How I created a community in 24hrs with no marketing

I was having problems with two things:

  1. Finding engaging Slack communities to join
  2. Finding early customers for an app i’m working on

I know, two completely different realms of problems, but they were both solved through one solution that generated over 20k page views, 280 active community members, and in only 24 hours (with no marketing).

Part 1: SlackList.info

I wan’t satisfied with the Slack community resources that were available. So I decided to make my own, and it was called Slack List.

The Slack List homepage

When the website was ready to ship, I had a buddy post it to Product Hunt at 6am. It quickly took over the number one spot, and sustained that ranking throughout the day. First we hit the 100 club, then the 200, 300, 400, eventually reaching the 500+ club by the end of the day.

SlackList taking the #1 spot on Product Hunt

The reaction to the website was great. It got a ton of support through twitter, a lot of awesome comments on Product Hunt, and the traffic to the website was pretty sweet too.

Website traffic from Product Hunt
Total page views in the first week

The website was getting about 60–80 users at any given time. The grand total was over 20k total views in it’s first week, and it continued to grow to around 70k total views to date. It was even picked up by other publications like CodeCondo and UpStarted. Not too shabby for a weekend hack project.

Twitter love!

Now the best part about launching a product like this is that it’s a community driven product. I was able to help many of these Slack communities grow, substantially. I had many community moderators tweeting me saying they had hundreds of new signups!

So my first problem was solved. Not only did I scratch my own itch of finding Slack communities, but I solved this problem for a lot of other people.

Now on to my second problem — finding early customers for an app i’m working on…

Part 2: #gaming Slack Community

Here’s where the real magic happens.

I’m building Leet — an app for gamers to discover and share the best gameplay highlights (/plug). I wanted to create a community of gamers that I could leverage to get early feedback for Leet.

So before submitting SlackList.info I created a Slack community called #gaming, put together a Typeform for signups, and threw that sucker right at the top of SlackList.

#gaming a the top of Slack List

Genius? Yes. Evil? Don’t be rude. Did it work? Oh hell yes.

Like many other Slack communities listed on SlackList, #gaming saw a lot of traffic. My signup form saw over 170 signups in the first day. I only wish I had set up the Slackin app, as I had to add each member manually…

The next morning I invited all the users in bulk, and the community began to roll-on-in. My Leet co-founder Mo sent me a text, inducting me officially into the internet wizardry hall-of-fame.

It was true, we did create a Slack community out of thin air. The community has continued to grow, and now has over 800+ gamers!

The experiment was a success. Not only did we create a community that was in-line with our target audience, but we created a community that allowed others to share and promote their own projects, get feedback, and discuss what they’re passionate about.

When we launched our private beta it was quick and easy to onboard members from the #gaming group, and the feedback we’ve received so far has been fantastic.

What I Learned

Finding early customers is not easy

Finding early customers is not as easy as posting something on Reddit and hoping for the best (though sometimes it can be). Getting to your early customers is about thinking creatively and maybe even a bit evil-geniusey.

Community management is hard work, but it’s worth it

I never realized how much time and effort it took to run a community.

As a moderator it’s important to continually be active and bring people out of their shells in the early days. You will find your community evangelists in the first couple of days, and these people will help carry the community overtime.

So make sure you have the time allocated in order to nurture your community before you embark on this type of journey.

Don’t sell

One thing I made sure not to do was sell my app right off the bat. You need to get to know your community, make friends, share cat GIFs, and then start talking product. Remember, these people aren’t just potential customers, they’re friends. I also created a #startup channel for people to promote their own products.

Our dedicated cat-gifs channel

Interested in joining the #gaming community? Sign up here.

If you enjoyed reading this, consider recommending this article and following me on Medium. You can also find me on Twitter.

Leet is a platform for gamers to discover and share the best gameplay highlights.

Browse killer highlights in the home feed, or upload your own by simply connecting your YouTube or Xbox accounts, then trim and share your best gameplay moments.

Leet is built for gamers, by gamers. Sign up for the beta to get early access!