The Online Community Building For Growth

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The Online Community Building For Growth

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Written by Houston Golden
May 23, 2017
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4 Ways to Build A Community

  1. Meetups
  2. Facebook Groups
  3. Slack Communities
  4. Conferences

What’s up with Meetup?

Benefits:
  • Quickly build your email list.
  • Great organic search.
  • Fast to market.
  • Easy to set up.
Cons:
  • Bad email marketing -Stuck in a flood of Meetup emails; no data.
  • Hard to create a great brand.
  • People don’t regularly check Meetup.
  • Costs can quickly outweigh the benefits.
  • Can quickly saturate your market when capturing emails.
  • Need to find a venue, vet attendees, and provide refreshments.

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

How to Grow a Meetup

  • Start with a big event.
  • Scrape emails of people with relevant interests, then cold email them to join (not to attend).
  • Poach people from similar Meetups - Add them on Facebook, then send them the link to join.
  • Use Eventbrite for bonus organic search - Use a similar description as the Meetup (need eye-popping picture).
  • Hold an event every week at the same time. No excuses.
  • Send emails at the same time. No excuses.
  • Change up the theme for each week - New variables attract attendees looking for new experiences.
  • Don’t promote, unless you have to. Define your brand early and make no exceptions for wavering.

Example Email

How I construct my Meetup emails:
  • Short and concise.
  • Quick intro of the speaker.
  • Call-to-action.
  • Topic.
  • Personalization.
  • Includes time & date.

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Finding Speakers

LinkedIn Sales Navigator:

Scrape relevant people using Email Hunter or Clearbit. Use MixMax or GMass for mass emailing ????

How I construct my influencer outreach emails:
  • Subject line: “Interview you in front of 100 people?”
  • Pull many triggers in the first sentence (job title, company, interests, city)
  • The second sentence pulls credibility with the hyperlink.
  • The third sentence reinforces credibility with the hyperlink.
  • Call-to-action is specific with time and date.

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Facebook

Why Facebook Groups?

  • Fastest platform to build your know, like, and trust factor.
  • Similar to Meetup, you need to provide consistent value to make checking out your Group habit forming.
  • Keep all content high value. No exceptions.
  • Notifications work similar to an email inbox.
  • Leverage other people’s content.
  • Post content 3 times/day.
  • Post at the same time every day.
  • Low cost.

How to Build a Hyper-Relevant Community

After you read this guide, you should understand how to:

  1. Create a Facebook Friend List of 4000+ Potential Customers
  2. Grow a Facebook Group to 2000+ Potential Customers
  3. Nurture a Retargeting List of 7000+ People

You should feel like a high-level growth hacker after reading that guide. But wait...it gets even better.

  1. You don’t want to message every Facebook friend about your launch manually.
  2. You don’t want to message every Facebook Group member about your launch manually.

You’re in luck. You don’t have to do either ???? By using Mass Planner, you can automate all of this. Every Facebook friend (potential customer) will know exactly when you launch. I’ll get to this in a bit.

Benefits

Low cost, high value

Producing high-cost rewards can make your pocket feel light. It’s important you find the balance that doesn’t chip too much into your bank account.

When will they receive rewards?

Your community members will lose excitement if you don’t reward them on a consistent basis. Maybe the reward is a great in-person speaker every week or a free yoga lesson. Keep it relevant to your group’s interests and ensure it has enough value to encourage engagement. This may also come in the medium of helpful/inspirational/funny/genuine blog posts and videos posted on social media.

How can you change-up your reward?

We get bored with rewards that don’t change. New things that provide value naturally attract us. So, if you can provide different valuable rewards on a consistent basis, you will keep your members' attention.

The more high-value touch points, the better

From Facebook live streaming to having members converse in-person and listen to great speakers, you want to provide value where they are willing to spend most of their time.

Ensure Conversion:

Before you begin reaching out to people about the Facebook Group, it’s vital that you learn to brand yourself. Being seen as a leader or an expert will result in a high response and conversion rate when reaching to people so they’ll join your community. Moreover, having a positive social perception around your social media profiles can make a huge difference in getting new members. Correspondingly, I suggest high-quality photos and, if needed, paying a professional photographer to take pictures of you to put on your personal social profiles. Also, take off any content that appears contradicting to your community’s mission statement. And those old photos of you partying in college should be removed, too.

Relevant social profiles result in the highest response rate

People in your community naturally want a leader who genuinely represents their interests. If you’re promoting a group about yoga, then have some yoga pictures and regularly practice yoga. Doing that, you’re more likely to appear as a leader in your niche.

If it exists, they will find it

If you have a large community, chances are people will look through your entire profile in search of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Prepare by deleting any content that doesn’t help your brand.

Recruiting Core Members

Recruit Core Members

It’s vital that you get a couple of core members who will help you establish the community’s social validation. Think of your community as an established organization – there is usually a president, vice president, and a chief marketing officer. Assign your core members job titles and responsibility, and it will spark their motivation to help grow the community.

