Any practical tips on building a community?

Bertha Kgokong
42 replies
My name is Bertha, I hail from Johannesburg in South Africa. I initially started my career as an Engineer, I had been doing it for over 15years when I decided to completely switch careers and start programming and coding. I am completely self-taught from online courses, programs, and on-the-job training. With that said, the dev house I founded has developed pretty amazing software over the years (in my mind). One of our latest products is Skhokho - Our Ship, upcoming page can be found here - have been learning a lot from this community, I read a lot of threads - trying to figure out how to get the most out of Product Hunt and prepare for a good enough product launch in the next couple of weeks. One of the things that comes out a lot in the discussions is - Building a Community. You hear it all the time - build your community, mailing list, and following. I would like to ask the guys who have been doing it for a long time or guys who have managed to build successful communities - how?👉🏾 How do you start from scratch👉🏾 Which platforms have worked best👉🏾 How do you keep your community engaged👉🏾 What daily, weekly practical steps do you take to actively build your community👉🏾 What worked, what did not work


Starting from the bottom. I will try to build on Twitter with advice / inspiration about design, let's keep in touch :)
Bertha Kgokong
@jacquelinclem Thank you for the advice, we have started on twitter. But how do you get from 0 twitter followers to say 50?
@berthakgokong my strategy for the moment is: - Follow bit account that do the same thing than me and interact with them (not spammy tweet, I mean, real interaction :) ) - Use hastags - Give to the community. Don't ask for review, support, share or anything else ... People follow you because they don't want to miss something or because you help them
Have a look at Pat Flynn - he's a content creator that I've learnt a lot from in terms of building communities and "superfans". Sadly you just missed his Audience Driven Summit which would've been very helpful.
Beatrice Kessler
@enderm Thanks for sharing! It shows ones again, that community building is a fulltime job... and not just one activity of going live... it reminded me, to take one step back and do it more strategically....
Debajit Sarkar
@enderm One of the most comprehensive link that I've come across. No fluff, just substance. Thank you for sharing.
Sharath Kuruganty
Betha, super inspiring to hear your story. Looking forward to seeing what you are doing to launch :) Coming to community building, it's a long game to play and from my experience here are some lessons according to your questions: 👉🏾 How do you start from scratch SK: Two things you need to do: Contribute and create. You have to find a niche and interact with them on a consistent basis. This niche can be on Twitter or other social platforms. The next thing is to create content that delivers value. That's how to get started from scratch. 👉🏾 Which platforms have worked best SK: I have heard a lot about Circle these days. Probably best one to start. 👉🏾 How do you keep your community engaged SK: By doing consistent things. Like organize events, create engaging content, find ways to make them interact with each other. 👉🏾 What daily, weekly practical steps do you take to actively build your community SK: Most important thing is to show up every day. And actively listen to what people want. From there try to make it happen. 👉🏾 What worked, what did not work SK: To make sure things work well you need to personally vet people who are givers and include them as part of the community. They are the ones who lead and form mini groups inside a community.
Margarita Shvetsova
We were thinking about building a community, and everyone I talked to/listened to advice, said: "You have to give value and be consistent. Be active and post useful things on regular basis, preferably daily. And a year or two later you'll have a great and active community". I tried to find a very good article about building a community, but seems I haven't saved it. There was an important piece of advice: post content across various platforms (Twitter, reddit, discord, linkedin, Slack communities, etc.) - because you don't know which channel will become the most successful for you - AND adapt your content to each of those platforms. Don't just post the same content on every platform, think about the preferences of reddit users, twitter users, etc. - they differ quite a bit. I know it's a lot of work - that's why I had to abandon this idea, as it's a long-term project which demands commitment... Anyway, I hope it won't discourage you and you'll find your way to build a thriving community :)
Bertha Kgokong
@margarita_s88 Consistency def comes up a lot. I try to be on as many platforms as possible, time is not always on my side, but dedicating an hour a day is my new strategy to be consistent.
David Z
Be careful not to confuse an audience and a community. I would first focus on building an audience. It is a good way to begin to develop credibility in the space you're in, and often a natural progression to a community will show itself. Some, but definitely not all, of your audience will convert into your community. The best success I've had at building an audience is through a newsletter. Leverage your friends/family/colleagues for initial signups, and try and grow from there. If the content is valuable, organic growth should do its thing.
Bertha Kgokong
@davidzee thank you for the feedback, I am definitely working on creating a newsletter. Will start with my Ship page subscribers and build on from there.
Audrey Lo
The hardest part and most exciting phase is building your initial community. These folks will be your greatest evangelists as well as your focus group to help you learn how to refine your product/service. I typically like to do a SWOT analysis and figure out who my target demo is. Then, look for the first movers and "connectors" in your industry and make sure you give them the greatest experience. They will eventually turn into your unofficial Ambassadors and bring their friends and communities into yours if they love your product/service. The platform really depends on the type of community you are trying to build. Engagement comes with authentificty and constant communication. There is no one right formula for daily/weekly steps as every community has their own pulse, but what I can say is that your community is your greatest asset - so talk to them, ask them what they need and what, treat them like people and not sales, and pivot when necessary.
Bertha Kgokong
@audrey_lo I agree that a community is going to be one of my greatest asset in the future going forward, so far the most consistent advice is consistency. Be consistent and start from the ground up, offering people what they need. Definitely agree -----
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David Prorok
Here are some principles that guide my decisions and actions: 1. "Build your community one relationship at a time." - Humans have trust issues. Humans have social anxiety. They need to know somebody before they trust them. Reach out to people, book a 20-30 minute video call, and really get to know them for who they are. THEN you can invite them to join your community. 2. "Spread love." - Act in a way that is outwardly loving. Genuinely care about people. Listen to them. Hold space for them. End every interaction with an impression of positive growth. 3. "Keep Shining." - Don't give up. Don't be afraid of rejection. Be who you truly are, and shine your light on the world.
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