A Founder's Guide to Building and Growing a Successful Community


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 04, 2023

3 min read


A Founder's Guide to Building and Growing a Successful Community

Building a strong community starts with creating a sense of belonging. When members feel connected and supported, exponential growth can occur. However, to truly harness the power of a community, it is important to align it with your business objectives. The SPACES model can help businesses understand the different objectives a community can drive:

  • 1. Support: Creating spaces for customers to answer questions and solve problems for each other.
  • 2. Product: Allowing customers to share feedback and ideas about your product with each other and your team.
  • 3. Acquisition: Building programs to help grow your pipeline and customer base.
  • 4. Contribution: Enabling members to contribute valuable content, services, or other resources to your platform.
  • 5. Engagement: Connecting customers based on their common interests to increase customer retention.
  • 6. Success: Empowering customers to teach and learn from each other, increasing product usage and professional growth.

In the early stages of a startup, the focus is often on collecting feedback and insights to solve customer problems. At this pre-product-market-fit stage, the community objectives usually revolve around acquisition and engagement. As your customer base grows, the focus shifts to support and success.

When it comes to owning and managing a community, it is common for one of the founders to take on this role initially. It allows for a more hands-on approach and keeps the founder closely connected to customers. When hiring for a community role, look for someone with a genuine curiosity and passion for the topic your community is built around.

It's important to remember that community professionals have a range of skills beyond just being people-oriented. Many function in operational capacities, ensuring the smooth running of community programs.

To create effective community goals, start by aligning them with your business goals. Programs should aim to connect members and provide value. When evaluating the success of your community programs, consider the following elements:

  • 1. Activity: Are members actively participating and engaging regularly?
  • 2. Value: Are members receiving the benefits they sought when joining the community?
  • 3. Belonging: Do members feel connected, safe, and included in the community?

All community programs should incorporate the 7Ps of community: people, purpose, place, participation, policy, promotion, and performance. These elements shape the experience and help drive community engagement.

When launching a community, it's crucial to start small and focus on quality rather than quantity. Inviting too many members at once can lead to a lack of direction and overwhelm for both members and organizers. Aim to start with 10 to 50 members and encourage them to seed quality content and conversations. This sets the tone for new members and helps create a curated, cohesive community experience.

Pinterest's success can be attributed in part to its early partnership with bloggers. By leveraging the desire of bloggers to boost their traffic, Pinterest gained exposure and increased its user base. The Pin it Forward program, which featured women bloggers, helped create a sense of connection and collaboration among users.

Pinterest's appeal was its ability to engage ordinary consumers, primarily women from middle America. These users were not focused on accomplishing specific goals but rather on sharing their hopes and dreams with others. This grassroots approach, combined with strategic partnerships and investments, helped Pinterest become a dominant player in the social media landscape.

Big brands like Sony Electronics have also found success on Pinterest by leveraging transmedia techniques and making their products easily pin-able. By creating an entertaining and exploratory shopping experience, they have tapped into the power of Pinterest's user base.

To summarize, building and growing a successful community requires aligning it with your business objectives, starting small and focusing on quality, and leveraging partnerships and strategic techniques. By creating a sense of belonging, providing value to members, and fostering engagement, your community can thrive and drive business success.

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