many of those members into my community.  Did anyone else start their forum like that? It was a happy accident and I've made every possible mistake since then 😊, but that core group has been instrumental in giving me a baseline of activity and content from which I build on.

Edited by Joel R

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6 minutes ago, Joel R said:

I "fell into" community management on accident many years ago when a favorite forum shut down.  I never realized it for many years how lucky I was able to move over many of those members into my community.  Did anyone else start their forum like that?

The forum where I and much of my core group were active had automatic registration enabled. The admin became an absentee, and the forum became overrun with spam. No one could reach the admin, and even when someone successfully did get through to him, nothing got resolved. He didn't want to do anything; he held onto the forum yet he wouldn't relinquish any control. Very strange. I think he was trying to run the community through the web-site/portal thingy with comments enabled there, and he just didn't care about the forums. The website/portal wasn't really conducive to interaction. The spam situation in the forums was horrific. Most of us migrated. Some stayed and kept trying with that admin. By the time he finally relinquished some moderation/admin control most had moved on to my current community. Only stragglers were left behind. Some of my current members would post in both places, I think just to support those few who had made a go of it there, but soon that fizzled out, too. I've maintained my community for longer than a decade. 

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On 9/23/2019 at 4:59 PM, tonyv said:

The forum where I and much of my core group were active had automatic registration enabled. The admin became an absentee, and the forum became overrun with spam. No one could reach the admin, and even when someone successfully did get through to him, nothing got resolved. He didn't want to do anything; he held onto the forum yet he wouldn't relinquish any control. Very strange. I think he was trying to run the community through the web-site/portal thingy with comments enabled there, and he just didn't care about the forums. The website/portal wasn't really conducive to interaction. The spam situation in the forums was horrific. Most of us migrated. Some stayed and kept trying with that admin. By the time he finally relinquished some moderation/admin control most had moved on to my current community. Only stragglers were left behind. Some of my current members would post in both places, I think just to support those few who had made a go of it there, but soon that fizzled out, too. I've maintained my community for longer than a decade. 

I'm curious to see how many communities started by splintering off from an existing community? 

That was actually how mine started.  

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Mine sort of was, but not in any vindictive manner. There was no UK based forum in my niche at the time, and whilst there was a few brits posting on the american forums, they were very much under utilised by brits in general, so I started a UK one. Most of the brits started posted but carried on to a lesser extent on the american sites.

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On 10/1/2019 at 3:43 PM, Joel R said:

I'm curious to see how many communities started by splintering off from an existing community? 

That was actually how mine started.  

Same here.  Our original community was shut down abruptly without warning and we literally scrambled to get a second place together.  (I was only a member at the time.)  After about 4 years of bad decisions, neglect from then current admins, and a bunch of messy details in between, I found myself with the entire community in my lap within the span of 2 months after only volunteering to help out with some technical related things.

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