A new approach to strategy for building community


Developing a strategy for something like creating and building a business-focused professional community typically follows a traditional path.

While there is no single “right way” to creating your strategy, there are a number of key elements that should always be considered such as defining overall objectives, setting out the purpose from a community member’s point of view, competitive audit, build the business case, calculate budgets, etc.

Plus the answer to the most burning question: What will you offer in focus, content, and user experience that’s different to, say, LinkedIn or any number of niche professional communities, social networks, and messaging apps?

Now there’s another element that ought to be part of your thinking in developing a strategy, what Michelle Goodall calls “the Periodic Table of Community Strategy.”

Michelle is a community strategist and speaker and CMO of Guild, a messaging platform for professional groups, networks and communities. In her introduction to the Periodic Table of Community Strategy, she describes it as a simple way of getting the fundamental elements of a community strategy onto a single page.

And here’s what it looks like:

Periodic Table of Community Strategy

It might look familiar to you even if you’re not a student of chemistry.

Where Michelle’s table has particular value is in how the colour-coding of the elements makes it easy to visualise the relationships between individual elements and the groups they’re part of, and with other groups.

The table shows ten categories or types of community with a specific colour assigned to each as the legend at bottom right indicates.

In her introduction, Michelle talks though each of these elements so you can get a clear sense of how you could apply the process in your own planning.

The table also includes Michelle’s ten-point guide to community success:

  1. Build your community strategy using this visual guide
  2. Be clear about your goals for community
  3. Create a clear purpose for your community aligned to your goals
  4. Consider how to resource your community
  5. Consider budgets required for your community
  6. Start with a MVC (Minimal Viable Community) and consider what you are testing – remember community takes time and effort!
  7. Give your community time – mutual value and ROI takes a while
  8. Track, measure and optimise your activity
  9. Enjoy it – community makes the world go around!
  10. Be generous – share your community lessons with others

If you have ideas or suggestions about the Periodic Table of Community Strategy, Michelle wants to hear from you.

And finally, if community strategy is a topic you are interested in, the first Guild Community Summit will take place in London on 19 May 2022. Join the Guild Community Collective so you can participate in this member-only event expected to attract 100 community professionals and strategists.

(Photo at top by Surface on Unsplash.)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

Comments are closed.