Written by Calin Drimbau, Co-founder and CEO of broadn, 2022-09-28
Community building is one of the most in demand skills in the startup world. What is it and how should we think about developing it as a skill?
This post is part of our 'Entrepreneurial toolkit' series. In this series, we put together a curated list of resources on a topic that is top of mind for entrepreneurs.
We'll share some key insights from the selected clips, but we highly encourage you to listen to the clips on broadn so that you can hear the experts themselves sharing ideas, opinions, and advice.
What makes communities so great?
Creating a community allows you to connect and interact with others, whether they are customers, colleagues, or fellow entrepreneurs. Communities are fantastic because they provide so much value in terms of exchanging ideas, information, news, seeking jobs and getting feedback. People who are miles apart are now connected in the nucleated world of the internet. Putting your ideas in front of a community as an entrepreneur can help you test the waters to see if what you're creating meets a demand, otherwise, why bother?
Why would people bother to join a community?
There are broadly three reasons why people would want to join a community and they could be the following
People want to connect with others with whom they can interact, share ideas, or simply expand their network. This allows individuals to be more apprised of the latest developments and opportunities in their field of interest. Knowing one person can lead to knowing another; for example, an entrepreneur seeking funding for his startup may want to speak with founders who have recently raised funding for a similar project in their field.
People can learn specific skills and be educated by their peers on problems they are unable to solve. People may also be looking for information about untapped or hidden resources or "life hacks" that will make their lives easier and put them ahead in the race.
Belonging is one of the most important factors that contribute to a community's success. The sense of belonging that people have distinguishes them from the rest of the world. It's a powerful feeling that, when properly served, can motivate people to go above and beyond their normal capabilities.
Questions to ask before starting a community
To avoid deviating from your vision, it makes sense to ask yourself some questions before starting a community. Having a consistent set of values adds value and clarity to what your community is doing. The vibes among members should be compatible to make it as fun as possible. This could be achieved by asking, "Who is this community not for?" So, if you have a guitar community, you must specify whether it is for metal, blues, or other genres, and if it is for blues specifically, you have the answer right in front of you.
Frameworks of community building
The frameworks of building a community are some key things to keep in mind during the process.
Passion for building
If you don't care about what you're creating, you'll quickly burn out as managing a community is a lot of work. It entails talking to a lot of people, which will take up a lot of your time and will feel more like work than fun.
2. Gauging the likes of a community
This relates to having a deep understanding of what the community truly wants. Knowing the wants and needs of the community allows you to identify what will stimulate and empower them to participate and strive in the group.
3. Trust and Accountability
This is related to the community leader's personal brand. If the community values their ideas, they will be inclined to participate. It will be challenging to build cohesion if the community is not aligned with the vision. So, developing trust and dependability in your personal brand and communicating it through action is undoubtedly worthwhile.
What happens when you have a MVC, or Minimum Viable Community? How do you scale and grow your community? Following are some ways you can scale it.
1-1 or 'one-on-one' refers to when you are just starting a community and do not have a large network. Instead of sitting at the counter and waiting for people to show up, the best approach is to connect with people who share similar interests and do so individually.
2. Word to mouth
This boils down to why people will recommend your community to their network; the emphasis here should be on the value proposition. You'd want to ensure that the content you are providing is top-notch to justify people sharing.
Distribution is immensely influential. It depends on positioning and collaboration; if you can position your brand in the correct spot by selecting platforms with a relevant and active audience, you will have solved half of your reach problem. It could include inviting people to appear on your podcast, guest blogging, or collaborating on social media.
Internationalizing a community
Internationalization of a community can be extremely advantageous to a business. It all starts with why. Why do you want to expand internationally? Is there a customer base that is underserved due to a language barrier? Are you gaining traction from a specific language? If this is the case, you must steer and invest in order to serve that group. The only drawback is that it comes at a cost. To provide a localized experience, you would need to translate online pages into another language, which would necessitate the installation of dedicated servers, which would incur additional costs. Also, you’d need to hire translators and copywriters to render the content in that language.
The future of business will revolve around meaningful conversations rather than cliched marketing. As more people become aware of it, more time, effort, and money will be invested in community building. It is no longer a trivial detail; Anyone who does not take a community-centered approach is likely to become lost in an increasingly connected world, and communities will eventually become an integral part, progressing from being a choice to being the norm.
We hope these ideas inspire you to take action or approach goals differently. To listen to the clips and the full episodes, sign up to get access to broadn.