It sounds like a lot of fun to start a community and add several groups (or subgroups). You think it’ll make it easier for people to find topics they want to discuss, they’ll be able to find the people they want to connect with more easily, etc.
In reality, creating several groups from the get-go is a big mistake and it’s something you should rethink for the future of your community. In this post, I’ll share why adding additional groups to your community, especially in the beginning, isn’t such a great idea, and then how to add them when it’s time.
The Reality of Adding Groups To Your Community
When you start a community the first and only goal is to get people into the community and posting/sharing. That, and creating content for them to consume is most of the work you’ll be doing.
Groups are communities within communities. If you’ve already started a community and worked on getting it populated you know how hard that is. When you add groups to your community you have to start that work all over for a new topic (whatever the purpose of your group is).
Every group you start needs the same amount of work as a new community.
It takes a great deal of work to get people to post in your group, especially if you are in the early stages of building your community. It’s not a good idea to add groups at the beginning and expect to be able to fill that with content as well, for each group you add, you are multiplying your work.
For every group you have, you have to replicate getting people to join, getting them to post, adding content yourself, sending notifications for people to participate again, reaching out to people to build relationships, asking influencers to share your group, etc.
When & How to Add Groups to Your Community
Once your community is healthy and self-propelling and has reached a point where at least 50% of content and participation is done organically AND it appears that you need to add a group because a lot of people are asking for them or you want to separate out some of the content into a group (not a category which is completely different).
You’ll want to make sure a lot of people are contributing to the topic you are turning into a group. Then, look for a person who will voluntarily lead the group. You’ll need someone who is already participating in a similar capacity (they are posting content and connecting with people who are ideal for the group).
You’ll reach out to them, you may need to reach out to a few people. I would recommend putting them in a special group in your community or in Slack so you can easily chat with them. They’ll need your help building the group, ideas for content, for reaching out to people, for adding content to the group, etc.
You should only work on a group or two at a time, to make sure the community has your focus and the groups have enough effort to make them successful.
What About Slack Groups?
The one exception to this rule is when it comes to platforms like Slack. You don’t want a general discussion group that is overwhelmed with too much conversation and people can’t keep up. So, on Slack, you’ll want to start with a discussion channel, an off-topic channel, and potentially a jobs channel for business groups. Based on how many conversations you are getting between people you will want to add additional channels as needed.
In my next post I’ll be discussing how to set up Slack so that you can use it for a community without losing great content, and keeping it organized, and active without losing members as Slack tends to have a high turn over rate.
Groups are a great way to further deepen content and relationships in your community but only after your community has grown to a significant point and you can take the time to develop each group singularly. You have to overlook your excitement to add all the groups you can think of and push for the healthiest community before adding groups. When it’s time, you’ll need help and the very community that you’ve built will have members who will help.
If I can help answer any other questions, please let me know here.