Originally published January 27, 2016

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I was asked how to:

  1. Restructure a community of practice (CoP) to enable local chapters
  2. Better engage the millennials, because the old COP ways that include newsletters and webinars fall short of engaging our newest members

1. Using Local Chapters

Local chapters can work if they are focused on meeting in person. Don’t create separate online spaces for them, but encourage them to post about their local events in the larger community’s threaded discussion board or enterprise social network (ESN) group, adding tags that are unique for each local chapter.

10 key points about local chapters

  1. Mainly for in-person meetings
  2. Provide a place to gather to participate in community calls
  3. Can be used for local language discussions
  4. For other discussions (not in local language), use the main community discussion board or ESN group, with a unique hashtag for posts about local chapter activities
  5. Others can see what local chapters are doing and emulate those activities
  6. When traveling, members can join local activities when in other locations
  7. A separate online group for each local chapter would likely result in no critical mass and low activity for each one
  8. Having a single online group avoids creating one more group that members need to join and pay attention to
  9. Keeping all discussions in one online group helps achieve critical mass and regular activity, keeping it healthy and sustainable
  10. Whatever members share locally could be of interest elsewhere, so it’s better to share in one group, not in multiple groups

2. Engaging Millennials

I talked to my daughter, Kathy Garfield, who is a millennial and a social media strategist, about what appeals to her. She:

  1. is unlikely to regularly spend time visiting a web site
  2. is unlikely to follow a threaded discussion board
  3. likes live meetups
  4. likes live video chats (such as Google Hangouts) and live Twitter chats
  5. likes to connect with others on Twitter using a common hashtag during events such as watching a TV show
  6. suggests using a tool such as Skype for Business for real-time chatting, video chats, and screen sharing
  7. suggests using an ESN for real-time chats or jams, either standalone or in conjunction with community calls
  8. suggests using incentives and rewards to encourage participation
  9. suggests asking the younger members what they would like to see, and then implementing their suggestions
  10. suggests adding one or more younger community members as co-leaders of the community


For more about leading communities and ESN groups, see:

What experiences have you had with local chapters of communities? What suggestions can you offer for better engaging younger members of communities?

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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