How to Build an Engaged Community for Any Business

The third in our Envato Talks series to help people become more successful online features Carly Jacobs (Smaggle), Cosette Paneque (Quiip) and our very own community experts; Venessa Paech, Natalia Manidis and Matthew Cox (Envato).

Matthew, Natalia, Carly & Cosette

These experts shared an array of practical tips on how to build an engaged, passionate online community and the value this can create for any business. Step by step they talked us through what you need to know when building your own community.

  1. Planning & Framework involved in setting up an online community.
  2. Risk & Safety issues to be aware of.
  3. Utilising your Content and Social channels to build your community.
  4. Case study: How the Envato community was brought to life.

Here are some highlights from the night:

Planning & Framework

Things to think about in the beginning, middle... and anywhere:

  • Research your target audience, understand their needs
  • Is a community really what you want? If so understand the purpose of your community.
  • Better to gradually and sustainably grow a community, rather than deal with a rapid influx
  • Viral is not synonymous with social media or community success.

"First seek to understand before being understood" - Matthew Cox

Matthew Cox (Envato)

Risk & Safety

Types of risk you should always consider:

  • Legal
  • User
  • Reputational

What is the highest amount of risk you’re willing to accept?

  • Likelihood
  • Sensitivity

You can minimise risk by creating an assessment chart with actions and a timeframe to provide peace of mind. Even if you don't consider your community high risk, you absolutely need to prepare for these outcomes. The more successful (and larger) your community grows, the more likely you'll encounter risk issues.

Building a community comes with obligations around compliance, so make sure you know what's non-negotiable and what's more flexible.

How you manage risk goes a long way to the community culture that you create with your members.

Cosette Paneque (Quiip) & Venessa Paech (Envato)

Utilising Your Content and Social Channels to Build Your Community

7 ways to get people to like you on the internet:

  • Be valuable.
  • Be consistent.
  • Read your audience.
  • Actually say some stuff.
  • Entertain, educate, empower.
  • Be relatable.
  • Ask yourself, would you follow you?.

"Sometimes you need to be a little bit cheeky with your content" - Carly Jacobs

Carly Jacobs (Smaggle)

Case study: How the Envato Community Was Brought to Life

How we did it:

  • There was a need
  • We found the shared need
  • The need was complimentary but independent

Principles to remember to create a healthy community:

  • Build critical mass before you launch
  • Put the community first
  • Founders should be active in the community

Challenges we now face:

  • Staying true (as we scale we need to scale our culture and values)
  • Change is hard, but sometimes necessary for greater good

Matthew & Natalia (Envato)

Tips From Our Experts

"Owning your community 'hub' is important so you're not left vulnerable to the whims of third party networks. Consider how your ecosystem stretches across different platforms and channels." - Venessa Peach.

"Unclench’ be relatable, bind your community together." - Carly Jacobs.

"Think about what you’re promising your community and if you can honour that." - Venessa Paech

Wrapping Up

See all the slides from this talk here:

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