“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” – Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of Virgin Group
What is the community life cycle?
Community lifecycle is the process of growth and evolution that a community goes through from its inception to maturity and sometimes decline.
When it comes to external-facing branded online communities, there are common stages that can be identified in the community life cycle. These stages include Development, Inception, Expansion, Maturity, and Autonomy. The success of a community depends on understanding these stages and planning action items for each phase. Without a clear plan, trying out different ideas won't result in a thriving community. Community builders must map out the different stages and plan activities based on the goals for each stage. This means that community management and member engagement techniques must change based on the growth stage the community is undergoing.
Different community life cycle stages and their components
A community is a group of people who share a common interest, goal, or identity, and who interact with each other on a regular basis. As with any living organism, a community goes through different life cycle stages. Understanding these stages can help you identify the needs of your community and adapt your strategies accordingly.
Source - Fever Bee
Here are the different community life cycle stages and their components:
1. Formation: The formation stage is characterized by the initial creation of the community. This stage involves the identification of a need or interest that brings people together and the establishment of the community's purpose and goals. The components of the formation stage include:
- Identifying the need or interest that brings people together
- Establishing the community's purpose and goals
- Defining the community's values and norms
- Recruiting members to join the community
2. Growth: The growth stage is characterized by an increase in the community's size and activity. This stage involves building momentum, expanding the community's reach, and establishing systems and processes to manage the community's activities. The components of the growth stage include:
- Building momentum and engagement within the community
- Expanding the community's reach through outreach and marketing
- Establishing systems and processes to manage the community's activities
- Developing a leadership structure to guide the community
3. Maturity: The maturity stage is characterized by a stable, established community with a clear sense of purpose and a well-defined leadership structure. This stage involves maintaining the community's activities and relationships and ensuring the community's sustainability over the long term. The components of the maturity stage include:
- Maintaining the community's activities and relationships
- Fostering a sense of belonging and identity within the community
- Ensuring the community's sustainability over the long term
- conflicts and challenges that arise within the community
4. Decline: The decline stage is characterized by a decrease in the community's activity and engagement. This stage involves identifying the reasons for the decline and developing strategies to revitalize the community. The components of the decline stage include:
- Identifying the reasons for the decline in the community's activity and engagement
- Develop strategies to revitalize the community, such as changing the community's focus or leadership structure
- Addressing conflicts and challenges that may be contributing to the decline
- Building momentum and engagement within the community to help it regain its momentum
5. Renewal or termination: The renewal or termination stage is characterized by a decision to either revitalize the community or dissolve it. This stage involves weighing the costs and benefits of maintaining the community and making a decision that aligns with the community's purpose and goals. The components of the renewal or termination stage include:
- Weighing the costs and benefits of maintaining the community
- Making a decision about whether to revitalize the community or dissolve it
- Communicating the decision to the community and taking appropriate action
Understanding the lifetime of your community will help you grow
Understanding the different life cycle stages of a community can help you identify the needs of your community and adapt your strategies accordingly. Whether you are starting a new community or managing an existing one, being aware of the different stages and their components can help you build a thriving and sustainable community over the long term.
NbliK is passionate about supporting brands at every stage of the life cycle. If we can assist you, get in touch. Sign up for free.