GovLoop’s Top 7 Steps to Building a Community

I was asked to speak on a panel at the Open Government & Innovations conference about GovLoop.

The title of my presentation was “GovLoop – From 0 to 15,000 Members in One Year – 7 Steps to Building a Community”

I need to fully flesh out my ideas but since a few people asked for this information, here we go.

1) Solve a Problem – We are all busy and there are already a million communities. If you build it, they probably WONT come. Unless it solves a business problem. GovLoop solves the problem of a disparate gov’t community and there is no hub to share best practice and ideas.

2) Leverage Existing Networks – Most successful online communities leverage existing networks. GovLoop began by leveraging existing networks such as Young Government Leaders, groups on places like LinkedIn, and friends I’d met along the way.

3) Identify and Empower Early Adopters – GovLoop succeeds because of a very robust and awesome GovLoop Community Leaders. Many of these members were heavy users and others I reached out to when looking for volunteers.

4) Recognize Success – I try to recognize success and great GovLoop members through our Top 100 rankings board. Highlighting in weekly newsletter. And just participating and thanking people for insightful comments.

5) Moderate – A good community is like a good dinner party. You have to welcome people, mix in the action, kick out the loud drunk, and get the crowd going. Moderation is key.

6) Have Fun – Life should be fun. Work should be fun. A good community is fun. It’s not stiff and boring. It doesn’t have to be a keg party. But it should be lively and thoughtful and fun.

7) Continuous Improvement – It’s easy to get a community or social media initiative going. It’s easy to let it go and fall apart. That’s why a million blogs start each day. But a million die as well. You have to work hard, keep building, and constantly reinvent. Keep it fresh. Keep it fun. Give people a reason to come back.

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Mary Davie

Steve – you are right on target. Kim Kobza and I were talking at OGI and I asked him what he thought makes GovLoop successful. His response – it’s simple/easy; ability to create networks/communities within the community; enables recognition; self policing; there’s a need; relevance; timing; and you.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Knowing that you also created Young Government Leaders (YGL), which grew from a few people at a happy hour to what is now a non-profit with official 501(c)(3) status with chapters across the country, there are common ingredients in building any community. You obviously have a knack for it. I think there’s a book waiting to be written… 🙂

John Sporing

This was a great presentation, you were able to sum up a lot of information in these seven points. Thanks for sharing this write-up with us and thanks for GovLoop and YGL.

Moira Deslandes

Great list – I work internationally in cyberspace and community building is a big part of that – I would add from my experience – personalising where you can and connecting people up on and off line