Every year, billions of people participate in online communities. New communities are forming each day. Connection is one of the most basic human needs. As they search to fulfill that need, people join and leave multiple communities regularly. This forces newly forming communities to fight for their audience’s continued attention.
Sometimes it is hard to know where to start if your brand is in the beginning stages of building a community. How do you stand out in the crowd of distractions and make a lasting impression? Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to build a successful community from the ground up.
Understanding Why Someone Wants to Build a Community
It is first important to understand what compels a person to join specific communities. Three factors must all be present for potential new members to take the plunge and join.
The Community must align with their identity
This means the community identity must be identifiable. If they have to go looking for it, you will most likely lose potential members.
Participation is easy and encouraged
They need to see how to participate and feel welcome to do so.
There is a reward or validation for participation
If your community is brand new, it won’t have any of these elements. None of the factors happen by chance, they must be carefully and intentionally cultivated every step of the way.
The Foundation of Community Development
Community development beings with understanding the community’s identity. Once you understand that, you can build your foundation upon that. Start small and you can grow and scale as you build up from there.
Identify Potential Members That Fit Community Identity
Get a good idea of who your ideal member is, then find just ten people who fit that description. They might be friends, past clients, family, or whoever it is that fits the bill. Thoughtfully curate these members to set the tone for future members and interactions.
Earn their trust
This is a brand new development, it’s not even a real community yet. You have to earn their trust. Provide them with something of value, and build up their idea of what this community can be, even if it isn’t yet.
Whether it’s in-person or live online, let them give you ideas and feedback on what they envision for the community. The more interactive the participation the more invested the participants.
Either by taking their suggestions into participation or with some other reward, you must validate their involvement. Validation increases the chance of return.
Invite new members, and do the same thing again.
Scaling Up Community Engagement
Once you have built your foundation, it is time to start scaling up. You have created a core group of people that trust you and each other and feel a sense of community. Whether this was online or in person, these are the ones that will fuel a bigger kick-off on social media.
Invite all of your original members to whatever platform you plan to use. Post prompts and questions and facilitates interactions. If things seem a little slow and aren’t picking up any pace, contact one of your core members and ask them to make a post. Incentivize with discounts or other rewards if you have to. You have to make the interactions happen, rarely does this happen organically at first.
Next, you need to stop to collect feedback once more, making sure to validate those that participate. Once you have done that, it is time to start empowering members to invite new members. Encourage and incentivize in a community-appropriate manner. Keep hosting live events and prompting posts as you do so to grow interaction. Once you have that down, it’s just a matter of repeating the process to keep the community healthy and thriving.
Maintain Your Community Contacts with StayTouch
StayTouch is an app that combines modern networking and easy relationship management. Build a community with ease, instantly exchange information, and explore scheduling and time management functions. Make notes and create reminders to reach out regularly to your network of contacts, helping you build a stronger community. Get connected and start building your community with StayTouch. Contact us to learn more.