It's that time of year again...time to recharge, regroup and re-evaluate the choices we've made over the past year. While you may have made some personal resolutions (and may have already made a few gym trips or gone to bed a little earlier to start out on the right foot), it's also a great time to make some resolutions for your community and where you would like it to be this time next year.
Here are some ideas for tasks and areas of concentration to really kick your community up a notch in 2015:
1. Three Little Words - Part of the difficulty of New Year's resolutions is they don't really take into account the thousands of decisions we make over a year and instead focus on something specific like "unplug more" or "be more organized". To really help you focus on your goals for the year, have a look at Chris Brogan's blog on "Three Words". Following this method with give you three words to help guide every decision you need to make about your community this year. Post them in your workspace to remind you to use these words to actively strive for your 2015 goals.
2. By the Numbers - If you're not actively and regularly pulling reports on community activity, start today. Decide what metrics will let you know if your community is reaching your organization's goals and objectives and create a template you can complete on a regular (I like monthly) basis. You know the culture of your organization and how your governance structure works, pretend you're trying to convince them of the value of the community - what would they want to know and what is the best way to present it? Put a repeating calendar entry for the first of every month as a reminder to complete this task.
3. Automation rules - Know them and love them. In 2015, one of the huge upgrades to the Connected Community platform is automation rules. By automating tasks that would take a huge amount of time to complete manually (reaching out to new members, thanking active members, reminding inactive users, etc.) you can literally increase engagement and complete work while you sleep. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty awesome idea to me and we would all be silly not to take advantage of it. I created a document listing all of the current automation rules by functionality, which you can view here. Start with a couple easy ones to help you understand how to create the correct logic to target specified users, then try some more complicated ones - the sky's the limit.
4. Ask a friend - starting on Monday, Higher Logic will be launching the mentoring module right here on HUG. Consider signing up as a mentor or mentee (or both!) and take advantage of the HUG community to share, collaborate and stay motivated.
5. Sit in the Audience - This may technically fall under "personal" New Year's resolutions, but I encourage you to join other online communities to gain a better understanding of how communities work from a user's perspective. Whether you're interested in gardening, fantasy baseball or politics, there is a community for everything. I'm a firm believer in knowing your audience in order to shape every decision you make in your community (more on this in an upcoming blog post), so try being the audience for a change and see what you love/hate about the community membership experience.
Let's make 2015 the year of the organized, goal-oriented, efficient and energized community manager!