Transitioning A Community from Support to Niche Topic
We’re here to help sellers of all sizes
start, run, and grow their
business—and helping them grow
their business is good business for
Square provides users
with practical resources
that help them grow
The support community is a
cornerstone of this effort and has
helped thousands of members.
Now, it’s time to invest more into
users’ success with a community
focused on Small Business.
Here’s a 2 Phase Plan
For Square’s Small Business Community
A niche community will give members a bigger reason to visit the Square community.
Users will have more to share and discuss in a niche
community created around small business.
Instead of users only coming to the community when they have
an issue with Square, you want them to come often to get the
support they need in running a small business. This helps build
a deeper relationship with members.
To do this several changes need to be made to the community:
▪ Internal Structure
▪ Marketing & Growth
DESIGNThe current homepage is focused on using Square, it should focus on Small Business.
Simple changes to the community homepage will
encourage users to participate in Small Business
● Put business forums ﬁrst - remove the set of 4 boxed-in icons and
replace them with icons for business topics: Starting A Business,
Increasing Sales, Business Growth, and leave 1 icon for the support
● Ask A Business Question remove the search bar on the page and
feature an “Ask A Business Question” section that tells the user what to
do to participate. This works as a call to action to encourage posting.
● Combine support forums - most of the topics discussed in these forums
are very similar, if they cannot be combined they should be listed all
under one link from the single icon mentioned above.
● Curate Active Discussions - using the forum algorithm you should be
able to curate the most active/interesting topics to the top of the forum
to get more exposure for commenting.
CONTENTCommunities devour content, let’s talk about the content Square can use here.
Content Inspires Discussion
1. New Discussion Topics
a. From the Team or Members
b. Questions, Tool Suggestions,
Decision Making, Sales
Strategies, Marketing, etc.
2. Expert Contributions
a. Contributors Program
3. Linked Content & Discussion
a. Articles, Downloads
b. Videos, Podcasts, Studies
4. Online Events
a. AMA’s & Expert Interviews
5. Local Events
6. Courses/ Programs
As members see topics about building
and running their businesses they will
visit more often and join the
Pull From A Content Calendar
A content calendar will have
several topics or content pieces
to share to jumpstart a new
Ask Members to Post
A friendly social media post or
email asking members to share
their theme related questions will
bring in several discussions.
Outreach to Active Members
Individual outreach is one of
the best ways to build
relationships and encourage
participation in the community.
Square Content & Videos
Downloads and videos are two
of the most consumed types of
content in communities.
Ask The Team To Seed Posts
When it’s hard to get the
community to comment on a
topic, internal support can
make all the difference.
Inviting industry leaders or
experts to leave their advice for
a small business brings a bit of
notoriety to the community.
To manage additional community efforts Square needs multiple departments to work together.
Community should work with Support, Marketing, Sales,
Revenue, Content, and Success.
Since Community gets heavy feedback it only makes sense
they share it with other teams.
departments What should be shared?
▪ Success Stories
▪ Metrics (for ex: active
members/longevity of use)
▪ Social media ideas
▪ Feature requests
▪ Support issues - ideas for improving
How to successfully engage with other
▪ Reach out and build relationships
▪ Take responsibility to follow up
▪ Ask what they are working on that
could affect community
▪ Keep them informed
Community managers need support, understanding,
and leadership to mold the best experience possible
in the community.
Community management is an enjoyable job that can be highly
rewarding but also emotionally draining. A Community Lead
needs to move both the team and community towards success.
To do this requires empathy, giving feedback, offering career
coaching, regular communication, providing future education
opportunities, understanding, and recognizing signs of
upcoming trouble or burn out.
This also includes weekly one on ones, policy guidance, dealing
with escalated issues, listening to feedback, and helping when
extra work needs to be done.
Help the community move on to a new topic.
New Community Launch
Because it will be a big change to the community, and it’s for the better, it’s important
to keep users informed about the new community.
