If you want to copy and create success with your community, like other successful companies such as Yelp, Zomato, Younique or Lululemon, you have to understand what it really comes down to.
To build these types of successful communities, there are a few factors involved. After our Community & Cold Coffee Chat together with Habitate, I thought it was important to put together the general rules that can be applied to all types of businesses who want successful communities.
Every successful job (especially one like Community which necessitates so much human psychology) starts with a training or bootcamp. Whether this is in-person (which I would recommend) or virtual - this is a necessity to have the new hire know all about the ins and outs of the job, the company's values and goals for this position. It should include something like this:
- 3-4 days of intense bootcamp to train all new hires
- Apply a mentorship program between seasoned CMs and new hires to help each other out, beyond the bootcamp (crucial especially in remote roles)
- Convey the motto and vision of the company and the vision you have for the community
- Explain the weekly run-down and day-to-day of a CM: what's expected as their tasks, how they should plan out their week, etc. This should include topics such as: CRM time (to keep track of the community), Engagement Tactics, Creating Content (and what type of content) for the community, and the 5 Hats of a CM (Educator, Builder, Writer, Event Planner, Marketer), as well as Networking (online & offline - at least 1 event per week), Newsletter, Social Media
While it may not be for every community, it works for many! Make a plan for your community from early on if you want to implement events into your strategy and what type of events you will be hosting. Think of this:
- Are you doing weekly events or monthly events?
- What type of events do you want to create that resonate with your community?
- Networking at other events: a great way to "infiltrate" other groups and people by talking about your business and building connections. The online angle: mingling in Facebook groups or meetup groups.
- Kangaroo events - which means “jumping on the back of other events”. You can't plan your own event? But there is a big event that fits into your target audience as well? Think of a value proposition to cooperate. Maybe for an exchange of a spotlight in your newsletter, you get a booth at the event? You can hand out schwag in exchange for an e-mail address! If there is a conference that fits with your audience, maybe you can sponsor an item in exchange for being a speaker... You get my drift. Be creative!
Culture is the most important thing for any business - not only with its employees, but also within its community. If you create an awesome culture, that's catchy, it will make others want to join as well! This is why companies such as Nike, Yelp, Lululemon, Younique and Airbnb are winning - because they have fostered a culture that resonates with their values.
- Make a motto for your culture. Yelp uses the motto: Blood, Sweat and Tears. Nike Runners Club's Motto is: Every run should have a purpose. All these mottos reflect with the culture of that community and are true to what it stands for. What's your motto?
- If you make your culture exciting and fun, it will resonate on others looking "in" from the outside and it will make them want to join.
Finding the right people is important for your community. A large community like the ones we mentioned before already exists, but even when each one of those companies launched, they looked for the traits they wanted in their community. People who aligned with their mission and vision!
Campaigns & PR
PR and campaigns go hand in hand, if you want the word out about your community. Think about partnering up with local or bigger media outlets that fit to your niche and provide value for them. If it's a tech magazine, for example, maybe you can pitch to them about user cases of your software solving an important problem everyone faces. Or if the community around your lifestyle brand is hosting an important event and other female readers would be interested in it... Whatever your niche is, chances are there is a PR fit out there for you.
I was a Global Shaper and despite it being a non-profit (that is nonetheless backed by the WEF) our events created buzz and were featured in Business Insider.
You can partner up with a bigger brand in your niche at times, join forces and create a bigger impact through a joined campaign. I hosted a pop-up gallery, for example, with the local Instagrammers community and a big art museum as the jury to a photo contest.
And you can do this too!
Breaking down community and its' pillars is not very easy, but I tried to gather my experience and knowledge and broke it down to these 5 pillars. Creating buzzing communities is not easy, but it sure is fun, if you believe in your cause and mission.