Community Market Research. Why order it from me?

Let’s start by reminding ourselves what a community is. A community could be a group of people having some common characteristics, opinions and often even the same view on the world, who regularly meet (or even live) in the shared environment. Thanks to the high engagement of the founding members there are some strong bonds to be created and, by extension, also a collective spirit and culture. We call this phase Community Development. In the later phase, new members join who want to be a part of this entity and usually a community codex is being created along with a certain hierarchy. A real community can also be an association, society, political party or a group of experts who have been meeting regularly for years over a cup of tea to lead a debate over shared topics. In the digital world it could be a closed environment on Slack, Facebook or LinkedIn or any environment on discussion platforms such as Discourse, Insided, Product Hunt, Meetup, Bevy, Airmeet, Disciple and so on. Even these are the places where people keep coming back to their common interests and discuss them online. As a leader of such a community you often don’t need to be seen because your role is to manage the community from the shadows. If you have a large network of followers on Twitter, Instagram or Youtube, you are now the influencer who sets the community’s direction, not its manager.

Why does an individual become a member?

I wrote the article called Should we build, buy or sponsor an existing community? from the position of a company considering gaining an influence over a specific topic through a community. Let’s go to the very beginning, though. Let’s think about why would any individual want to join a community. The most common reason is the desire for a lifestyle change (that’s why you would join a vegan community, for example) or even a change of how a community works as a whole (you enter an animals or Earth protection collective). The second most common reason is gathering information and experience and networking with people who understand a specific field. A person who wants to learn quickly about some specific topic usually joins several similar communities in hope of learning information faster, meeting the right people and hastening his road to becoming an expert for the given field. But beware, this method has its limits which I will disclose out of my experience.

This is how my Slack looks like, a place that, except for my own community, I visit regularly, including 6 other digital communities which somehow come into contact with my professional interest in Community Industry.

The reason why I joined this many groups is obvious. I want to be at the source of information, have the opportunity to discuss with other people from my field and make connections, or possibly business. This all has a negative consequence, as I’m heavily interested in the field, I want to be at the source of nearly everything, which is not realistic. Let’s dive deeper into numbers. I’m a member of 7 communities. My own community has over 200 members and I bring in people who are interested in Community M&As. We have only two channels. One is in my native language, Czech, and the other is in English. I don’t open any other channels, just to make sure I wouldn’t cannibalize the content. When someone asks a question not directly connected to buying and selling communities, I usually refer them to the other six communities. There are 5607 members in CMX, usually global leaders of various communities and people who want to become community managers. There are over 30 discussion channels with various subtopics. The Community Hub has 4345 members and 19 topical channels. Many members are also in the CMX community so they duplicate themselves and confirm my statement that one person would join as many specialized communities as possible. There are 706 members and 12 channels in the Airmeet community. This community is usually made of Airmeet app users, so the discussion is mostly about the app’s development and new features. The Ahoy data community contains about 305 members and 8 channels. Ahoy and Talkbase are newly forming community platforms offering solutions to community managers’ problems. Just like Airmeet they use community to further develop their apps. And finally there is Czech Community of Community Builders which currently has 245 members and 10 topical channels. This group serves as a meeting point for community experts from Czech locale. Topics of discussion are then becoming similar to those in CMX Hub or The Community Club.

Overall I have about 10 000+ people interested in communities only in these 7 communities on Slack. Those then have about 99 channels, I believe. When subsequently all of those start having a discussion, it is beyond my power to follow everything that is important to me and I start losing focus. Luckily, artificial intelligence can evaluate that for us, provided we know how to set it up properly.

Choosing the right communities

It’s a problem I can truly simplify for you. In practice it means that you give me a so-called sphere of influence and I start searching, comparing and forming a clear overview of existing communities. For each community I take note of various parameters. For example, whether it’s a real, digital or hybrid community. How many members it has. What tools the leader uses to build bonds amongst the members. What is the main language or year of founding. I also try to evaluate the quality of the community and its business potential. In the survey I also provide contacts for the founders and admins along with the information of whether they are willing to cooperate with commercial subjects or if they are willing to sell the community. If you don’t want to spend time over this truly important process, I am at your disposal. Just message me on LinkedIn.

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