Once the new community is live, test it by sending some users to check it out. You’ll
also want to seed it with topics and conversations that will be easy to join.
After some members have given positive feedback, notify all users and have the new
homepage turned on.
Over time the Small Business community will grow into a healthy and increasingly helpful place.
help keep it
With the Seller Community’s existing members and Square’s existing users there are
several marketing options available:
Promotional email drip - this would be a great way to roll out the new community.
The community will need to be seeded ﬁrst to make sure there is substantial content
before a mass email goes out.
Notiﬁcations - as a member in the community, they will receive updates and
notiﬁcations when someone interacts with their content.
Social media updates (initially and overtime) - Social updates are a great way to
share what is going on in the community. Individual threads, member comments, and
upcoming events are all great posts.
Square newsletters - as Square sends out regular email newsletters they can include
the most active topics in the community. All communities need continuous marketing
Facebook advertising - another option for getting in front of Small Businesses and
showing them the beneﬁts of the community.
Partnerships - Experts and inﬂuencers who want to contribute to the community are
likely to share the community with their followers, making this type of promotion a
With a shift from a user support forum to a small business community, a plan
needs to be in place to grow this new community to realize the beneﬁts Square
stands to gain.
Communities need 3 things, so the focus of this plan should be:
▪ Maintaining a steady stream of new members - via social media, email
marketing, word of mouth, exposure, individual outreach and advocates.
▪ New content on a regular basis - fresh content will give the community
something new to consume with each visit.
▪ Responses, comments, and possible upvotes all show members that
their contribution is appreciated.
Based on company goals KPIs should be identiﬁed and measured to indicate progress.
to measure in
1 NPS - are members happy with the community?
2 Active Users - how many members visit and how often?
3 Activity - are members consuming and commenting?
4 Longevity - how long have members been customers? (watch this
over time to identify retention)
5 User’s Sales - are members learning and implementing what they
learn in the community?
6 New Square Sign Ups - speciﬁcally from the community.
7 Churn Rate - for community members only.
8 New Posts - in community.
9 Member Demographics - to look for trends
10 Participation Ratio - to see how many Square users join.
Additional/different metrics would be tracked based on internal
Square needs to build trust and relationships within the community, feedback helps.
In the early
with as many
Understanding your members and users is the pinnacle of being able to
build a product and/or community that supports their success.
In the early stages of building the community beyond a support forum it
will be important to help members see the value in the community.
One way to do this is by constantly gathering feedback and initiating
changes based on qualitative and quantitative comments.
Further, the relationships built within the community will be the
foundation for future programs such as advocates, referrals, and word of
By connecting with individual members and building
relationships you’ll get real feedback that will impact
your company in many ways.
ADVOCATESThe most active members are often the biggest advocates.
As the community
grows, an advocate
program gives the
opportunity to be
recognized for their
content & growth.
The advocate program should
● Regular meetings with
● Collecting feedback about
their participation in the
● Hosting a group or event just
● Changes they suggest
● Learning their preference for
The Square Small Business Community can help people all over the world.
The Square Small Business Community will grow to include users from all over the
Similar to other Fortune 500 company communities, this initiative will include a growth
plan spanning different areas of the world over time. Marketing promotions to
Square’s existing users is one way to encourage this growth. Facebook ads, social
media, and referral programs will contribute as well.
Because of language barriers, it may be easiest to focus on English speaking countries
ﬁrst, then choose additional geographic areas based on Square usage, the area’s small
business environment, and spoken languages on the Community team.
Bring members together like never before, right in their own neighborhoods.
Live & local events
take a lot of planning,
but by building
those local to the
event, and starting in
populous areas, local
events are able to
bring an online
in fun new ways.
will grow to offer live
Thank you very much
for your time
If you would like to further discuss this document
please contact me at any of the following:
A presentation for how Square could transition from focusing on a support community to a small business community.