Recently, YEC spoke with Arash about his experiences building a community for customers and stakeholders in his business, and what others interested could learn about the process. His best advice is below.
Be Proactive and Contribute to Your Community
The total sum value of a community is much greater than the sum of all the individuals involved in the community. A strong community enables entrepreneurs to grow more efficiently and faster than they would on their own.
Networking, mentoring, keeping up with the latest trends and news, getting answers to your questions, and having a go-to place to leverage the knowledge of the community are just some of the benefits of a strong community.
A community is a collective of all individuals, and it’s a two-way street. It requires contribution and proactive involvement from all the members, as opposed to a list of customers or subscribers who are typically just consumers of the benefits.
Communicate the Community’s Mission
The No. 1 rule is for members to “feel” like they’re in a community. A community requires proactive and voluntarily involvement and participations from its members. For this to happen, members must feel that their participation will make a difference and that they will also receive benefits by being involved. In addition, there needs to be clear communication and expectations of the community’s mission, expectations and values.
The key to managing a growing community is having community leaders and ensuring that there is a technology platform to manage community interactions. Apps like Facebook groups and Yammer are great ways to get more involvement and to keep up to date with all events and interactions. Community leaders are then key for providing guidance and direction, as well as getting more participation from the individual members.
I would communicate benefits and expectations more clearly and concisely, as well as make more of an effort to onboard community leaders sooner in the process.
View Community Insights as Your Liquid Assets
The skills, expertise and values that you gain from a community and/or business relationship are liquid assets that you can view as your tools. You may not always have use for them right away or know exactly when and where they will become handy. But when they do, you’ll be glad that you can access them in your vault.
Determine Overlap Between Complementary Communities
The more communities people are involved in, the less time they will have available to dedicate to each community. However, if done right, a community can benefit from the membership of a member in another community. First, determine if the new community is complementary to the existing one or if it’s distinctively different. In building a new community, determine how much of an overlap the two communities will have and make sure there is enough value to both the community and its members. These members could potentially create a bridge to other communities, which will create a network effect.
Determine what your expectation is for being a member and where you can best contribute and receive value. Based on that, prioritize your commitment and split your time.