A Founder's Guide to Building and Growing a Community

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Hatched by Glasp

Sep 02, 2023

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A Founder's Guide to Building and Growing a Community

Building a community is a crucial aspect of any successful business. It not only creates a sense of belonging for your customers but also drives exponential growth when members actively engage and contribute. In order to align your community with your business objectives, you can utilize the SPACES model, which stands for Support, Product, Acquisition, Contribution, Engagement, and Success.

Support: One of the primary objectives of a community is to provide spaces for customers to answer each other's questions and solve problems. By fostering a supportive environment, you can empower your customers to become brand advocates and help each other.

Product: Another objective is to create spaces where customers can share feedback and ideas about your product, both with each other and with your team. This allows for continuous improvement and innovation based on customer insights.

Acquisition: Building programs that help you grow your pipeline and customer base is an essential aspect of community building. By leveraging your community, you can attract new customers and expand your reach.

Contribution: Enabling members to contribute content, services, or other forms of value to a platform you create strengthens the sense of ownership and engagement within the community. This can lead to increased loyalty and a deeper connection with your brand.

Engagement: Connecting customers to each other based on their shared interests is a powerful way to increase customer retention. By fostering engagement and facilitating meaningful interactions, you can create a sense of community and keep your customers coming back.

Success: Empowering customers to teach each other how to better use your product and be more successful in their careers not only benefits them but also creates a valuable resource within the community. This objective promotes knowledge sharing and elevates the overall success of your customers.

In the pre-product-market-fit stage, your focus should be on collecting feedback and insights that will help you solve a clear problem for your customers. At this point, your community objectives will likely revolve around Acquisition and Engagement as you aim to grow your customer base and provide ongoing support.

When it comes to owning and managing a community, it is common for one of the founders to take on this responsibility initially. This allows for a hands-on approach and keeps the founder closely connected to customers. When hiring for a community role, look for someone who genuinely demonstrates curiosity and passion for the community's topic. This will ensure that they are invested in the community's growth and success.

It's important to note that community management requires more than just being a people person. Many community professionals also function in operational roles, ensuring the smooth running of community programs and initiatives.

Creating community-level goals is a critical step in your community strategy. These goals should align with your business objectives and drive the programs and initiatives you implement. To measure the success of your community, consider three key elements: activity, value, and belonging.

Activity refers to the level of participation and engagement within the community. Are your members actively participating and contributing on a regular basis?

Value assesses whether your members are receiving the benefits they came for. Are they finding value in the community and its offerings?

Belonging measures the sense of connectedness, safety, and inclusivity within the community. Do your members feel like they belong and are part of a supportive and inclusive group?

To successfully launch a community, it is important to approach it like hosting a party. You want to ensure everything is set up and ready before people arrive. Starting small is key to shaping the culture and creating a curated group of select members.

When launching a new community, begin with a small group of 10 to 50 members. Ask these founding members to seed quality content and conversations in the space, so that when you start to open it up to more people, the community already has a vibrant atmosphere. Encourage thoughtful questions and engage founding members to provide quality answers. This sets the tone for new members and encourages them to participate in a meaningful way.

When it comes to program design, consider the 7Ps of community: People, Purpose, Place, Participation, Policy, Promotion, and Performance. These elements help shape the experience and ensure that your community programs align with your goals.

It's important to remember that building a community is a long-term investment. It may not result in immediate monetization, but it plays a crucial role in building brand awareness, trust, and loyalty among your audience. Trust the process and focus on creating a valuable and engaging community that benefits both your customers and your business.

In conclusion, building and growing a community requires careful planning, alignment with business objectives, and a commitment to fostering engagement and value. By following the SPACES model and incorporating the 7Ps of community, you can create a thriving community that contributes to the success of your business.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Start small and focus on quality over quantity. Building a strong foundation with a curated group of members sets the cultural mold and ensures a better experience for your community.
  • 2. Invest in localization to expand your reach. By translating interesting English content, you can attract a larger user base and increase the visibility of your brand.
  • 3. Measure community success based on activity, value, and belonging. Regularly assess the level of participation, the value your community provides, and the sense of belonging experienced by your members. Adjust your strategies accordingly to enhance the overall community experience.

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