To flicker your community, you got people together and helped them start talking. STAY WITH IT! You also helped your early members to keep coming back. Congrats! But as your community starts growing beyond its early memberships, the real challenge will be to make sure you’re constantly attracting new folks and encouraging a shared sense of identity. It doesn’t happen so smoothly. Because new folks need to be genuinely excited about your shared purpose or they’ll never want to come to your community.
You obviously can’t push your potential members through a marketing funnel, expecting them to do what you want them to do and when.
That’s a terrible approach, no doubt.
But what you can do is - instead of a push, create a pull. Work with your members to collectively send a clear, authentic message of what your community is all about.
Does that seem a bit overwhelming? Don’t worry. We’ll take you through a number of steps and strategies that will help you to power your community with new folks coming in.
Here are the steps you can start doing to attract new members to the community:
Step 1: Craft your origin story
Step 1 in attracting new members is establishing your original story. This story will give both existing and potential members the language they need to explain what your community is and why it was formed in the first place.
But keep in mind, the story isn’t just about you!
Marshall Ganz, a senior Harvard lecturer lays down a framework that will help you to tell the stories that will motivate others to join a “cause”.
#1 Tell the story of “self”.
Make it personal. Describe the moment that you started on the path to rally your community. What made you start caring? Bring it to life with personal details.
#2 Tell the story of “us”.
Show it’s bigger than you. What do you believe is made possible when this community comes together. This is also your community’s purpose, btw.
#3 Tell the story of “now”.
What’s one small, immediate way someone can get involved (e.g attend a meetup, signup for a newsletter, sign a petition)? Why should they do it now? Create the urgency that will make members feel the pull to get started the right way.
Step 2: Make this story available to your members
Once you are satisfied with your story, the next step is to serve your story to anyone who’s curious about what your community is about. Be fearless to share your story in one-on-one conversations with strangers, newcomers, and other potential community members. You can create an online version of your original story. To start off you can consider asking your members “How did you hear about us?”.
This will give you a medium to share your story in a way that will resonate in all those places and formats. Based on how people are finding you, transform the story into a blog post or an engaging video that visitors to your social media can watch.
When people feel like part of a community, amazing things can happen - Imran Tariq, CEO Of Webmetrix Group.
The above line explains it all, as we always grow in a community, it must be important for you to understand how you shall grow your members from 0 to 5 to 20 to 50 to 200 to 500 without losing out on engagement quality. In our experience, have new member perks as well as participating member perks. There can be many ways of appreciating and rewarding members for their active contribution. A simple way is to feature extraordinary contributors. Make them feel special. These things will eventually increase engagement in your community. And then, word of mouth would do the rest of the job.
Step 3: Share the “attracting” responsibility.
Make it clear to the members that you want their help with attracting new members. Then serve up the story that members will be excited to use when telling their friends about your community.
If your members agree, they will take that sense of responsibility to heart. Not only will they help you grow the community by reaching more people, but also their approach would be more authentic.
Step 4: Turn the limelight towards role-models.
Give your members a day to share their story - this is a great way to know more about your community members. You can randomly choose someone and tell them to come up with their story which includes things like what they do, why they are a part of your community and so many things that help them to connect with others as well. And then, be bold enough to put a limelight on the inspiring people in your community.
As Bailey Richardson says, if you want to show that your community is alive and vibrant, you’ll need to maintain a steady pulse in your storytelling. Too many brands let it go flat.
Collect and share those stories publically. Not only will this bring members in your community to life but also make them visible to others who might consider joining.
How are your experiences in attracting new members of the community? It’s a community-driven newsletter. So, if you have anything from your community-building experiences, do add your thoughts in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.