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Any Hacks for Building a Community around your startup?

Hi,

Myself Karthik. I am the founder of My Dream Store – a platform where individuals can create & sell merchandise online with zero upfront costs/ hassles.

We’ve built a community around our campaigners (people who sell on our platform). It’s a basic facebook group where all these campaigners joined & they discuss about the issues/ suggestions they’ve. It’s 3000 member strong. We’ve got a couple of rockstar employees who are currently managing the community & trying to engage them. 

I am pretty sure many of you have experiences/learnings in building a community around your startup. We would love to learn best hacks you follow while building the community.

@Asha – would be very much eager to hear from your experiences in building TRHS! 🙂

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  1. karthik, karthik, karthik!!

    i’m so guilty of not been able to share anything on my fav topic!! i have compiled lots of pointers just haven’t got down to put them all together 🙁 

    first of all pls go through these links – 

    alok’s lessons on building trh in a webinar – 

    https://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/alok-on-lessons-learnt-while-building-an-online-community-the-sto

    kaanchan’s summary of the webinar

    https://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/fifteen-not-so-secret-tips-to-building-a-community

    and akshay & i did a chat show with prateek shah (all of us are cms)

    https://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/learn-to-create-online-communities-with-two-rockstar-rodinhooders

    i’m doing a session on june 5 in pune on my learnings at 24ADP – SO I WILL BE DOING A PPT FINALLY!!! will share for sure 🙂

    https://therodinhoods.com/events/24adp-digital-marketing-conference-2016-pune

    i would’ve really loved to come down to hyd and sit with you and your team to see this through! (anything to visit hyd and have biryani!!) but i’m in the middle of doing up our new apt and also need to shift before school re-opens! so…. 🙁

    i will list down some quick stuff for you though – TODAY! pakka promise!!

  2. okay i’m back!

    karthik – the best thing you’ve done is got them all together on fb. that’s the cheapest and easiest way to manage an online community.

    now i’d also like to ask you a question – WHY DO YOU WANT TO BUILD THIS COMMUNITY? just because you have 3k users? or have you thought of what you wanna do with them? the objective and purpose should be very clear. otherwise there is no point.

    i know folks who want to build a community to make it a part of their marketing mix – to target a very niche crowd. but pls bear in mind, it’s easy to start a community but very very difficult to keep it engaged (for which someone has to keep nurturing it pretty much ALL THE TIME! yeah – so no hacks!!). so i would suggest pls be clear on the objective.

    any group needs to have common interests for them to want to hang out and share stuff with each other. (“entrepreneurship & startups” is what ties us all together on trh – people who have online stores, generally like to check out the ecom section first!)

    you might want to create sub groups/circles of users of common interests (i don’t think this is poss on fb right now) but you can even create separate gps as well that cater to a particular interest and get the users of that interest to start becoming active on that gp! have one of your rockstar team members be an admin – but also get some rockstar users to pitch in and nurture the separate gps of common interests – that way you will also create some brand ambassadors without having to invest in separate resources. 

    eg. you could have a gp for designers or people who love art and garima could take charge along with some users. they could share common stuff amongst themselves and whatever is relevant to the entire 3k gp could be posted there as well. (OR if you think your 3k users all have common interests – stick to one fb gp! whatever is easy to manage!)

    also, karthik, why don’t you edit this post and share what you’re doing and where you are getting stuck. your question is super broad and if you can list some queries – some of us can keep answering them. 

  3. karthik,

    also try and get people to connect offline. go out on a picnic! or a theme park! that will help you bond with your “community”. or get some interesting speaker over and have everyone interact with that person. anything informal. amazing bonding happens at our meetups (as you know) and open houses!

    prateek has meetups of his smile spreaders in public parks – they play cricket together, do a potluck and lots of other fun stuff. 

    in fact, why don’t you all go for a movie and grab coffee after that – the marvel movie is perfect – civil war – captain america!!

  4. First of all there is no hack to community building. The investment is man hours and personal care.

    I think define the target group that you wish to reach out to. In your case, I think you seek creative people who wish to make things. NIFT and the sorts are great breeding grounds for the same. Find a means through which you can engage them, with a non-business motive. This is critical to building a community. If not, what you are trying to build is not a community, but a sales channel which will not perpetuate. 

    Start holding meets in places where you can find your target group. Develop a means by which you can channel them towards your website.

  5. Thanks Asha for tagging me 🙂 

    Hey Karthik, its really nice to see a fellow entrepreneur looking into building a community. 

    Well, let me say one thing here: there is no hack to building a community..its a long tedious process with no shortcuts. 

    With that said, how you grow your community is totally up to you. I would say, empower your users, and give them enough value that they bring others with them. Easier said than done, I know 🙂 

    Read Gary Vaynerchuk (JJJRH) on providing value, Rob Fitzpatrick (TheMomTest) for asking questions and Dan Heath, Chip Heath (Made to stick, Switch). None of these books are about building communities but I believe all of them have a lot of offer for community managers/builders. Other than that, hangout in a lot more communities and see what your audience really cares about, that helps a lot. 

    Feel free to ping me on @natwar86 anytime and I will be happy to help more 🙂 

  6. If you can provide value content to whom you are targeting, you don’t need any hack!

  7. Your site looks like a e-com shop.

    Where is the community?

    What makes me feel like I even BELONG?

    Visit therodinhoods home page and see what you see?

  8. alok – karthik’s community is on his facebook group! mydreamstore enables tee designers to become entrepreneurs!! 

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