Here’s an inside look at Getting Started On Honeycommb. We connected with BoogieZone founder, Elm Pizarro (@ElmBoogie) on his launch of Boogiezone with Honeycommb. In re-establishing and reinvigorating his social network it was important to think about a few critical strategies and tactics to excite and ignite his network.
Our Approach To Community
Building a community, a really solid one with a healthy foundation that nurtures growth takes time, dedication and above all – a burning passion. It isn’t going to be easy and will require you to question your intention, define your point and purpose and challenge you to figure out the psychology behind what actually brings people together. It sounds kind of deep, but it really is a simple concept. I believe that this right here is where the heart of community lies. The key to growing community is to offer your members a sense of BELONGING. So how exactly can this feeling, this vibe be created? Allow me to take a moment to share a few ideas I have discovered along the way to building Boogiezone with Honeycommb!
When we started Boogiezone – YOUR online dance community connection – (EST. 2003) almost 18 years ago, our platform of choice was a web based discussion forum. The mission of Boogiezone is to provide a safe and encouraging virtual space, a communication hub for dancers to come and feel connected to other dancers from all around the globe.
Ultimately, what we are trying to do is create an experience for every user that leaves them inspired! Nobody wants to feel alone on their life’s journey to achieving their wildest hopes and dreams, so imagine being able to do that with the help and support of a community who shares that in common and can understand your struggle!
We would have never thought that we would be where we are now – congregating on a downloadable app designed for a phone!
What did you prioritize in getting started on Honeycommb?
As with almost anything, getting started is usually the hardest part. Maybe you are consumed with doubt, fear of failure, comparing yourself to others, or feel uncertain of what approach to take? You want it to be perfect, right? I would just say just go with your gut feeling and trust your process. Some of the things we prioritized when we started was to solidify the concept, or at least have a good understanding of what we wanted the community to provide. Like, what’s your mission or purpose? Listing out some benefits and figuring out what value you want to offer your community is a good starting point.
At the same time, it is also very important to remember who your audience is and who you are trying to reach. Next, jot down some short term goals and brainstorm on the more long term vision for where you want your community to go!
How did you prepare your brand for launching a community?
If you are going for sustainability and scalable growth for your community, I highly recommend you set up a strong aesthetic aka identity (a logo, a mission, a look) that is recognizable and impactful. Brand Identity needs to stand the test of time, and visually speaking its ok if your logo goes through iterations and evolves as you go.
The core of what your community stands for should be solid before launching. Make sure your purpose is clear and try not to confuse your members by being general or vague with what your community provides. Some quick advice, if you don’t call yourself an artistic or creative person and need help, be resourceful and ask for assistance. A professional designed logo, and marketing materials go a long way. Involve others in the process because creating community is about sharing after all.
What experience did you want to create for new users?
At Boogiezone, ensuring that everyone who joined felt welcomed and open to being themselves is our first priority. New members are like gold! The experience we wanted to create for new members revolved around this notion and started there. What does it feel like to go to a physical place for the first time, and not know anyone? Well it should happen the same for a virtual place!
We try to simulate the same feeling you would get from meeting someone in person and hopefully strike a genuine connection. For this reason we welcome everyone with a nice personal message, expressing gratitude and excitement for their contribution. If anyone posts, or comments, we make sure to interact back so that they do not feel alone. In essence, if you are a community leader, it is your responsibility to be a guide – so offer good guidance. It’s great to offer some tips and direction (like a video tutorial or some how-to articles) on what they could do in your community. Realize that as a new member, learning how to navigate a new platform can be overwhelming so offering guidance encourages engagement. Try to leave your members with the impression that you care that they are members and are here for them!
What’s your approach to keeping your users excited and engaged?
We are still experimenting with all of the different ways of how to keep our users excited and engaged, but have discovered so far that our members like it when we propose various prompts or questions that help stimulate discussion. We have started to feature at least one new topic each day in order to keep our community fresh! The same goes for everything that relates to social media and creating a following. What you need is content, content and more content!
Closely watch what your members post and if there is anything worthy of featuring or turning into a feature, go for it.
This also makes everyone work to figure out how to get in the spotlight. If not outright, maybe subconsciously? It creates a healthy competition. In addition to scouring the internet for events, articles and cool videos to share on our platform, we plan to create original material exclusive to the Boogiezone community. Make sure to always bring value to your members and they will come back often, helping to spread the word for others to join!
How did you tell people about BoogieZone?
When we first started Boogiezone in 2003, word of mouth was the primary way to spread the news. That and email blasts! It worked, but it was a slow grueling process. We sponsored and appeared at so many dance related events with the goal of gathered emails. Our job also soon became managing contacts and lists!
Back then it took us 4 months to gain 100 members and today it took us only 4 days to reach 500!
We didn’t have the convenience and the power of “sharing” like we do today. All you have to do is hit the paper plane icon and off it goes! It’s incredible. Nowadays, because social media is the most prevalent way to spread information try to leverage the following you have on your other platforms like twitter, instagram, facebook etc.
Our strategy is to phase up our marketing to coincide with our network/circle. We started inviting our inner circle of close friends first, second – our supporters, then moved to close acquaintances. The next layer includes those who we don’t know personally but would love to have (primarily influencers in our niche).
We want to collaborate, create partnerships, get some sponsorships and eventually reach the dance masses-at-large. So far, we have relied solely on personal invites through DM’s. We have our first email blast positioned to send in the next day or so. We haven’t budgeted for any paid advertising just yet, but understand that in order to get to exponential growth we will need to invest and budget in marketing. We are confident in what our community has to offer to the dance world, so it will just be a matter of time before we eventually reach our maximum potential.
In conclusion, building a community will require absolute passion, persistence and patience. It’s going to be a process, so enjoy your journey!
Big, big shout out to the developers at Honeycommb for creating the perfect platform for us to continue growing the Boogiezone community.Elm Pizarro
Leverage the power of building with Honeycommb, the opportunity and potential for your community’s greatness is now more of a possibility than ever!
Honeycommb is the best consumer-grade, complete, user capture and engagement solution in the world that gives you total control and ownership over all data and content in your custom social network.