How to build community around a new product

David Abaev
5 replies
Curious how people go about building community around a new product. I'm sure there's no go-to way about doing this, but maybe someone here would like to share their story?


I suppose it's a combination of a bunch of marketing channels coming together. I mean, you've got your current customers - that's your e-mail list. Then you just produce content consistently. People will organically discover you and if they like what you do, follow you. Also remember, to build a community, it's not about the amount of followers, but the amount of relationships you build. Relationships become opportunities, while followers merely believe it's a one-way transaction. Good luck.
Erin Mikail Staples
Hey @david_abaev1 — Good question! In the past two years, we've really seen an explosion of product-led communities in the lexicon of the internet and subsequently the startup world. And this isn't a bad thing — this is what I've spent my professional community-building career working on! A common error or mistake made when we think about communities of product is we forget that these are communities first, and related to the product second. If I were starting from scratch with a new product and wanted to build community around it, here's how I'd approach it. **1. Understand WHY I want to build a community around the product** Too often we think about what the community will bring to us, promotion, product feedback, word-of-mouth marketing, and general brand awareness. And yes, these can be listed as reasons to build a community but at the end of the day — these aren't reasons to build a community in itself. Communities rely on connection and trust between their members, and too often we forget about this. In order to foster connection and trust, we must come with a giving mindset —how are we giving back to the community? This can be exclusive features, opportunities, or places to showcase and feel heard for their work. **2. Do your research** Do the people *want* a community? Is this something they're even open to? We quickly forget that not every brand is suitable for a community — think of products like cold medicine, bandaids, or kleenex — yes these are physical products, but we can draw a parallel in people who purchase cold medicine are not likely to want to discuss the ins and outs of their colds or what color their boogers are that day. Granted, this is a bit of a silly example, but you get my point. What common problem or interest are you solving? Is this one that would benefit from a community? Have you talked to people who have this common problem or interest? What other communities are out there? Who is relevant. **3. Consistency + clear expectations ** As Pascio put it below — consistency is key, but going to add on one more thing, clear expectations. Consistency in where you're posting updates, and how you're connecting. Too many times I've seen product forums abandoned, discords become barren wastelands, or newsletters neglected (I've also been guilty of some of them as well). If you start a community — how can you be so boringly consistent with it. Clear expectations are also key — one thing unique about communities of products is that you also see it becoming yet another channel for support. And again, this isn't a bad thing, but are you or your team ready for this to be another support channel. Even if you put 100x that this isn't a support channel — its VERY hard to get this practice actually enforced. Setting clear expectations of what the community is, and is not will help you as you think through it, and these clear expectations can also tell you more about what your team should be doing to foster this community in the most delightful ways. Good luck! I'm excited to see what you create! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions I'm happy to chat more and love nerding out about this!