Decided to build a community? Start with The Community Canvas framework to maximize its success rate

Written by Yuya Takada, Founder & CEO at Commune

Creating A Community Is Easy, But Making It Successful Is Not

Starting a new community is exciting.  You’re bursting with inspiration, energy, and plans for the future… 

However, although creating a community is easy, making it successful is a completely different game.

Communities do not succeed just because you are passionate about them. 

: Creating a thriving community is difficult in part because of the following issues:

  • The community itself is a dynamic organism. It changes daily.

  • It is difficult for you to comprehend where you stand  as communities take time to develop.

  • Hard to pivot in the initial stages. 

  • A variety of stakeholders make it difficult to ensure everyone is on the same page.


Business community is particularly challenging because it must be something users want and that also produces a business impact.

That is why strategy and roadmap are extremely important and will greatly determine the success of the community.

What Should We Do First After The Decision to Build a community?

Everyone says a strategy and a roadmap are important to make a community successful, but there isn’t a comprehensive framework that you can start with.

With its expertise and experience in successfully building and scaling over 100 communities, Commune has invented a community strategy framework called ‘Community Canvas’. 

There are some community canvas frameworks available globally, but our framework is unique as it is focused on business communities (communities that  companies run to contribute to their business).

You probably want to invite users and interact with them right away, but you should first work on the community canvas after the decision to build a community.

What Does A Community Canvas Include?

Commune’s community canvas has three pillars:

1. Identity

First, you need to clearly define the identity of your community.

Ask questions like  “Who are the main users of the community?” or 

“Why do they use the community?”

Mistakes usually occur here as communities try to broaden their identity too much and dilute it instead. Of course, it would be wonderful if your community could ‘make everyone in the world happy’, however, the broader the community’s definition is, the more blurred the community. That will make scaling your community successfully more challenging.

2. Roadmap

Next, you need to work on a roadmap of your community.

This includes answering questions like

  • How do you invite the first 100 people to your community, and how do you turn them into active members?

  • How do you constantly grow your community? What channels generate new users the most?

  • How do you retain or improve users’ community engagement?

  • How does your community look 6 months after the launch?

You have to be realistic and strategic when working on the roadmap. The more concrete your plan is, the better.

3. Business Outcome

Finally, ensure that you create a good connection between community engagement and business outcome.

Setting an ultimate goal (e.g., contributing to new user acquisition) is not enough. You would want to have a clear timeline and KPIs to track  to health-check your community.

Please download the comprehensive template for your community from the link below


How Do You Effectively Create Your Community canvas?

If you are setting up a community canvas alone, we recommend that you set aside some time, have a relaxing cup of tea, and write it all up at once, fully focused. Look at it again the next day with fresh eyes (as critically as possible).

It’s also a good idea to have someone else review it, because if you do it alone, you could make some subjective assumptions that may not be accurate.

Community strategies tend to be subjective. Be as careful as possible when answering the key questions–”Why do users join this community?” and “How will it make a business impact for your company?” 

We strongly recommend holding a workshop session if there are several people working on the project. 

First, everyone fills in the framework individually. Then, have a 2 to 3 hour workshop where each member presents what they have filled in.

Your team members are likely to come up with something completely different from what you expect!

After the workshop, the project owner will finalize the community canvas to create a common understanding among all the members.


Making Full Use Of The Community Canvas

Keeping your community strategy in line with this canvas is always a good idea.

At the beginning of each meeting, take a minute to review the current situation, refer to the guide, and determine if anything is misaligned and needs to be fixed. Stay on top of it as often as possible. Many community managers even use it as their wallpaper!

The community canvas is also very useful for explaining the concept to community users and to employees. 

Using this as a basis for establishing a concrete agreement inside your company in the early stages of community initiatives will enable you to focus on the community in the mid-term.

In addition, when a community develops a solid strategy, funding and resources are more likely to follow. 


We’re Here To Help 😉

How you create the community canvas is very important.

As you work on community initiatives, you should avoid many of the pitfalls that the business community is fraught with.

At Commune, we can assist you with the community conception, creation and execution, using the most advanced software and our extensive experience supporting over 100 communities in the past.

Our team can help you maximize your community’s success! Get in touch with us today to take your community to the next level!