Community building is a hot topic for startups and scale-ups currently, not just for those wanting to engage with their audiences but for entrepreneurs themselves.
The very nature of entrepreneurship can feel overwhelming and lonely at times which is why we launched Chaos to Clarity to support entrepreneurs in their journey and why we chose to focus on the topic in the latest episode.
Community building is human
87% of people surveyed in the CMX Hub 2022 Community Industry Report agree “community is critical to the company’s mission and 79% believe community has had a positive impact on their organization’s objectives.”
But building communities isn’t anything new.
Humans are naturally wired for connection and will gravitate toward common interests. Long before the invent of GitHub and Discord, and yes even Meta, communities have thrived based on a common sense of purpose. Examples stem from neighborhood communities to educational alumni and beyond.
The very fabric and essence of what it means to be human is based on social interaction and relationships.
Community building for scale-ups
Community building isn’t just for marketing or social media. There are a number of use cases for community building including product development, education (for example Hubspot Academy), and of course growth.
We recently chatted to Alex Theuma from SaaStock on Chaos to Clarity.
Alex helps SaaS Founders get to $10MM ARR and we wanted to know how?
His advice? Community Building!
Alex launched SaaStock in 2016, building on the popularity of his blog and podcast. Based on his learnings, failures and successes, Alex shared his 5 steps to building a highly engaged community in your business:
- Identify and clarify your target market and ICP (ideal customer profile/persona)
- Name your ‘Why’, like Simon (Sinek) says!
- Pick a platform and technology to make it work
- Activate and support your members to grow your communities
- Celebrate your champions
And Alex’s bonus point?
Scroll down to find out!
Identify and clarify your target market and ideal customer profile
Before you do anything or even start thinking about community building, identify who is your target market and who is your ICP now?
We do this often in business and yet we forget it. We build a community to appeal to everyone and anyone and it doesn’t work that way.
Be specific says Alex!
Name your 'Why', like Simon (Sinek) says!
Like Simon (Sinek) says, name your why.
“Community is an integral part of building a thriving ecosystem of stakeholders and building relationships for the long term because it aligns everyone along the same values which then leads to stellar performances through collaboration that would have been difficult to achieve alone.” says banking tech disruptor firm Elaia
Pick a platform and technology to make it work
Alex describes how he and his team initially focused heavily on building an app. His learning?
“People didn’t really care about the app. They didn’t care about the technology. They cared about themselves and the problems they were experiencing, just like we all do.”
Alex chose to focus instead on the community and to engage with them where they already were.
Choose a platform where people already are to make it easy.
“If you pick a technology that they’ve never heard before, you then have to change behavior, which is then giving yourself like a real challenge.”
Activate and support your members to grow your communities
If you’re going to build a community, make it easy for your members to engage and make it easy for them to connect.
“Word of mouth is the best form of growth but if you’re not giving your members the tools to do it, you’re not going to grow.”
Celebrate your champions 👏👏🏿
We recently launched Whale Champions, a community of customers who’ve been extremely supportive of our growth with their willingness to give product feedback.
Champions, says Alex, are the most engaged, the most active, the most supportive members of your community. So make sure to celebrate them, put them on social media, and give them the deserved kudos by putting them in the spotlight and inviting them to contribute in an appropriate way.
They will be grateful for that and it will go a long way to building mutually beneficial relationships.
FINAL TIP ⭐ Community building is for the long haul
“Building a community takes time and it’s worth it. Personal connections with a community is vital to ensuring continued growth. That includes responding to issues and taking feedback into action which requires strong collaboration with customer support and product teams.” Binance co-founder and CMO Yi He in a statement in Entrepreneur.
You don’t enter a marriage thinking, I’ll see how it goes for the next 6 months and then re-evaluate. In the same light, you shouldn’t create a community with this mindset.
You can’t expect to start a community and then two month’s later ditch it because no one’s engaging. You have to be in it for the long haul.