Finding new members to invite to the community.
If you’ve followed this far, Modules 1-3 have laid the groundwork for a fantastic party (er...community).
You’ve planned the menu, you’ve got a playlist, and you’ve invited some close friends to help put out the red Solo cups.
Before you start issuing invitations, make sure your community is magnetic, so that it is automatically built to attract people who will find it useful, entertaining, or beneficial to them.
Now it’s time to invite the gang over.
You should view membership growth like ripples in a pond, slowly spreading outward from the center.
Start with the core founding members. Ask them to invite people they think would find value in the community. Find a way to reward or recognize members who successfully invite other new members.
Empower members beyond the founding team to invite people too. Consider giving them key messaging to share about your community concept and value proposition.
Be proactive, and think about your niche. Consider where your niche fanatics are already hanging out online. Seek potential members proactively.
You might decide to partner with an existing audience that doesn’t have a home yet, like fans of a certain YouTube star or TV show.
Here are just a few of the offbeat places you might find community members:
- Professional organizations
- Twitter hashtag users (look for relevant hashtags and see who’s using them)
- Relevant Subreddit (just go in and be helpful, don’t poach)
- Sites that attract hobbyists, like Etsy or eBay
- Publications in your niche (look at who’s writing great comments)
- Book review sites (like Goodreads)
True story... we knew a community builder who got her first 100 members by printing up “business cards” for her community and distributing them at farmers’ markets. She went right to her niche audience and pulled them in!
Give visibility to your community by placing a primary navigation link on your website, if you have one. So many communities are buried somewhere in the footer or obscure third-tier navigation. Don’t do that to your shiny new social hub!