Design Your Presence – SMPG Community Building Checklist

In our previous post, Research Your Community’s Needs, we discussed the importance of researching the needs of your community, deciding on a logistical approach, and finding out what’s already out there.

In this post, we continue posting our exclusive checklist that you can use to execute your project for building your community – The Social Media Performance Group Community Building Checklist™. We discuss how to design your presence in your community.

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Design Your Presence

  • Don’t develop your community as a stand-alone, in a vacuum
    • Create a social presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube
    • Leverage the power of each of your social presences to drive people to your community, and your Website
  • Coordinate branding, graphics, messages across your social media presence
  • Use your research to determine what features the community needs and will use
  • Avoid too much complexity
  • Consider creating an advisory board or surveying prospective members to gauge interest in the planned feature set for the community space
  • Consider creating user levels
  • Reward content creators and question-answerers with recognition
    • Best Practice: Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) an award for exceptional technical community leaders who voluntarily provide technical expertise within Microsoft support communities — see the post Run Contests for more information
  • Determine how you will encourage connection and participation
  • Create guidelines for community behavior
    • Indicate how the community can contribute to the guidelines
    • Ensure guidelines are not overly-restrictive or prescriptive
  • Enable community enforcement of behavior
    • Consider implementing a “flag this post” feature
    • Consider implementing voting for posts
    • Consider creating a special area for power users
    • And listen to what they say there
  • Select your platform
    • Many create-your-own platforms to choose from:
      • Joomla Community Builder and JomSocial
      • Ning
      • Cisco
      • Capterra
      • KickApps
      • Jive
  • Determine your platform requirements — attributes to consider include:
    • Is platform widely supported (or commercially viable)?
    • Forums (of course)
    • RSS Feed support
    • Easy posting
    • Ability to feature posts
    • Security and identity — information security measures and also security features that affect the user experience such as onerous login procedures
    • Privacy
    • Video and other media support (consider embedding from YouTube instead)
    • Mobile support
    • Customization
    • Easy administration
    • Backup
    • Removing posts
    • Approving posts

Design Your Presence is the 165th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’ve been doing this since 2011 and we’re just past page 407. At this rate it’ll still be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

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