Community: Growing Powerful Networks From Scratch

Photo by mckenzie toyne on Unsplash

So, how do you grow a network?

First and foremost, conduct research to understand who your community members are. Listen to your community, ask them about their life and motivations, not your idea, the goal is to tailor a product or brand, not to pitch it.

“Insights are valuable, noise isn’t” — M. Ward

I have insights, what’s next?

To successfully take promising ideas to the market, two basic elements are required:

  • Customer Profiles — Based on collected data
  • Compelling Value Proposition — Who, What, How and Why

1. Focus on creating opportunities for self-expression

People find satisfaction through self-expression, so build a tool to allow members to express themselves.

Photo by Kara Eads on Unsplash

2. Create single-user utility

If your product can deliver value even when few people are using it, you’ll be one step closer to mitigating the chicken-and-egg problem.

Photo by Valdemaras Januška on Unsplash

Once I start getting traction, word of mouth will do the rest. Right?

Wrong.

“Word of mouth is a powerful tool, but by itself does not constitute a network effect.” — M. Ward

Yes, the more friends you have on Facebook the better, but, the more friends you tell about Mailchimp the bett… not exactly; where’s your benefit?

So how do I keep building my network?

Make your current network better, focus on your community’s interests and ever changing problems. Steady community development is critical, it builds loyalty, and as a consequence, establishes stronger barriers to entry.

Don’t ask for features and upgrades. The community’s job is to give you problems, not solutions; if they give you features, find the underlying problem.

Adopt First Principle logic towards your community’s problems, think about the underlying issues being faced and form a clear breakdown of each problem, once that’s done, then you build.

Conclusions?

To build a network from scratch, constant hyper-focus on community needs are essential. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of pausing, asking the right questions to the right people, and providing them with tailored solutions.

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Alex Costa

Alex Costa

Things I’m passionate about: Product, Branding, Community & Content | alexcosta.me | Currently building Cleer — gocleer.com