Practically, what do we mean by Minimum Viable Community?
It’s about doing things that don’t scale, but with a community mindset of doing people research and building up relationships.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
Newsletters are easy to start, harder to maintain consistency. However, they’re also pretty easy to adapt over time. The magic with newsletters is that they can feed into invites to events.
Audio spaces or social audio is a great way to connect and converse with people. Players atm include the likes of Twitter Spaces, Discord Stages, Clubhouse and Racket.
The magic is that you can start small with these things, really you only need to be willing to have a conversation with one other person, everyone else is a bonus.
Many platforms support the use of hashtags. These are great for tapping into an existing niche set of people. You can choose to either contribute to one that already exists, or start your own.
These are public places like Reddit and Facebook groups. You can consider either joining one that already exists or starting your own.
They are easy to start, but longer term it is hard to control the outcome as you don’t own the data, the eyeball competition is much harder and you are at the mercy of algorithms. Of course, if you have a MVC mindset, none of this is a problem. You can stick or ditch these in whatever way feels best.
Take notes together
Think: Google Docs, Google Sheets, Miro, etc.
I’m a big fan of note taking! Coming together to take notes is fun, productive and creates a valuable outcome. It also helps to create connections between the contributors and generate new ideas.
The comments section
A forum is just a post with the ability to add comments. Of course, this is a simplified take on it, however when you do choose to look at it this way you can start to see the value of comments everywhere.
Make use of and encourage comments everywhere. In your newsletter, blog, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, forums…anywhere.
If you can’t start conversations in these circumstances, how will you cope at a bigger scale?
Small events, meetups and 1:1 chats
This was how I got started in the world of community!
Nothing ever replaces in real life stuff even when most of us have become accustomed to virtual events. Both are valid approaches and both can create connections and potential value for life!
In my humble rosie opinion, the best way to start events is small. Of course, some events can get big pretty easily and that’s fine. However, going into events with the expectation of them being small creates reasonable expectations for community builders.
Often I tag on 1:1 or small meetup invites on to newsletters — you can start to see how MVC efforts can build off of one another.
Yes memes. We can tap into our shared knowledge, spur on discussions, inspire and educate one another. Memes are a great way to practice understanding who your people are, especially when you can get people to ‘feel seen’.
Merch and Swag
We all love a bit of swag, though these days we should become increasingly mindful of the environment (please!).
Things like stickers and t-shirts can bring real visibility and connection to people. It’s so much easier to start conversations with people when you know you have something in common — swag can show that thing in common that you have.
Often people don’t see podcasting as community building, however when you look at the foundations of community as being conversations then it becomes easier to see how podcasting can help create community.
Podcasts are great for amplifying voices and ideas of the people you want to connect with in a deeper way. It also has the long tail benefit of bringing people together over a long period of time.