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Community Building 101: The Basics

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/community-building-101-the-basics_b_8038140

huffpost.com

Community Building 101: The Basics
You can spend weeks attending events, meetups, and happy hours and never find one real community. It turns out bringing people together into a room, bar, or event space isn't enough. When your biggest take away from an event is some combination of forced conversation, boredom, and pizza, all you've found is exasperation and carbs.

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On Communities

Communities are inherently different from networking organizations. Communities are networks with shared ideals or demographics. People concentrate on building relationships rather than using each other.

Nevertheless, communities form around untapped desires and you’ll have the opportunity to monetize it, expand it, or at the very least improve your personal network.

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Strategies To Build A Community

Strategies To Build A Community
  • Build community around ideas to attract people and help your community to stand out.
  • Fix what others are doing wrong. If you’re interested in an area inundated with bad networking options a solution we will attract people.
  • Connect around shared experiences. Find something different about you that doesn’t have a local community. Search for specific similarities in groups over which you can immediately form a bond.
  • Segment an existing group by finding a niche in existing networks. It’s easier and less competitive to build community at the cross-section of multiple interests.
  • Change the mode of connection by ditching traditional meet ups, like happy hours and conventions. Do instead a fun activity based encounter, like playing a game.

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Tips To Begin Building A Community

  • Get your minimum viable community out.
  • Most groups will probably need at least a location.
  • If your company or office are adequate, bring people in. It’s probably good for the company’s brand. If not, heading to a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant is better than nothing.
  • If your event has direct costs, reach out to the provider and ask for discounts. The steady business you will bring will make up for it.
  • Figure out how to market and promote it. The Internet and social networks are often the best ways.
  • Put yourself and your ideas out there, trying won’t cost you anything.

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Attracting Guests

Attracting Guests
  • Reach out directly to your friends
  • Submit your event to local event aggregators.
  • Post it on existing digital communities on Reddit or Facebook.
  • Make sure event’s unique value proposition is clearly defined, letting potential readers filter your signal through the noise.
  • Avoid paid promotions as they are often ineffective.

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Setting Your Community’s Culture

Setting Your Community’s Culture

Use your body language deliberately to set the tone and people will unconsciously adopt and spread your attitude. If you have speakers, ask them to buy in as well and if people aren’t buying in, that’s okay. They’ll self-select out.

Also, your community needs to be safe. Your guests can cross the line and you need to be watchful for that. Make it clear inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Community Engagement Cycle

Community Engagement Cycle

In contrast to existing communities, new ones lack a social identity, an established way of participation and assurances of reward or value. These are the foundation of the Community Engagem...

Why People Sign Up To A Community

  1. The community aligns with their identity.
  2. They trust that the community will bring them value.
  3. They know how to participate.
  4. There is a reward (intrinsic or extrinsic) for their participation.

Build the Foundation of Community

  1. Form the a community’s Identity: Carefully choose 10 potential members who fit the community identity you envision. They’ll set the standard of quality and the tone for everyone else.
  2. Earn Trust: The members can’t trust a community that doesn’t yet exist, but they can trust you. Connect with them, bring them value and ask for feedback.
  3. Fuel Participation: Start to build trust between the members. Their trust in you will translate to trust in each other, and in the group as a whole.
  4. Reward: Ask if the experience was valuable and if members felt rewarded for their participation. This gives them extra validation and lets you know what to fix if you need to retry.
  5. Repeat Steps 1-4: Invite new members and give existing members the opportunity to invite someone new. As the base of the group begins to settle it creates a sense of belonging and makes people more likely to invite others who will fit the group.

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Network Effects

Network effects are the unseen forces that are guiding our destiny and exerting a powerful intervention on our lives, creating energy that escorts us down a path that is not always fully our intent...

Zipf's Law

Zipf's law is a mathematical probability that states that in a given set, the most frequently used data value (or word) is used twice as often as the next most common value. This is true in various statistical sets like income distribution in companies, internet traffic, phone calls received, and language.

One of the implications of this law is there are unconscious network forces and mathematical patterns governing our lives, with human beings just being nodes exchanging information.

Dinner Party Mathematics

When six to eight people are conversing at a dinner party, it is easy to focus on one conversation, but if the number is higher (say 15), then two-way conversations are more likely.

When groups get larger, the change is exponential, not linear, affecting one's social experience.

Be prepared

Most of the time, there will be a list of attendees available for you to browse before an event. This is your chance to develop pre-connections.

Check out their LinkedIn profile, find ...

Let people know your movements

Use your social networks to tell everyone how excited you are to network and where and when they can meet you. 

Don’t forget, you’re giving up your time to attend this event so you need to take something from it.