Community-Led Growth: How to Build an Online Community Around Your Startup

In this day and age, building a community around your startup is becoming a crucial part of the startup's growth.

Before we dive into how you can build a community, let’s understand what exactly community-led growth is and why you need one for your startup.

What is Community-Led Growth?

Community-Led Growth (CLG) is a growth strategy of fostering a group of passionate customers who will actively advocate for your product and encourage others to try it out.

This kind of growth doesn’t just place value on the product or service. It also focuses on brand loyalty, trust, advocacy and building a strong relationship with consumers.

Community-Led Growth can be achieved by:

  • providing opportunities for easy consumer/brand interactions, 
  • providing community members with access to materials and resources,
  • facilitating Q&A sessions through real-time support,
  • feedback, and so much more

Reasons Why You Should Consider Community-Led Growth?

1. Customer feedback

Adopting community-led growth provides the opportunity for a startup to engage with its community members and get accurate and valuable feedback on products or services. The feedback provided allows the startup to continuously improve and meet the needs of the community.

2. Cost-effective

It is a cost-effective way to acquire new customers as it relies on word-of-mouth referrals and organic growth. Therefore, most business owners consider community-led growth as a free form of advertising. 

3. Brand Loyalist/Advocates

Testimonials and case studies are powerful marketing tools for acquiring new customers. With devoted community members (brand loyalists) you can be rest assured that they will happily drop reviews and testimonials which can be used to acquire both prospects and customers.

4. Peer Support

Communities provide opportunities for members to serve as a support group for new and existing customers who might have issues using or understanding the product. This helps to reduce the workload on the customer service/support team.

5. Competitive advantage

Having a strong and dedicated community is indicative of satisfied customers and a high level of brand loyalty, which gives your startup a competitive advantage.

Now that you know why you should have a community, you are ready to get started. 

So, How do you start a community?

1. Define your community goal

First, define what you intend to achieve with your community - Try to picture what the result will look like after you have developed an active community. 

After defining what you want to achieve, provide answers to the following questions:

  • How big should the community be?
  • Who will be the participants, in terms of age, occupation, views and interests?
  • What will attract people to your community? What will hold them back?
  • What topics will be discussed? And to what extent?

2. Choose a platform

The next thing you need to do is, decide where to host your community. Some of the popular platforms include; Discord, Telegram, Whatsapp and Slack just to mention a few. 

The platform you choose largely depends on:

  • your product type, 
  • your audience, and 
  • what you intend to achieve.

For example, if your product is a mobile app, you can integrate a community feature such as an in-app chat or activity feed. 

3. Create content

You need to create content for users to have something to discuss and interact about, or else they will leave almost immediately after they join. 

4. Continuously engage and retain community members

It is not enough to create a community – it is important to keep the members constantly engaged. 

Building a community is the easy part, but engaging and retaining a community is the real deal when it comes to achieving success with a community-led growth strategy.

Continuous engagement with community members will motivate these members to remain loyal to the brand and participate in its growth. 

Final Piece

An online community is not just a place where people with the same interests can hang out. It also serves as a powerful marketing tool for the promotion of your product and brand in general. 

However, you should be ready to put in the work so you can achieve whatever goal you intend to achieve with your community.

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