5. Build Your Own Platform
If I could start again from scratch, I would have focused almost exclusively on community building on our website instead of on social. When you build communities on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, it’s essentially rented space, and you have much less control over the conversation than on a private medium. On our blog, building a healthy community is more beneficial. It’s good for SEO, we can create many different kinds of content and conversations, and it also lets us infuse our brand identity throughout the whole community life cycle.
6. Help Others Feel Connected
We’re using our already existing community to come together for webinars. They’re not sales webinars, but rather a way for users to come together, learn tips for managing their own Hubstaff accounts and their remote workers, and feel more connected to our brand. After popular feedback we also started a facebook group for them to share stories and tips with each other. It’s great because they’re mostly small business owners and contractors whose experience using Hubstaff helps us further refine our product.
7. Let Growth Happen Organically
Insert yourself into the conversation and develop it until until mitosis occurs. Communities naturally grow and split off when niches develop and become more popular than the main community. Find the niche that appeals most to your interests, then engage with it and grow the conversation. Interact with participants in the niche, give them lots of interesting content and ways to participate and help it grow enough to the point where it organically splits off from the parent community.
8. Invite Cross-Collaboration
Encourage cross-collaboration between multiple communities so that participants naturally start doing what you have to do in the beginning. If you can get community members from different but related communities to talk to each other and to monitor their discussions, you’ve developed them into a place where they no longer need your constant management. Do this by sharing content from one community with another, by sharing their reactions and by inviting top contributors and key influencers from one community to participate in the others.
Dave Nevogt is a co-founder of Hubstaff, a time tracking software for remote teams. Hubstaff allows managers to see time spent on projects, screenshots, activity levels, in-depth reports and timesheets. Dave has been founding companies since 2004 with his first success coming at 23. Connect with @dnevogt on Twitter.
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