Humans are tribal by nature. In the long ago and far away, we were born into our tribes. As we became more sophisticated we formed countries and religions, along with other social constructs and hierarchies. Today, though, we have a unique kind of tribe; the sort we choose to join out of interest.
Whether it’s punk rock, model train building, knitting, or a book discussion group, an interest-based community forms around a shared interest. Hence the name. However, keeping the community going takes more than a shared interest. It takes work, and a little creativity. If you want to not only maintain, but expand your community, you should keep these tips in mind.
3 Tips For Maintaining Interest-Based Communities
Tip #1: Make Communication Easy
One of the most important aspects of a community is communication. You need to be able to talk to each other, whether it’s for discussing the latest release from your favorite band, setting up a screening of a film, or sharing tips on how to get the best footage from a drone. Setting up a community social media page, forum, etc. is a good way to bring everyone together, and make sure issues can be raised.
Tip #2: Welcome New People
Think of a comic book store. A young woman walks in wearing her brand new superhero shirt, eager to catch up on the characters she just discovered thanks to the latest blockbuster movie. Despite her obvious enthusiasm, though, there’s a group of guys standing, arms folded, who want her to prove she belongs there. They’re called gatekeepers, and they’re a great way to kill your community.
If your community is built around a shared interest, then you need to welcome everyone you can. Even if they’re new, or are just feeling out your community to see if they’re a good fit. Welcome them with open arms, and nourish their interest. Communities that don’t grow tend to die.
Tip #3: Set Ground Rules
Just because everyone shares an interest, that doesn’t necessarily make you all brothers and sisters in arms. That’s why it’s important to set out rules for your community, and to make sure everyone is aware of them. Whether there’s an age requirement, or a ban on certain topics, or just the general invocation to be polite to one another, you need to set the rules out beforehand. Not only that, but you need to enforce them across the board.
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