The 10-Step Process to Build a Thriving Community from Scratch - Deepstash
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Onboarding Matters

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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 Engagement Cycle.

This is why most communities fail before they even begin. A company needs to establish these four elements if they are to have people’s engagement. 

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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.

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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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Move to Scalable Online Platform

  1. Identify Founding Members For An Online Platform: Having established the group’s foundation, provide a scalable platform for the community to interact more efficiently and find others regularly. To get your online community started, pick the ideal members in your community for that.
  2. Earn Trust: Because of your efforts in previous steps the members already trust the community. Now, get feedback from them so when you launch in the new platform they’ll be motivated to participate.
  3. Fuel Online Participation: Invite the selected members and be the first to add content that members can respond to. This way new members don’t have to be the first to post and you facilitate interaction and set the example for how to use the platform properly. Also, ask members to post and answer to posts if things are slow in the beginning.
  4. Reward: Collect feedback and ensure users who had time to experience the platform are getting value out of their participation so they will come back. If they aren’t, learn from that.
  5. Grow: Once there’s a good amount of content on the platform, you or the other members can bring in new members. But do so slowly to not undermine the high-quality environment you’ve created by curating the right people and building relationships between them.

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