Choose Wisely

It’s vital that you choose, at least, several people who will help you establish the community’s social validation. Think of your community as an established organization – there is usually a president, vice president, and a chief marketing officer. Assign your core members job titles and responsibility, and it will spark their motivation to help grow the community. In my community, we have Will Bunker, founder of Match.com; Kumar Thangudu, expert growth hacker; Justina Nguyen, advisor to Girls in Tech; and Dominick Malzone, one of my growth hacking student.

Checklist for constructing the perfect Facebook message to recruit new Facebook Group members:
  1. Connection

Start with a mutual demographic and interest.

  1. Personalize

State another mutual interest.

  1. Pain point

It’s difficult to connect with people who have the same interests and bring a local community together around those interests.

  1. Solution

Talk about how this group helps connect people with similar interests.

  1. Benefits

Mention the excellent time everyone has engaging with other members and other key points of interest.

  1. Credibility

Status symbols – featured in notable publications or having extensive, relevant work experience – will help convince potential members to trust and listen to you.

  1. Features

Here you want to mention your location or any other important features worth bringing up.

  1. Reiterate benefits
  2. Reiterate solution
  3. Implement call-to-action

Example: Initial Message

Prepare an initial message to send out to your Facebook friends about joining the Facebook Group. BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Follow-Up Message

No Response Follow-Up: If a week passes without a reply, send a follow-up message. A follow-up message communicates that you care about them and the group prospering. Remember, sending the follow-up message is just as critical as sending the primary one. BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image After you have a solid group of core members, you can ask them to apply the same recruiting method you used to find more new members. I recommend only asking your most passionate community members to help you with this; otherwise, you risk scaring off new members.

3 Critical Pieces to Ensure Engagement

  1. Participate first

Encourage people to introduce themselves to the community. They should mention their passions and professional interests. To ease the process, give them a direct personal message of encouragement.

  1. Small win

I recommend giving something of value away from that new members can immediately use. A good example is an REI discount for a local hiking group. Also, posting pictures from community get-togethers on social media does wonder for future engagement and recruiting new members.

  1. Get personal

A community has higher participation if people get to know each other on a more personal level. It helps them develop a strong emotional tie to the community. To facilitate this, you need to take the first step in opening up to give others the courage to step out of their comfort zone, too. If you don’t lead the conversation in your community, then no one will. It’s up to you to get the momentum going. Don’t expect people to post regularly and interact with each other if the individual who started the community doesn’t bother to show up. As the founder of a community, you will have to interact with the group more than anyone else. So, lead by example and your community will rapidly start flowing with engagement.

Valuable Content

What works well?

  1. Giveaways with a CTA to get people to engage.
  2. Facebook Live Video Fireside Chats. The audience can interact live.

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Facebook Group Analytics

To gain an excellent understanding of your Facebook Group activity, I suggest using this software: Grytics Here’s one of the many visual displays it gives you: BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image This software also allows you to export members based on how active they are ????

Here’s another screenshot from their platform:

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Prime Your Facebook Group Members

If you went through the networking guide, you should understand how to mass message members in Facebook Groups. In case you forgot, here’s how to do it:

  1. First you plug-in the Facebook Group URL.
  2. Extract Members.

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

  1. Create a message to send them asking for feedback. The goal is to send them to a preview page before the landing page/campaign/website is live. Make sure your Facebook remarketing pixel is already on the page!
  2. Next, click Send. This won’t send the message to all of them since Facebook would readily flag that action. It will simply send them to another tab.
  3. Ensure to create several templated versions with the spin syntax.
WAIT ONE SECOND!

You must be friends with, at least, two-thousand people in your Facebook Group. If you’re not friends with them, then the message won’t make it to their primary inbox. BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

  1. Copy the settings I have on the right side. Next, click Start Sending Messages.

Note: Feel free to bump up the daily number of sent messages from 20 to 40 if you have around six version of the message. BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Create a Warm Facebook Retargeting Audience

1.You need to drive people to your personal site

2. Create a video ad to retarget those who visit your website (video ad directions)

  • The video should be inspirational, entertaining, or informative.
  • You’re not directly selling with a call-to-action. You’re just staying relevant.
  • Why video? It’s the least expensive way to put content in front of people.

3. Alternate among four videos. I average 3 - 4 cents per a view when showing a video to an audience who has visited my website. Here’s an example of a high-level professional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh02X-4bhC0. BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Slack

Why Slack Groups?

  • A fast platform to build your know, like, and trust factor.
  • You need to provide consistent value to make checking out your Slack community habit forming.
  • Segments content without annoying people.
  • Keep all content high value. No exceptions.
  • Notifications work similar to an email inbox.
  • Leverage other people’s content.
  • Low cost.

The Basics

Channels represent the different rooms in your Slack chat community. To start out you are automatically set up with a #general channel and a #random channel.

