Have you written a Mission Statement for the community you are responsible for as Community Manager? Imagine someone cruising past your website. Would they know what your community is about by glancing at it? If not, you need to provide your new visitors with an idea of the purpose of your social proposition.
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is an organisation’s way to explain to the public the reason for its existence and what it hopes to achieve.
We’re not talking about the bottom line here; most people would realise making money and expanding influence is a primary motivator.
The mission statement is about providing a call to action that resonates with your target audience and encourages them to take the time to participate and contribute to your vision.
Why have a mission statement?
There are several reasons to take the time to craft a clear mission statement for your online community, which benefit both your efforts in building a vibrant community and to help people understand what they can expect from participating in it.
1. Transparency: By being up front about the purpose of the social space you are creating, you can ensure your members trust your motives and feel comfortable investing their time.
2. Focus: To write a good mission statement, you are going to have to condense your reasons for creating your online community. It will help you understand who you are trying to reach, and narrow your scope which will make success more achievable.
3. Motivation: By defining who the online community is for, the mission statement will encourage engagement by making a compelling argument for participation on the part of your target audience.
4. Leadership: As the Community Manager, it is your responsibility to lead by example and set the tone of the online community. By defining its purpose, you are making a commitment to your potential membership.
5. Unity: People tend to rally round a clear vision. If you don’t step up and state what the community should stand for, you run the risk that there will either be confusion or some members may split off with their own vision running counter to what you are trying to achieve.
6. Protection: Having a strong mission statement will give you something to refer to internally (if you are creating the online community for a business). If your budget comes under attack, you will be able to stand up for your membership with confidence and clear objectives to argue your case.
When you set a vision for your community, you empower yourself in setting a clear goal to aim for, your staff who have a clear understanding of the focus of their communication with customers online, and your membership who can confidently invest their time and energy in building relationships within a comforting framework of engagement.
To approach community building effectively, you need to have a strong sense of where you want to end up. It’s all too easy to simply assume people will be able to see and understand what we are trying to achieve, but for them to believe and promote your vision you must share it clearly.
Do you have a mission statement for your community already, or are you planning one? Do you have an example to share?
Read on to find out how to craft your community’s mission statement and see a few examples.
[photo by Wonderlane]