What is the best way to market a small (i.e., one person) consulting business?

Here are 16 Case Studies that will Teach You How to Build Online Community for Your Business

1. Duolingo. Not everyone can contribute to the same degree in your community. Don’t make people feel inadequate because they can’t dedicate their lives to your cause. Instead, recognize all levels of commitment.

Here is Duolingo’s Playbook for Creating Community-Generated Content for over 50 Million Learners

2. DietBetter. If you’re building community around a sensitive topic, anonymity makes sense.

How Anonymity and Charging Members Helped DietBetter Achieve an 80% Engagement Rate

3. Foursquare. Foursquare uses a superuser community primarily to meet support goals. The big takeaway here: Pick one business case for your community, and start there.

An Inside Look at How Foursquare Built a 40,000-Member Superuser Community

4. MassRoots. This business has built a community of nearly 400,000 cannabis enthusiasts by giving to them generously — with events, the app they built, and tons of swag. Give generously.

How 325,000 Pot Smokers Changed Apple’s App Store Policies Forever

5. Moz. All of your community projects and products must serve a function. Decide who will own each function and let them own their own area.

How to Hire and Structure a Community Management Team: A Moz Case Study

6. Polyvore. Yes, you can growth hack community. Polyvore breaks it down.

15 Growth Hacks for Your Community from Polyvore’s CEO Jess Lee

7. reddit. The recent reddit controversy aside, if you go back to the days when Erik Martin was CM, his key lesson still holds true: to build a community, you have to delegate and give your power away. Stop getting in people’s way.

Distributed Control: How reddit is Taking the Management of Community Management

8. Telescope. You don’t need a ton of people to start a community. You need just a few close relationships. Then you can leverage these over time. Don’t think about scale before you have great tools.

What Open-Source Communities Can Teach Community Builders

9. Salesforce. Persistence is key in community building. Erica Kuhl worked for seven years to prove the value of community at Salesforce, and it has had enormous positive effects such as decreased costs, better products, and higher revenue.

How Erica Kuhl Proved the ROI of Community at Salesforce

10. Homework in a snap | Socratic. To build a community-centric product (e.g. a two-sided marketplace, a Q&A site), you have to invest wholeheartedly in your members. You have to be patient. Growth does not matter if you have the wrong members.

How to Build a Community-Centric Product from Socratic CEO Chris Pedregal

11. OurCrowd. Content strategy is the basis of community building. Content communicates your voice and tone, which over time build trust if consistent.

This is the Content and Community Strategy OurCrowd Used to Get 7,000 People to Invest over $100 Million

12. Quibb. In the earliest of days, you have to build relationships. Do things that don’t scale.

The 10 Unscalable Tactics Quibb Used to Build a Community of Highly Influential Professionals

13. Shapeways. If your community is meant to shape the direction of your product, you need a consistent way of sharing information and meeting on a regular basis to fuel your goals.

Product and Community: A Match 3-D Printed in Heaven

14. Twitch. In order to build a community of insanely passionate people, you have to hire someone who lives and breathes the dream of the community to build it. That person at Twitch is Marcus “DJWHEAT” Graham.

How Twich Won the Hearts and Minds of Millions in the Gaming Community in Just Three Years

15. Udemy. Pick one business value for your community to exist and optimize toward it ruthlessly.

How Udemy Increased their Instructor Engagement Rates 4X Using Facebook Groups

16. Yelp. Before you even think about building a community, know what your overarching brand stands for.

The Fascinating Psychology Behind the Yelp Elite Program

Download: 9 Unexpectedly Brilliant Books About Building Online Communities