communities that are successful and drive value can be a challenge
for many organizations. What tools are best for creating a community?
What problems or challenges does one want to solve with a community?
How do you know which communities are the most valuable to you?
on years of community building experience, I created The Community
Canvas, an easy to follow 12-step outline to create a community for
your company. The Community Canvas asks you the questions you need to
answer to build a successful and engaged community. It also helps you
to identify opportunities where communities could benefit you.
would like to work through this canvas together for your company or
project or have any questions, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
or +31 6 27898584
are the external ambitions and priorities for your organization?
year most companies decide what they will be focusing on for the
coming year. The lists of priorities are the ambitions articulated by
the company’s vision for the year.
focus can be on improving the connection between members and the
brand, driving innovation with your clients, improving customer
service, etc. Awareness of these ambitions and priorities can help
you to identify opportunities where online communities could improve
and help facilitate the journey to successfully achieving these
are the internal ambitions and priorities for the organization?
the external goals, many companies have a focus on what they would
like to change or improve inside the organization.
priorities can include optimization of knowledge management,
increasing the employee engagement etc. Becoming aware of both the
internal and external priorities and ambitions can help you to
priorities what will potentially have the most value for you and the
is the purpose of your community?
the opportunities you found in step 1 and 2 into a description of a
community including your ideas for its purpose. The purpose of a
community should contribute to a users-group and their need or a
will be your target audiences?
will benefit from your community? Most often this is not just one
group, but two or more groups that all have something that they need
and can contribute.
is necessary for each user-group to join and participate?
the ‘what’s in it for me’ statement for each target group. You
will need this information for promotion of the community. This
statement will strengthen the vision of your community.
are the activities in your community?
down what activities you will facilitate or do in the community can
help to identify what people are needed to help you realize this.
Activities can be things like sharing of documents, pictures, Q&A
resources do you need?
tool can you use? Who will be the owner of the community? What budget
do you need? Creating a clear view of the resources that you need,
can help you in negotiations with your manager when you want to push
your ideas to the next level.
is your community successful?
are your quality goals? Quality goals can be the reduction of the
amount of support calls to a service desk, or an increase in
international co-creation and engagement etc.
you might want to set some quantitative goals. These can be about the
amount of views or individual users of the platform. Setting goals
helps you to know when you are successful and provides you with
information about the topics that could use improvement.
can be your ambassador?
your community is big or small, it will need ambassadors to help
drive and promote it. Who are the external and internal influencers
and promoters of your company? Who are your content generators?
Create a list of all current and potential ambassadors.
in it for the ambassadors?
everyone, but especially in the working environment, people tent to
do things that are of benefit to themselves or their own personal
goals. Be aware of this when asking someone to help you. Think of how
it could actually help this person in return with their goals. By
creating a win-win situation you are more likely to be successful.
kind of training and support do you need?
aware of your target audience. What general awareness training do
they need? What is their journey? How do the tools integrate into
their lives? How can people report bugs or struggles? Etc.
are you going to promote your community?
don’t automatically come to or stumble on your community. You need
to inform and make people aware of the benefits to participate. Think
about the channels you can use to reach your audience. What
promotional materials do you need?
is also not a one-time thing. You need to embed it in your overall
communication strategy so it keeps on top of mind of the people who
it is relevant for.