Hi, Rafy here.
This is Uncommunity’s bi-weekly newsletter. We bring you community experts’ interviews, resources related to building communities, tools to scale community or events, books to read & become better community builders and jobs to be applied.
Put your seatbelt on and let’s go. 🚀🚀🚀
Anuj Adhiya is the author of Growth Hacking for Dummies. Anuj previously was at GrowthHackers as Director of Engagement and Analytics where he grew the world's largest growth community working directly with Sean Ellis, the godfather of growth hacking.
Community building is relationships. We cannot automate relationships. Is there a way to quickly grow communities?
It's true that community building is relationships but you have to question why people would want to build these relationships?
The biggest reason tends to be that there is some benefit to them in doing so. This means that there has to be a reason for both sides of the relationship to engage with each other. What makes this happen tends to fall into one of two categories:
A. They get some form of social capital as a result of participating in the community and/or
B. they get access to something(s)/someone(s) as a result of that community.
If you can crack how this applies to your community, you will have people banging down the doors to join.
There's this notion that every brand should be community First and not Product. What are your thoughts?
I think this is correct but it's important to understand why this is the case.
If you say you want to be community first, what you are saying is that people need to buy into the greater thing that your product enables, likely before it's even available.
The only people that buy into the idea of something are early adopters. These are people that don’t need something tangible or even something perfect to be excited by it. Just the prospect of that something is exciting because it’s a must-have for them.
It follows then, that it’s easier to validate ideas and then sell into a group of people that are already excited about something than the other way around.
How would you describe the funnel of the community programs and initiatives? In marketing, we see awareness, interest, consideration, intent, etc.
I discovered that growing a community is no different from growing a product.
Consider the AARRR funnel (aka the pirate metrics), one of the most popular frameworks used by startups. In a general sense, communities have the same basic funnel.
You still have to figure out how people will find out about your community (Acquisition), what their great first experience should be (Activation), how to get them to come back (Retention), how to monetize them, directly or indirectly (Revenue) and how to get them to tell others about the community (Referral).
And just like with a product, you will always have one of these steps that has the biggest problem or largest opportunity that will help move the needle on growth.
How important is community-market fit while building a community?
Using the analogy of a product again, just as you need product-market fit in that context, you need community-market fit in this context as well. The importance of this fit cannot be understated because this is what tells you about the must-haveness of your community, which in turn determines if people will even stick around for the long term.
How do we avoid a Zombie situation in communities where there is only one active team which is the founder and the team trying to activate and engage the community?
This goes back to the point about community-market fit and must-haveness. This is why you can’t let just anyone into your community (at first).
You have to be super selective about your first 10-50 members. These have to be people who feel as passionately about (the need for) your community as you do. If this means you have to interview them to ascertain how deeply they feel the need for your community, do it. You cannot compromise on who this initial group of people is. If you do, you risk falling into the trap of constantly harassing them to engage.
On the other hand, if the need is great, you won’t have to do much prodding, they will engage on their own. If anything, they will harass you (in a good way) about improving the community to add more value. This will result in you building a white-hot core within your community.
The knock-on effect of this is that these people will do the job of spreading the word about the community as well, to attract more people like them. This in turn will set the culture of the community at an appropriately high level.
Advice for community builders who are getting started.
Building communities is hard work. It will take more time and effort than you realize to get it off the ground. The reason for this is because you are counting on someone to change habits. You are asking them to take time out of their day, their work, their free time, their me time, their family time and spend it in your community, This is a tall order.
This is why it’s so important to validate the need for your community first and figure out its must-haveness. Obsess over this as much as you can and you’ll save yourself a ton of headache.
One community you admire and why?
Quora does a great job with its community because to me it’s apparent that they think about community like product. They are intensely focused on retention and they do very discreet things to tackle all 3 phases of retention:
A. Short-term retention (aka activation): They make you pick topics of interest when you sign up to make your first experience relevant to you. They also implement a to-do list which, as you complete, makes you more engaged with the community
B. Medium-term retention: Once you start engaging with the community, they combine information about the topics you said you’re interested in with your usage data to help build a habit around topics you’re most interested in
C. Long-term retention: Once you’ve been part of the community for a while, they take your usage data and present you with topics that allow you to engage at an even deeper level.
This is a powerful example of a community using data to constantly add value to its members.
Follow Anuj Adhiya on Twitter.
Ok, this was amazing! The way Anuj explained the community funnel AARRR is worth noting down. What do you think of the funnel?
Feel free to take a break. Stretch, breathe, get some water, etc. Then come back.
There are only three sections left now: What else we’re reading including few tweets, community news, and new products to checkout.
You good? Ok! Let’s dive back in 😅
What else we’re reading?
How To Build A Meaningful Community. Avinash Raghava was previously leading the community efforts at Accel, the VC firm. He shares his thoughts on how to grow and nurture a community. Read the full article here.
☝️ First things first, building a Community begins with meeting people (one at a time) and forming meaningful relationships. Always try and help people first before asking for anything in return!
Do not unplug your GIVER switch! 🔌 A Community is not built on the basis of expectations, so don’t help with the objective of getting something in return.
Helping people make meaningful connections goes a loooong💨 way! However, always check before making connections and set the right context.
An Interview with a Reddit Moderator. Reddit has 100,000+ moderators who work tirelessly to keep their communities safe. Peter Yang, Product Lead at Reddit interviewed Dora, the lead moderator for RPAN. RPAN is Reddit's live streaming feature that's moderated completely by Dora and her team. Read the interview.
Coming from the creator economy, the needs of moderators are fascinating. Creators get to interact with fans (love), grow an audience (fame), and make a living (money). In contrast, moderators often get abusive messages from users and don't make any money at all.
How to Go Pro as a Creator. John Gannon from GoingVC shares how he made $1mm in revenue as a creator. It’s a 4-step process. Such a great piece. Read here. We are definitely implementing it with Uncommunity. ;)
Before you spend days or weeks obsessing over the exact right tool for your needs, know that the tool you pick will have basically zero impact on your ability to bootstrap and grow your audience.
Why do you do it? That’s the question to answer.
Community is not marketing. Period.
Becoming 10x community builder by doing small things.
Absolutely. If you are a creator your objectives to building a community is different than a startup.
What’s in the News?
Tribe, a community platform competing with the likes of Circle, Forem raises $7.5M in seed funding. Check them out.
Luma, the newest iteration of the product - a community home that brings together events, resources, and a member directory. Check it out.
What’s new at Uncommunity?
Build Your Community - Turn your connections into a powerful online community.
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