Getting started and launching can sometimes feel daunting or something you put off – but it doesn’t need to be! You can set yourself and your community up for future success by nailing the basics. Read our guide below to help get your community off the ground.
Establish Your Community’s Purpose & Audience
When you are first creating your community, it’s important to decide its purpose: Why does your community exist? What is your goal? Next, you should outline your community’s People: Who are your members? Defining these now can inform your approach to building and growing your community.
If you’re forming this community for the first time, use a resource like CMX’s 7P’s of Community to dive deeper into the purpose & people (and the other 5 P’s!) to help define your community and the beginnings of your community strategy.
Configure your Community Settings in Honeycommb
Before you can invite the first members to the community, you need to configure the basic settings in your Honeycommb Control Center. Honeycommb supports both web-based communities as well as standalone Android and Apple iPhone apps; our launch checklists below will help make sure you don’t miss a critical detail before launch:
- Web Community Launch Checklist
- Honeycommb’s Full Suite – Web, Android, and Apple App Launch Checklist
Here are some features you won’t want to skip:
Groups are a great way to create spaces for your members. When you’re first launching the community, try to focus on a minimum number of Groups. Create the groups you absolutely need to drive toward your community and business goals while also always offering groups that create value (or fun!) for your members.
- Custom Fields – Collect information about your members or add custom fields to be displayed on a user’s profile. Add a question or collect data when new users sign-up for your community.
Custom Automations using Zapier & Webhooks
- Use Zapier & Webhooks to integrate Honeycommb with your favorite Email Provider, CRM, or even Google Spreadsheets!
Invite Your First Members – Start Small
In the first several days and weeks of your community, things will be a bit slow. You will have to create a lot of the content, and it will take some time to get familiar with how to best utilize all of the features available. Don’t focus on a big splashy launch. Instead, it’s best to start small with a group of people to help you start the community. Invite users to help “beta test” or create your community. Reach out to them for feedback. Encourage early users to explore the community and post different types of content.
Your first group of users can be as small as 5-10 people; it does not have to be many! Your goal is to help add content and activity before sharing the community with the world or market it to a broader group. Once you have some activity and feel comfortable with what you’re seeing, invite an additional 20, 50, or 100 people. Each time you invite these first groups of people, it’s essential to make sure there is content and activity for these new members to engage with.
Curate Great Content & Create Conversation
New members of your community need to be inspired. They need to learn more about your community and the types of content they’ll see there. Curating content for your community, like Featuring a Post at the top of your community’s home feed, is a crucial aspect of community building. Showcase great content in your community, put the spotlight on stuff you want to see more of. Members of your community will learn from others and try to mimic successful posts.
Create inviting conversations and safe spaces for discussion to create opportunities for new & old members to become engaged. Community building expert & author Carrie Melissa Jones recently shared how to create engagement by personally inviting members to participate in relevant discussions:
Periodically posting conversation starters can also be a great way to create engagement. For example, at the start of each month, you can ask everyone to introduce themselves in the comments of a Featured Post. Or something as simple as asking members what their favorite movie is – it doesn’t have to be serious. Sometimes it’s better to include something goofy! Each time you’re creating these conversation starters, look for opportunities to reinforce the value of your community – what are those conversations that people can only have here?
Growing Your Community
There are many channels and tactics for growing your community. FeverBee has created a list of the best channels to grow your community, including search content, social media outreach, and email newsletters. Leverage the tools and assets you have already, like your email list of customers or member contacts. If you’re using social media for marketing, use the platforms that best suit your audience. As you explore additional spaces online for growth, target those places where your audience is already hanging out online.
App Store Optimization – Honeycommb’s full-suite customers can also grow their community by optimizing their app store listings on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. By optimizing your Apple & Android app’s app store presence, it’s possible to grow your community by hundreds or even thousands of users per month for free! Learn more about App Store Optimization.
Always keep experimenting with several different approaches to creating growth and engagement. What works best for you and your community will change over time, or new opportunities may come up that create new paths to success. Be flexible, experiment, and always try to learn how to improve your community for your members.
Good luck! If you get stuck or need help with your Honeycommb community, please reach out to our Community Success team at email@example.com