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by Nick in General about August 29, 2011 open - report

How to grow your community?

I want to start series of questions useful for everyone who want to build a community. Development part is only a start. Building an community is a lot of hard work. For everyone with experience it's clean the paradigm "I'll build a cool community and users will come" does not work. Share how you have popularized your community or what do you plan to do to make it more active.

Answers: 4  •  Score 4  •  Views: 3106

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  • 6

    by Ric Mazereeuw about August 30, 2011

    Hey Nick, Thanks for the suggestion. Here's an excerpt from my book on this topic... Social networks need a critical mass of members to attract new members. No one wants to be the first person to arrive at a party, and coming across a nearly-empty social networking site isn’t that much more appealing. The truth is, you need members to attract members—it’s a Catch-22. But there’s a solution… The key to getting over this hurdle is to launch as a closed Beta: That simply means once the site is built and ready to go, you invite key people to get the party started before you open up your doors to the world. The first people you invite to join need to be your champions and supporters of the community, and hopefully also the trendsetters and first movers -- not just friends with placeholder accounts. Are there well-known personalities in the field? Bloggers who have a following? Getting them into your community can act as a catalyst for drawing others in with them. This was a key to the early success of Ravlery, the social network for fans of knitting and crocheting profiled in one of the bonus case studies. Co-founder Jessica Marshall Forbes was a long-time passionate blogger, part of the thriving crafts-focused blogging community that sprung up in 2002. She was frustrated trying to track down patterns for her own projects, so her programmer husband Casey Forbes chipped in to create an ever-expanding application to help her and her fellow bloggers keep track of and share their projects. Soon, Ravelry had become a small but active and passionate community before it ever went public, and the momentum hasn’t stopped. “The community was there,” says Jessica. “We didn’t build it.” In fact, Jessica and Casey purposefully kept Ravelry small and opened it only to a small circle of bloggers and friends, going so far as to ask her fellow bloggers NOT to publicize it on their own sites at first. When they were ready to expand, they gave each of the bloggers who were early members a handful of invitations that they could pass along to loyal readers and contacts. Right away, this created buzz, and demand swelled far beyond what the fledgling site could accommodate. 3,000 people requested invitations on their first weekend! That’s a great problem to have, and it was a result of Jessica being connected to a powerful group of knitting authorities. Once they promoted the site, they brought huge numbers of members with them. They got to make a compelling “exclusive” offer to their readers, who felt like they were getting into the club before anyone else. Once everyone was in the community, these founding members and bloggers became the de facto authorities, leading by example. Don’t be shy: As you develop the site, make a red-carpet list of influential first members you want to invite. Don’t specifically ask for coverage in their blogs or columns, but give them a sneak peek, and ask for feedback. The more involved they feel, the more likely they are to talk about your site when you launch, and get the word out to their own networks. If you do this because you want them to be part of your community—as opposed to just wanting their readers’ eyeballs—you’re likely to get much better cooperation and publicity when it comes time to open the floodgates.
  • 32

    by Sophy Reid about August 30, 2011

    I liked what this guy did:
    • Nick
      by Nick
      August 30, 2011

      Thanks for the link. Could you post some main ideas from this 20 min. video?

    • Sophy Reid
      by Sophy Reid
      September 1, 2011

      Basically, he set up a a group at LinkedIn back in 2009. The group started out from very small beginnings before going on to have over 3000 members. After a couple of months of running the group and inviting people to join in he wanted to bring something...  more

    • DianeFeeligo
      by DianeFeeligo
      January 25, 2012

      You have a valid point, Sophy but personally I feel that if you're creating a community and you want to really grow it, you have to at least be passionate about it before you can combine it for business purposes. If you're not passionate about it, you mig...  more

  • 34

    by The Meister Glenn about August 29, 2011

    Lets say you have a niche already and your friends also dig your niche. 1:1 or word of mouth will always be a good start... your circle of friends will always be your starting point, and then each will have their own circle of friends to invite until everyone overlaps.
    • Eugene
      by Eugene
      August 29, 2011

      It's a good idea if you have a lot of friends who share your interests and willing to help. However I've seen few times clients used this approach and user base stopped once on ~300 members, the other time on ~150.
      The method is good, but I won't suggest ...  more

    • DianeFeeligo
      by DianeFeeligo
      January 25, 2012

      I agree with Eugene. Getting your friends to sign up is a great start especially at the beginning when you're trying to get the community going and showing active members. Word of mouth is also a good way to go about it but you don't want it to just be a ...  more

  • 10

    by SunFlower about August 29, 2011

    The best method for community growing is to get your users to talk about you. The main rules are offer something new, fresh and updated. You need to ask them what they need and what they want, provide useful services. Social networks like Twitter allow you to get groups of people that are like-minded and connected to each other, to come over to your site. Also try to use SEO methods. As example, use blogs dealing with the topic of your community post there links and get interested visitors.
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