It’s arguably impossible to scale a product or business without building a community. Building a strong community early on does two great things for your business: (1) It helps you build traction because early users often become the best product evangelists. (2) It position your business for long-term success because your community will want to see you grow and succeed.
How do you start building your community?
Establish a mission: A business without a mission can’t build a strong community, and probably can’t even survive in the long-run. When you stand for something, your users (and potential users) feel that when they use your product or service they are part of something bigger then themselves. A strong mission gives people a shared sense of purpose when they’re part of community, incentivizing them to grow your community (at no cost to your business).
Cross-connections matter: This means that you should be encouraging your users to connect with each other, making them feel like a community that clicks well and can come up with ideas to make your company stronger.
Talk to your audience: Community members love to hear from the company. Take time to connect with the people who love your brand most, and let them know that they’re valued. Sending gifts and emails to these customers is a good start, but personal interaction is much more powerful. Personal interactions are more powerful because once you’ve met face-to-face, and have shared a laugh or drink together, the relationship is going to last forever. Physical/offline events are the best opportunities for you to meet and connect with users, while introducing them to your company.
As an added bonus, when you talk to your audience you’ll be able to create better products. Your most dedicated evangelists will be able to honestly tell you what they like and dislike about your product because they want to see you succeed.
Community building helps with recruiting: When you have a passionate community of people who want your product to succeed, you’ve effectively created a brilliant talent pool. When your hires come from your community, they’re going to have a clear shared vision for success and do everything they can to be insanely successful in their role because they believe in your company mission.
- Strong companies build strong communities.
- Strong communities are created by evangelists who believe in your company mission.
- Encourage members to communicate with each other (at events, on your site, etc.).
- Focus on the quality of your community early on. Keep it positive and fun so people want to continue coming back and contributing.
- Community building often helps you gain traction because you find people you believe in your mission and vocally help you become more successful.