Community is the greatest asset for any product
Recently, I met Anirudh Warrier, a passionate community builder, ex-HackerEarthian on a community call. He is also a mental health ally, leading a Non-profit org, Citta India, as Head of Growth.
From my observation, every community builder has some experience in diverse fields. Anirudh also has experience in Product Design, Mental Health, and Tech Evangelism. Understanding the Community becomes easier when you explore and learn people. Because in the end, you have to build a product for the people and not for yourself.
He is currently working as Developer Marketing Manager at SAWO Labs, a Passwordless Authentication tool. His primary focus is to understand the Developers and improve the tool experience.
Researching about UX, Design thinking helps build products that are compelling to use and habitual for users. Every community manager must learn to bridge the gap by analyzing what community needs and what should be avoided.
Is Community a funnel for acquisition?
The Old Approach
Earlier, many communities and organizations acquired users for the product by funneling. It gives away the entire space and sets up the constraints for further processes by the organizations. This is a big mistake by many budding products and can also have higher chances of shifting from a community-centric approach.
Shows some good metrics
Looks promising at the beginning
Heads towards an inorganic audience
Less scope of Engagement
Diverts the entire product roadmap
Community is a Loop
To build a community-centric product, community has to be stronger more than anything! It plays a vital role in the entire journey of the product.
Visitors/ Sign-ups might be high, but not many of them would be community members. Eventually, there wouldn't be any dynamic product evolution. But this can be quickly resolved when you make your community a loop and not a funnel.
Why Community is a Recurring Loop?
Let us take an example of 100 members, with 20 of them interested in a selected activity. If you take feedback from all of them, only one quality feedback may precisely match the company's vision. So, you can deprioritize the other feedback/ feature requests and proceed with the one you picked. All visitors are not community members in reality. There are three major activities in this loop: Acquisition, Engagement, and Revenue.
This phase will also give you an idea of the user group to be acquired for your product. In the acquisition phase - you find your "actual" community members.
Engaging the Community is the most crucial aspect of any product. In this phase, exclusive value-based content should be given to the acquired community members. This can be in the form of events, AMAs, Expert content, or anything that helps an individual member scale and stay with you.
Remember to make the community "exclusive", not inclusive. Otherwise, This will cause delayed product updates in the future due to slower community growth.
In this phase, we can see the outcome of the community-centric product. Quality Acquisition and Valuable Engagement are the significant determinants. Here is where the Community starts to give back on its own. A Community can be either a USP for you or the direct consumer of the product. So these help in creating a revenue model which benefits the entire Community, and revenue increases organically.
And it takes time, and you need to keep churning out more cycles of Acquisition and Revenue specifically.
What do you get in return from this loop?
More matured Community.
Dynamics of the product become faster and scalable.
Any individual does not set the constraints.
Values replace the constraints
Hit the Sweet Spot
If you have ever used Dunzo app, it has eye-catchy notifications - aka sweet spot; it helps deliver the message and value to the users. It is not traditional "marketing", but the conclusion is that the users should connect with the product very quickly. Dunzo's creative approach increased their open rates by 40%, directly contributing to their revenue model. It can be something that differentiates your product.
The Community also works similarly. Product is only one part of what you want to build.
Three checkers to hit the sweet spot
Will the Community care about my product? (product)
Can the product add any kind of value for the Community? (value)
What am I trying to convey to my community at the moment? (messaging)
Make your messaging part - creative and connecting. Make 2/10 people very special, and let them do the evangelism for you. The Messaging part should focus on a particular set of high-quality users and connect with their thought processes.
How to leverage communities
As an individual community member, you can leverage the power of communities by giving value. This section is exclusively for community enthusiasts to get started in this ecosystem.
####1. Have your niche, double down on it
Contribute to one great Community which connects you instead of joining so many communities and staying inactive.
####2. It's a two-way street
If you're jumping into channels just for the resources, swags, or LoRs- then it will ultimately take you downwards.
####3. Collaborate within the Community
Connect with people, help each other by answering queries and respond by sharing thoughts.
####4. Build a social presence
Convert your activities into a meaningful social media post that helps you to boost your network.
Get started to enhance the community experience.
We have learnt that communities are the heart of the product. It is essential to keep an eye on effective engagement and acquisition of members. Giving actual value to the Community plays a massive role in improving the product experience. The Internet has enabled De-centralization, Remote communities, and digital sustainability.
Aviyel is on a mission to scalable and monetizable avenues, and you can learn about opensource projects which can turn into potential products with the power of Community.
Get early access to our beta community and make your first step to building sustainable Opensource projects.