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Building a Community for Business

Building a Community for Business
By Niall Maher • Issue #6 • View online
“Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those who you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one: men learn as they teach.” - Seneca

This week, I talked to an expert in building community - Matt Studdert of Frontend Mentor.
Matt/Frontend Mentor has a Slack community of over 100,000 people. He also has 300,000 users on the Frontend Mentor platform, where people give feedback to each other on their completed work.
Matt has achieved this with only himself and one other person full-time, so you definitely aren’t too small to have a community.
The essence of Matt’s work is the community and getting people to work together to learn from each other.
From a product development point of view, it’s always good to be close to your customers for insights.
But this week, I wanted to talk about the value of community to a business.
People today are starting to expect a different relationship with brands.
They don’t want just customer support, email address and a newsletter.
They want a deeper interaction with the company and other buyers of the product or service. And according to a recent survey, nearly 80% of startup founders reported that building a community was essential to their business, with 28% describing it as critical to their success. - State of Startups
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta have all invested heavily in digital and in-person community engagement across their portfolio.
If you take Amazon and its AWS business as an example. They are trying to get events in nearly every city and have community organizers from outside of the core business. 
So, how does this knowledge help you?
Businesses can unlock extraordinary competitive advantages by building with the community in mind.
  • Members help bring in new members, which result in lower acquisition costs and a tight viral loop.
  • Members don’t want to lose their community ties, meaning increased retention and improved lifetime value. 
  • Members support one another by answering questions and teaching. And that means a smaller service cost as your members become customer support agents themselves.
There is then a natural network effect. As the engagement grows, the community gets smarter and faster to respond more globally available and generates more value.
Starting a community
Matt insisted that consistency, day after day, is the most essential part of starting a community.
Showing up and making some noise even when it seems quiet.
This is the hardest part of the process and the easiest time to give up because you don’t get the instant noise most people expect by throwing random people in a room together.
“Be the active member you want people to be”.
Building a community
It’s vital that everyone feels welcome.
Matt personally says hello to every person that joins the server. The stats as I write this means he has greeted over 105,300 people 😱.
A simple hello can be evolved into outreach to onboard people and tell them how to get the most out of the community. Encouragement is essential early on, so people start interacting.
Getting members becomes part of your marketing effort, and links to your community can be in the footer of your email, at the end of videos and all of your social media presence.
It’s nearly like promoting a product in itself, but we hope people are drawn in if it’s a business community because they want to be more involved with your business.
The full story
This is a teaser of the nearly hour-long conversation.
If you want to learn more about building a community and the Frontend Mentor story, check out the full podcast episode here.
I’ll add links to all the platforms at the end of this newsletter.
Cover art for "Startups with Niall Maher"
Cover art for "Startups with Niall Maher"
Blog picks
Stolen from the internet
A better way to measure success.
A better way to measure success.
Vampires keep getting into relationships with mortals because they know they’ll eventually get their inheritance, which is also how all vampires eventually become wealthy.
If Pokémon were real we’d constantly need to label our pokeballs to be able to differentiate which Pokémon was in which ball.
Links to the podcast
In local news, I was on TV
Niall - Only slightly shocked by the camera crew in his home
Niall - Only slightly shocked by the camera crew in his home
Niall ignoring them until they leave...
Niall ignoring them until they leave...
That’s all for this week, stay awesome, and I’ll chat to you next week, my beautiful friends! 👋
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Niall Maher

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