Amy Jo Kim is a game designer and community architect who created the membership life cycle model to help understand the process of building and growing a community. According to her model, there are five key stages that members go through:
During the discovery stage, potential members learn about the community and its purpose. This could happen through social media, word of mouth, or other channels.
Once a person decides to join the community, they enter the onboarding stage, where they begin to understand the community's rules, values, and norms. In this stage, it's important for the community to provide resources and guidance to new members, so they feel welcomed and included.
As members become more comfortable with the community, they move into the habituation stage. This is where members start to develop habits and routines related to the community. They may regularly check in with the community or attend events.
The engagement stage is where members become more involved and active in the community, taking on roles such as moderators, event organizers, or content creators.
Finally, in the evangelism stage, members become advocates for the community and actively recruit new members.
Amy Jo Kim's membership life cycle model is particularly relevant to online communities, such as forums or social media groups. Online communities often have a larger pool of potential members than in-person communities, but it can be harder to create a sense of belonging and community. By understanding the different stages of the membership life cycle, online community managers can create strategies to help members progress through the stages and become more engaged and loyal members. For example, providing resources and guidance during the onboarding stage can help new members feel more welcome and included, while creating opportunities for members to take on more active roles can help them become more engaged and committed to the community. Ultimately, by understanding the membership life cycle, online communities can better support their members and foster a strong sense of community.