📻 — Building Community Around Your Mission & Brand

Hey yenizens!

As you’ve seen me do previously, I love learning learning other community builders and I love taking a ton of notes (and then sharing them with you)!

Whelp… I’ve gotten permission from Ben of Makerpad to share some of the wisdom that’s being shared over in their Community Building program that I’ve recently signed-up for (the money is entirely worth it folks)!

Consequently, I’ll be breaking down a few of their wonderful presentations into the “nuts and bolts” in upcoming issues!

This is just a taste, of course, of what’s really going on over @ Makerpad so don’t forget to check it out when you’ve got a free moment.

Okay? Okay. Okay!

To infinity & community,

— john

The Breakdown: Danielle Maveal’s Creating Community

As usual, I’ll share the high-notes, the tactics, any of the “Aha!” moments, and some of the more interesting tidbits to save you time — curated and presented in easy-to-digest bulleted format.

Let’s get going!

  • Danielle started as a goldsmith, making jewelry off Etsy. Volunteered to help build community for them and then they hired her for 5 years and she built out the community teams. She’s been at Etsy, Barkbox, AirBNB, and Lyft!
  • “Community is the bond between two people and it starts with a conversation. We must erase the marketing funnel idea.”

Leaning on Rituals and Rhythms

  • If you got a ‘fist-bump’ when you got in a Lyft, that was an intentional decision as part of the welcoming experience.
  • Rituals help connect people and helps answer the important question: “Why are we coming back to this space?”

(Hosted by the one and only Tom Osman!)

Why is Community So Important?

  • It’s important to remember how closely connected community leaders and community managers get to those that they lead. Most folks do not fully appreciate or understand this fundamental dynamic.
  • A community gives the mission of your business superpowers. At Etsy, it needed a “common enemy” (mass production) to unite the community and grow it strong.

Is Community Really Just “Product Feedback”?

  • Being close to the user is how you create bonds with initial users.
  • The next level is connecting each other.
  • Danielle is doing multi-group feedback sessions to see what conversations they are having between themselves.

The Community MVP

  • Inviting 5-8 of your core members and getting them into a room and talking through the common challenges.
  • The next level is getting them together in a shared environment (in a program consistently) to answer the question: “What can we do together that we couldn’t do by ourselves?

3 Things You Need Before You Launch a New Community

  1. You need a strong mission to unite towards a common cause.
  2. You need to know what resources you’re going to give them in order to accomplish that mission.
  3. You need to have a good idea of the what the business goals and business outcomes that you’re shooting for.

👆🏻 — This stuff is absolute gold.

Difference Between Audience and Community?

There are 3 different types of communities, generally-speaking:

  1. Pool Community: Bumping up against one another, quick connections. That’s more like an audience.
  2. A Hub: A central figure(s) but there isn’t an easy way to connect with folks who aren’t the central figures.
  3. Web of Bonds: An infinite amount of interconnecting relationships.

The 3rd type is a better definition of community proper, especially when you think about early types of communities like religious or church communities that have more “event-type” activations.

These are functional, healthy communities but that don’t need to be “engaged” 24/7/365. Good food for thought here folks.

There are easier and cheaper ways to sell stuff than through community! If you can do it more cheaply / easily via traditional or growth marketing, don’t use community!

Danielle Maveal

🛑 — This is why you subscribe to this newsletter folks, to get the real shit!

Where Does Community Site in Terms of Business Priorities?

  • You need product-market fit more than anything else — you need to give something of value to folks who want it!
  • There are too many ways to do this effectively, but, the two primary ways are building a community for a product that already has achieved PMF or build a product for a new / existing community.

🛑 — Regardless, if you don’t have a marketing strategy before you build community then you run the risk of “pushing community into the marketing funnel” and that’s when they “smell you out” and leave.

How to “Activate(i.e. Sell to) a New Community?

  • Getting to know your community members motivations is important, so, ask them! Ask them questions to understand what they want.
  • Figure out ways for them to create value amongst themselves before selling to them directly. Take Duolingo and their community that creates content for the community.

How Do You Encourage or Incentivize Early Community? Is This a “Chicken or Egg” Problem?

  • The mission and vision of what we can do together instead of alone is really what you test against (e.g. test programming against).
  • Even making a stack-rank a list and see if you can find that “magical” mashup of people, programming, and purpose.

How Do You Build Rhythm in a Community?

  • Noelle Flowers gets a shoutout!
  • Just tell them what they are! This is what we do here and this is not what we do here. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as telling folks directly.
  • Community member onboarding program is a great must-have.

Community Building for Multi-Sided Marketplaces?

  • Start with one side at a time because often they have different motivations and they want to talk about the other.
  • Etsy Strategy: Focus on the seller and figure out how to give them resources, tools, and the support that they needed to bring in and attract new customers.

Tactics, Tools, and Features for a Brand New Product and Community

Stories, stories, stories. You need good stories of who we are and what it means to succeed in the community. You need to focus on this more than cta or conversions.

Resources Mentioned on the Workshop:

That’s it for the break down! I hope you enjoy and make sure to check out Makerpad for more as well as subscribe to this newsletter for more of these!

I love writing them for my fellow yenizens!