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4 Steps to Follow to Restructure Your Community Space


Do you think your brand community is a static entity? Imagine that this is false. In reality, the latter evolves continuously with your brand, but also (and above all) with each new member who joins it! Like any human group, the community has its own life, which can sometimes even escape its Community Builder . 

This is a common scenario. You have your head on the handlebars, absorbed by the many tasks that are yours ( onboarding , animation , event organization ). And you don't necessarily see that your community no longer has the vitality of its beginnings, that the profile of its members has changed, or that the exchange channels you use have become obsolete. 

So many signs that it's time to do a little spring cleaning and restructure your community space. But how to proceed? In this article, we will detail, step by step, the procedure to follow to restructure your community space. You will thus have all the cards in hand to carry out yours and update your strategy, all without losing members along the way. 

Why do you need to update your brand community

Structuring your community space is not only a necessity when things are bad. Quite the contrary. Prevention is better than cure, and therefore don't wait until your churn rate increases to restructure your community space. 

Generally speaking, your community strategy should be regularly audited and updated. It's the only way to meet the ever-changing needs of your members. But also to adapt to the very evolution of the concept of community and the way in which brands use it to achieve growth, boost their retention or even develop new products. 

However, giving your brand community a little facelift doesn't mean you have to start from scratch. The idea is rather to dust off what needs to be dusted off, to realign your community strategy with that of your brand and the reality of your market. 

Structuring your community space: laying the foundations for the overhaul

Before you embark on the audit and plan to restructure your community space, it is important to start with a timeline. This restructuring does not only involve your brand but also all its members, its possible partners… In short, all those around you. So it's important that everyone is on the same page, especially if you're considering migrating to a new tool or sorting through your inactive members. 

Also, assume that restructuring a branded community space can be a significant undertaking. Rome was not built in a day! Allow at least one to two months to audit your channels, collect feedback from your members, think about then lead the restructuring of your spaces...

Also, be transparent about this process and its different stages. This will not only allow you to better engage all stakeholders in the operation (a determining factor in its success), but also to avoid unpleasant surprises during your reorganization. If a channel needs to be deleted and replaced by another, it is best for your members to be notified in advance. They will thus be able to prepare for their migration, at their own pace. 

audit your community space 

It consists of evaluating the performance of your brand community as it exists today. This will allow you to identify what is working, and what is not. Having an overview is also crucial for structuring your community space and avoiding forgetting a piece of the puzzle (integration of new members, long-term commitment, content creation, etc.

The first question does your community still meet your business objectives

The first question you need to answer with this audit of your brand community is whether it meets your business goals. And it’s a safe bet that they have evolved since its creation. 

Let's say you launched your community to boost your brand awareness. If you have done things well, you should now have a good footing and be recognized as a major player in your sector. The objective of your community will therefore no longer be to create trust or gain visibility with a given audience. But rather to establish your positioning, to build loyalty in your persona, or even to evolve towards other markets. 

In this case, the channels you will use will not be the same. The onboarding of your new members will certainly need to be automated, given the greater flow of people interested in joining you. 

The second question does your initial value proposition still match the needs of your members

While it's important that your community is aligned with your brand's goals, it's just as important that it meets the needs of its members. And they too are bound to evolve over time, influenced both by factors external to your community and by their own use of it. 

Take the Ausha podcasting community as an example. Its initial value proposition was to help its users take ownership of the tool and co-create new content with other members. However, while this value proposition may continue to be relevant for new members, it is likely to become obsolete for early members, who already know the platform well.

A community audit would therefore allow the brand to assess the new needs of its historic members. And to put in place the tools to respond to them, and possibly segment your community in order to continue to bring this value to newbies. 

update your persona

Continuing from the first phase of your community redesign, it is also time to update the persona (or personas) of your members. For this, you cannot rely on your intuition. Take the time to talk to them, to ask them about what they think about the community, and about the changes they would like to see. 

The right strategy is to mix quantitative and qualitative approaches. You can start by sharing a form with all of your members to collect feedback. But also take the time to contact some of them personally to conduct individual interviews. 

The idea is to interview representative members of each of your community segments. These can be structured according to their age, their typology of use, their socio-demographic characteristics, etc. 

In all these cases, you will interact with different profiles, who use your brand community in different ways. You will thus be able to have a better understanding of your community space as a whole, and integrate the needs of everyone in its restructuring.

redefine your brand’s objectives 

Your persona isn't the only element of your community strategy that needs an update. The same goes for your brand goals! Consider how your brand community contributes to the development and growth of your organization. If this is no longer the case, it is time to set new objectives and take them into account when structuring your community space. 

A good idea at this stage may be to look at what your competitors are doing. This is a good way to avoid blind spots, and adapt your strategy to the current state of brand communities. It is also absolutely necessary to stand out and bring something unique to your members. 

rethinking the community space and the animation strategy

Depending on the relevance of your current channels, it may be time to clean up by deleting those that are no longer active . Also sort through your current members, to remove (after giving them the opportunity to come forward) those who have not participated in the life of the community for more than a month (for example). 

If you have chosen to restructure your channels, consider giving the necessary information to your members so that they can migrate to the new ones. Or use an app like Greetbot to automatically add and welcome them (especially if there are many of you). Also encourage them to represent themselves, in order to take advantage of this restructuring to boost the engagement of your brand community. 

Good community hygiene = a healthy and vibrant community 

Deleting channels (and dormant members) can be intimidating for any Community Builder. But as some people have sometimes learned the hard way (like Laure, from RAISESHERPAS who testified some time ago for Komuno), quality is much better than quantity. And you will see that by concentrating your efforts in the right places (and with the right people), your community commitment will be even stronger!

A redesign project may therefore require a certain investment (mainly in time). But it is absolutely necessary, especially on a regular basis (for example once a year) to take the pulse of your community. And ensure that it always fulfills its role, both for your company and for your members. 

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