build a community

Guide: Build a community with Microsoft Teams

Guide: Build a community with Microsoft Teams

A community is a place for communication and collaboration with a larger group of people. This guide takes you through how you can build your.

Requirements to build a community

First you need to make the core decission, will the community be a part of my primary tenant or would I like to create a new. Normally you would use your primary tenant, but in some cases a new tenant would be needed. Note, a tenant is a representation of an organization, you can see it as a collection of licenses and users dedicated to the same organisation. 

Even though you could do this with Teams for Free, I would recommend you to use a licensed version. You can manage with a Business Basic licens for ~60€ a year if the total number of users (including guests) are less than 300.

If you expect the total number of users to be more, you need to aquire an Enterprice licenese instead, it’s slightly more expensive but have no direct limit on number of total users.

A small note about limits in Azure Active Directory

Microsoft used to have a limit on 5 guest per paid license. This have changed, you can now have 50 000 Monthly Active Users per tenant. More than that and you pay a very low cost for each additional.

Creating a team and channels

With your tenant and licenses fixed, create your team. You can follow this Step by step guide if needed.

With the team up we need to structure the channels. Think of each channel as a room for debate, some recommended channels and purpose (description).

  • General – This is the main channel, the first people join and a place for system messages.
  • Introduction – A place for everyone to introduce themselves.
  • Announcements – Information from the Community leaders, only owner or moderators should be able to post here.
  • Moderators – A private channel for moderators to communicate.
Then you have the channels for topics, these are depending on the main topics of your community. Create at least a few to start with, but make sure to have a plan on how to keep these active. A suggestion is that each channel has a moderator/expert.

Limit @mentions and other settings

Right click the team and choose ⚙ Administer team, then choose Settings.

  1. Add a team picture for internal use, at present this picture isn’t shown to guests. If don’t have one, create one from this template.
  2. I recommend that you limit @team mentions, this should only be used by the team owners. @channel can be a nice to have as unless it gets misused. 
  3. Guests already have limits, but check the Member permissions if you want to impose the same limit for people within your tenant.
 

Channel moderation

Some channels need to moderation and restrict who can post in them. Right click the channel and choose ⚙ Administer channel.

  • General – This is limited to only owners or all.
  • Standard channels – Here you can set moderation on and add moderators, you can also limit users possiblity to reply or pin messages.
  • Private channels – Use of moderators to have their own private space. 

Introduction and information to your community

Every channel should have a post with an introduction to the channel and its moderators (if used). Use the Announcements feature of posts and design a custom background image using this template.

If you feel like it, create a video to introduce the community, it’s leaders, purpose and more and put it at the top of the General Channel.

When you are done pin each post, they can always be located within the ℹ button at the top right of every channel.

Invite or sign up

Now it’s time to get people to sign up, there are many ways to solve it, but to make it easy just use Microsoft Forms. Set it so you get a notification for each new reply and if you are handling European users, remember to add a field for GDPR Consent

How to solve it; use a multiple choice question with only one option “I approve” and make it mandetory.

Automatically greet your people using Power Automate

Did you know you can use Power Automate to automatically send a greeting to anyone who joins your community? I wrote an article about that!

Use Graph API to automate onboarding

I never tested this myself unfortunately, But I found a guide in Microsoft Tech Community. Note, Teams is a part of Microsoft 365 groups, same as SharePoint team sites are.

Analyse the performance

Right click the team and choose ⚙ Administer team, then choose Settings.

Choose Analyse and you can see the activites for the team and individual channels. Use this tool as a way of checking if your team is healthy and thriving.

There are many more aspects to cover, but if you have some questions or feedback, please make a comment on this article and I’ll improve and explain.

Teams Community, final thoughts

Teams is a great tool to make a community where the information isn’t shared with adverticers. It’s a multifunction tool where file sharing and collaboration is a core feature. It is great for professional communities where people are used to working in Microsoft Teams. 

Buildng a community is more than setting the stage. You need engaged people and make it a thrive. This will be an article in the future.

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