Building An Online Community

Content + Conversations = Community.

“It’s About the We.”

-Tim McDonald


In my presentations to small business and non-profit organizations, my main message always shares the same four points:

1. Be curious.

Listen, first!


Who’s online and, what are they doing?

2. Have a conversation.

Like an update.

Leave a comment with your perspective on a post.

Share another’s content that you found useful.

Build relationships.

“The power of a community comes not from it’s numbers, but in the strength of the relationships that foster co-creation.” – Tim McDonald

3. Reflect.

Is your community evolving?

How so?

Be mindful of the fact that networks change in size.

Yet communities – they evolve.

Think about it this way.

It’s better to have a community of three members that “get it” versus a network of three hundred non-active members.

“Networks give you reach. Communities give you power.” – Tim McDonald


Tim and I supporting at a community event back in 2011.

4. Respond.

Hopefully, you’re doing all of this as part of something bigger than yourself.

Respond to those whose participation matters to you.

As a nonprofit organization, it’s all about the greater good.

All-in-all, curiosity leads to conversation which leads to your community evolving.

Here are two terrific resources to reference to as you respond to, grow and sustain your online community.

The first will offer tips on building better conversations through a mindset of empathy, usefulness, generosity, speed and attitude.

It will also guide you on how to be remarkable, relevant, reasonable and repeatable.

The second will offer insights on how to craft and when to post your content.

Talk Triggers

Content Rules

In closing, a quote from Peter Block in “Community: The Structure of Belonging”:

“We are a community of possibilities, not a community of problems. Community exists for the sake of belonging and takes its identity from the gifts, generosity, and accountability of its citizens.” – Peter Block.

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