Call me a cult leader? No, call me an obsessed community architect.
In the last two months, I have read 4 books about community infrastructure, I have joined 13 slack communities, and I have perused more than 100 articles on community-building.
I am convinced that community-building is the future of marketing, and for me, the future of how I manage my inner circle.
I have built my own Slack community based on everything I have learned. It’s called the League of Revyvers.
In this article, I want to share with you everything I have implemented in my deep dive. I am going to show you the infrastructure I have built for my slack community, why I chose slack, and all the steps I took beforehand to prepare for the launch of my community. Ready for a crash course in community building?
First, let’s quickly talk about why community-building is important to me. For one, I want to surround myself with people with a specific set of values. I want a tribe. Initially, I started my community for that reason. I wanted a place for my tribe to hang out. I wanted to connect my people to one another. I wanted to serve my tribe through connections and experiences.
Ultimately, I am convinced that I will live my happiest life if I regularly share fun experiences with people I love and admire. This is a huge motivator for me as a community builder.
But beyond the reason of personal thriving, I think it’s relevant to change-makers and trail-blazers especially. Community-building is the best tool for customer loyalty in the world. A sense of belonging, acceptance, and being liked is one of the greatest psychological forces. If you build a tribe of interconnected customers around your brand, you create evangelists.
I want to create evangelists for vyving, a new mental health practice I created based on conscious partying.
So here are some strategies for doing this.
The purpose of your community
Why are you gathering people? What are they gathering to do? You need specificity. You need to identify a specific reason for people to meet one another and invest in friendships. For my community, the purpose is the following:
The League of Revyvers provides a space for vibrant change-makers and community leaders to connect meaningfully, share electrifying experiences, and help each other live life to the fullest.
At a deeper level, the why of my community is the following. This is moreso on a spiritual level.
Create a culture in which humans connect vibrantly and meaningfully. A culture in which community has been revived. A culture that prioritizes conscious social connection.
So in writing this, I have realized there are two purposes. The spiritual purpose of your community, and the practical purpose. The practical purpose is moreso the value proposition of the community, whereas the spiritual purpose is the WHY.
Who is your niche demographic?
This is an extension of the previous point. You must attract people who align with the purpose of your community. And you must make it narrow in the beginning or your community will be diluted. For my community, here are the niche characteristics I have identified.
Revyvers are social entrepreneurs, change-makers, or activists who live for conscious social connection in the form of fun and play. They are millennials who take an interest in self-development. They are dissatisfied with the unconscious social connection found at festivals, nightclubs, and most events.
Make your niche as specific as possible. As more people join, they will enter an existing thriving culture and assimilate into it. They will engage and connect with the others, naturally!
Man oh man. Studying community onboarding has been fun. It is incredibly important for reinforcing the purpose, identity, and values of your newcomers. It is also a screen for people to opt out of the community.
A great onboarding process motivates new members to contribute to the community, it connects them with others, it makes them feel accepted, and it makes them feel enabled to participate and contribute.
A quick example, my League has 10 channels on Slack. In my onboarding, I explain the purpose of each channel. I also explain the norms and expectations for participating in the community! Defining the norms of your community is important. It lays the foundation for how you want your members to behave. Here are mine.
We acknowledge posts not through emojis, but through commenting by starting a thread. This is done by pressing on the message and clicking on reply in a thread.
We love-bomb new Revyvers into the space when they intro themselves.
We ask for help, regularly. We exchange perspectives and advice.
We reward each other for contributing! This is a special function in our Slack. Simply comment @someone ++1 (or another number up to 5) to reward someone. Make sure to include a reason!
We nominate people with relevant perspectives to share by using @someone!
We move 1:1 conversations to DMs.
I have created a checklist for belonging in my community onboarding, which includes a step-by-step action list for community members. Introduction, asking for help, uploading a photo, reading the manifesto for VYVE.
Ownership and engagement
Community members must have a reason to join, and a reason to stay. The more value exchanged among members, the more likely members will log on every day and show up to your meetups. Foundationally, being validated regularly is a huge reason why community members stay. So, creating an infrastructure that encourages members to validate one another is crucial.
One quote that has stuck with me from studying cult brands has been: “If there is a perception of declining mutual investment, the cult will die.”
So, how do you get people mutually invested? Focus on what I talked about earlier, first of all. Then, use these fancy techniques!
- ROLE MODEL ENGAGEMENT AND VALIDATE EVERYONE!!!
- Reward them with points, recognition, or status. You can do this through gamification and a community ranking system.
- Purge your members every month!
- Get your people together in person and introduce them to one another. People will show up if they have relationships with others in the community.
- Nominate people to share their perspectives. Give them permission. Invite them to contribute and they will.
The last thing I will mention about the engagement is the importance of the platform. I chose Slack for various reasons. For one, it organizes conversations very well. Second, it is off the “crap” platforms. Third, Slack has an infinite number of integrations that can be added to improve the user experience.
Check it out.
You have now been certified as a level 1 cult leader. Congratulations.
Share with me your fav community-building hack below!