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How To Build Community From Scratch
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How To Build Community From Scratch

by Greg IsenbergMay 8, 2021

I’ve help build internet communities that have generated hundreds of millions of members

The most often question I get asked is:

But Greg - how do I build a community from scratch?!

Here's what I usually say:


First, why you should care about community:

  • It's the best way to build a movement
  • It supercharges word-of-mouth
  • People want community more now than ever
  • Products built on-top of communities scale fast

If you unlock community, it's an unfair advantage

Img: @gapingvoid


Start small. Start tiny.

95% of communities can start as a simple group chat

A community only needs a shared purpose and a place to thrive

Don’t overthink it


Weak community leadership kills communities

6 qualities of high-performing community leaders I’ve noticed:

  1. Captivating
  2. Consistent
  3. Loud
  4. Obsessed with the mission/people
  5. Relentlessly helpful
  6. Sincere

Invite-only works

95% of communities should begin as waitlists. B2B or B2C. Doesn’t matter

Exclusivity and scarcity drives demand

Tip: waitlist communities outperform


Merch supercharges communities

You’d be surprised what designing incredible merch can do to a community

It gives them a “raison d’etre”

Example: @100Thieves

Tip: hire streetwear designers to design your merch


Get members where they want to go

The secret to community design: get members where they want to go (ie: milestones etc)

The best communities: move members


Who we are

I’ve never found a community that thrived that didn’t have a compelling “who we are” story

Key points:

  • Describe the future utopia
  • Describe the cause with passion
  • Amplify the real reason they exist

Tip: tighten your who we are story and terrific things happen


Not all founding members are equal

Example: Clubhouse recruited well-known tech people in April 2020 and gave them a virtual place to hang out

Tip: your first members set the tone. Choose wisely


Community/market fit

Founders obsess about product/market fit. But don’t obsess enough about community/market fit

How to build a startup in 2021:

  1. Community/market fit
  2. Product/market fit
  3. Scale

Design rituals

Being in a Zoom call together isn’t community building

The goal: Create daily/weekly rituals that make people feel alive and grateful to be apart of the community


Takeaways:

  1. Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong
  2. The long term win is in building a community
  3. Building a community is where art meets science. It's perfectly do-able

If you enjoyed this thread, share with your friends. The world needs more communities not less :)

Stay Awhile

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