Build a community journey map

Business benefits

Increase community retention by learning why your audience joins and participates, identifying touchpoints, and outlining member activities.

List every touchpoint members will have with your community from first awareness until they are regular, active members. Include the pre-registration, registration, and post-registration stages.

  • Pre-registration: Becoming aware of the community and deciding to register.
  • Registration: Going through the registration process – entering their information and officially joining the community.
  • Post-registration: Onboarding, learning to participate and gradually becoming a regular, active member of the community.

Identify your sources of new members for the community and what triggers them to join the community.

For example:

  • Direct promotion from you to your audiences.
  • Searching for a topic and landing on the community.
  • Suggestions from an algorithm on social media tools.
  • Direct links from your company website.
  • Direct links from other external websites.
  • Integrations with your product.

Develop the full member journey from awareness to registration. Map every step of the member journey to one of the basic stages of pre-registration, registration, and post-registration, using a community member journey template.

Map a specific message to each step in a single table to create the member journey.

Stage Step Message
Pre-registration Awareness How do people first become aware of the community?
Browsing What are the welcome message and topics that they see?
Click Register How easy is it to find the registration button
Registration Registration form What information is required on the registration form?
Confirmation email What message is in the confirmation email?
Post-registration First post What prompts members to make a first post?
First response What sort of response will they receive to their first post?
Competence How are members persuaded to read the best content?
Autonomy How are members involved in running the community?
Relatedness How are members connected to one another?

Use a customer journey tool like Smaply to create a visual outline of the member journey.

Example member journey: Veracode
  1. Awareness: At Veracode, customers first become aware of the community because it’s included in their customer success journey.
  2. Browsing: They see the message reflected in the top navigation bar and a prompt to register for the community.
  3. Registration form: The registration form has different options for existing account members – which saves them time – and regular visitors.
  4. Welcome email: This introduces the community manager personally and shows how to get started.

Identify the immediate gratification members will receive from participation.

For example, will they:

  • Solve a problem they know they have, like on Australia’s Whirlpool forums?
  • Improve their skills or knowledge by accessing unique expertise, like on LinkedIn groups?
  • Pursue a passion with like-minded peers?

Identify social rewards that members will receive for posting and commenting.

For example, will they receive clear indicators of status, like in Reddit forums where members who meet certain participation requirements receive a flair – a title next to their username that only appears on that subreddit.

Identify how you will increase your members’ autonomy, competence, and relatedness after they make their first post.

  • Competence: Make sure members read the best content shared in the community, help them to find detailed guides on the topic, encourage them to follow the top people on Twitter, make sure they’re subscribed to the digests and to read notifications
  • Relatedness: Can you guide members into specific groups for newcomers? Make sure they’re finding the right regional group for them? Connect them to guides within the community?
  • Autonomy: Can you ensure they feel they can run parts of the community? Share their best content? And take a sense of ownership over the community? Is there a point where members are invited to share their work/creations with the community? Are they guided to create a detailed post or resource for members?