1. Step one (Start small)
This step involves building a great foundation for your community.
By starting small, testing and iterating, you will always find ways to scale your community. It all occurs through experimenting, exploring, analyzing and then correcting.
|The more people you can influence, the greater will be your community. Here it means, the more lives you can change or transform the more people will get added to your community.|
A person only becomes a member of a community when four things happen:
- The community aligns with their identity
- They trust that the community will bring them value
- They know how to participate
- There is a reward (intrinsic or extrinsic) for their participation
In the first step, you need to build a foundation of the community. Find 10 such members who can fit the company’s identity and bring them together ideally.
Choose the right members and fuel online participation. Invite more and more members and empower other members to invite more.
This will bring in a strong foundation if it happens for you to collect a decent amount of members in this step.
Who are the right members?
You already have a great idea of your ideal members. They can be anyone, your customers, friends, relatives etc.
Identifying the first 10 members should be a thought giving process as these are going to set the standard and quality of your community.
You have to earn the trust of these 10 members and give them some sense of responsibility so that they feel special among others. Talking individually to them will bring in more trust. Tell them the ideology of your community so that they can relate to it.
You need to spend a lot of time on this step to find all your potential members.
Build trust among the members
Now as you have built trust with the members, now you have to make sure of the coordination among the community members.
Building trust within the members is a crucial part here because this is going to be a long term game.
For this, you need to interact with all of them together and should try to give some activities to bring in more coordination. The more interactive the session, the more relations will get built. They must know each other more than earlier after each interactive session.
Always ask for feedback after each session, which should be individually asked and in front of everyone. This would increase their chances to attend more such sessions.
Note- Let them speak more and more.
Now give them a responsibility (with a reward if possible) to bring new people with them and give them the opportunity to take the session too, this will bring more confidence and responsibility towards the community.
Keep it a different and exclusive session each time, so that all the members can have fun and enjoy that session.
Remember, their queries and ideas should also be valued and addressed so that they don’t feel left alone.
This was the step that will give your community a strong foundation so that you can move further easily. You have to spend a lot of time here i.e. a couple of months.
2. Step two (Move to a scalable online platform)
The time has come when you need to choose your founding team.
To identify a core group of people who you think would be the most motivated to participate in a community like this.
Now your people already know you and more importantly, you know each and every one of them individually. So you should think much wisely and thoughtfully on this.
Always remember to value each and every opinion throughout your community; they are like your family.
Make them feel invested in the success of the community. Give proper credits to everyone (Be a good leader there).
“You’re not as smart as your users collectively. Just listen more and trust that the people who are passionate about the subject matter are going to do interesting and unexpected and amazing things with the control you give them.”
Give them opportunities and let them work for the community. This will try to connect them with the community as well as with its members.
Kick-off to an online platform and add content to it every day. Don’t leave it to new members; leave an example for them on how to post on the community public channel.
Give them the opportunity to participate more and more in the online platforms.
e.g. Ask one of them to post a question, which everyone will answer. Your online platforms will start running for you by your community.
e.g. Reddit made up fake users until interaction happened organically. eBay bought and sold its own products. Do what you need to do to set the example for your members and ensure they’re getting value.
Just keep on experimenting and exploring, what works for your community and what not? What provides them value and what not?
What motivates them to post on that online platform and what not?
These analytics will answer most of your problems and you have to solve them on your own just by experimenting with new ideas.
You should always keep the community meetings going on, with unique ideas every time so that your people are not getting bored. You can use your new members for this task because new members are always filled with a lot of enthusiasm.
Maintaining the community
Now you have to create a selection process for your community recruitments. You always need to maintain an environment in your community that keeps on providing value to everyone.
Divide your community members into different departments to ensure the proper ideology of the community.
This is already going to work for you and your community. But the most important thing to do is to experiment.
Experiment, apply and look at the results then ask for feedback.
Make a community that will give your personal brand a name. You just need to step out and think exclusively.
All the best!