  1. Rename #general to #announcements and set it so that only admins can post in it (Check “Step 3: Customize Your Slack Settings” for instructions on how to do this). Everyone who joins your Slack chat will automatically be put in this channel, providing you with an excellent way to keep your community in the loop.
  2. Add a few channels that you think your community would like to post things in.

Slack

  • If it’s a music community, you might want to add a #new-music channel for people to share new music in.
  • If it’s a community of professionals, create a channel called #smallwins where people can post there recent accomplishments. This also goes for job posting, referrals, industry news, and more.
  • If it’s a startup community, create a #feedback channel where people can post their recent projects and get feedback from the community.

Support

Jesse Pollak at Clef started a Slack community for 2 reasons: First, many of their customers are integrating with Clef and they want to make sure their engineers have easy access to resources for them. Having a community where someone on the team is always hanging out means that anyone who’s working through an integration can pop in and get help. Great piece: How I hacked Slack into a community platform with Typeformhttps://levels.io/slack-typeform-auto-invite-sign-ups/ Why?

  • Capture member data.
  • Create a barrier to entry to ensure only quality members join.

Welcome Email for Facebook Groups & Slack Communities

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Conferences

Pros:

  • Can be very profitable.
  • Great branding (fan-to-fan conversation)
  • Helps give your company momentum moving forward.
  • Creates a lasting impression.
  • Provides your community a place to interact in person rather than just online.

Cons:

  • Takes a lot of work - Many moving pieces.
  • Lots and lots of preparation.

BAMF The Online Community Building For Growth Article Image

Conferences (content & traffic advice from Sam Parr, GrowthX Academy mentor)
  1. Writing/finding blog posts: I wanted to publish around 12 blogs posts…one for each speaker. I wrote a few on my own, while the others were posts each speaker had already written that were applicable to Hustle Con. I found these posts on their blogs and asked for permission to repost.
  2. Creating a drip campaign: After outlining each blog post, I wrote 12 emails that told a funny/interesting story about the speaker that then made the reader want to click and head to my site to read the entire post in hopes that they’d share it with their friends. I then set the emails up as an autoresponder using Mailchimp so new users would get an email every day for 12 days at 10 AM after signing up. This step is KEY and if you have no idea what you’re doing, then I suggest taking Neville’s Autoresponder Kourse.

           Here’s nearly every email I sent: 12345678910

  1. Give away tickets to influencers: To gain some extra traffic, I gave away 50 free tickets to popular friends of mine. This wasn’t a special process…I just found people with tons of Facebook followers and sent them a message inviting them to come for free in return for sharing our page on as their status.Yeah…as in a bribe. I didn’t even bother with asking them to share on Twitter, or as I like to call it, Shitter, because Twitter users rarely ever buy (in my experience).
  1. Partner with other lists: Besides the obvious places like StartupDigest, WebWallflower, and Fetch, I made a list of dozens of Meetup groups and bloggers who I knew had huge lists and offered them 35% discounts. Pretty simple.
The process of contacting potential sponsors went something like this:
  1. Prospecting: I made a list of 120 companies I liked who sponsored 2 or more conferences in the past along with their head of marketing’s email
  2. Email: I emailed each company to set up a call.
  3. The call: I’ve never had a “normal” sales job so I’m not sure how a typical sales call looks like, but I created my own process that worked really well.

My goal with the call wasn’t actually to get sponsorship money but to get them EXCITED about Hustle Con. This way their company would send 3 to 5 employees regardless if they sponsored the event because they saw how fun and valuable the experience would be. I had around 20 calls with potential sponsors. 7 or so actually bought a sponsorship package and nearly all of them sent at least one employee.

Conferences - Getting Help

Most of the volunteers were folks who emailed me directly through the contact form on HustleCon.com and asked if I needed any help. The other volunteers came to me after seeing my Facebook post asking for help. Organizing the volunteers was a HUGE task. My roommate Nathan, who has led teams as big as 200 volunteers, was in charge of all of the volunteers. He and I worked together to create teams of 4 and assigned each team a leader and a job. Then, we did a rehearsal the day before, which made everything run smooth as a baby’s ass.

  1. Think of hitting up VC associates. They love this shit, have great expense accounts and can promote to the companies they have in their portfolio.
  2. Enable tracking links in Eventbrite, https://noahsevent-FACEBOOKTRACKING.eventbrite.com so you can see where your sales are coming from.
  3. Leverage people who already bought. Give them 1/2 off for 1 friend. Always ask people how they hear about your event and why they are.

A great tip is to email every attendee before the event to find out what would make the even invaluable for them.

Conferences - IMPORTANT

Your SUCCESS METRIC of your event is NOT profit but retention for future events. Simple things to improve this: connect people during your events, spend more to have drinks for free all day long and don’t have sponsors that don’t add value or do cool stuff at your event.

About the Author

The name’s Houston Golden. I’m the Founder & CEO of BAMF ― a company I’ve grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $4M in revenue over a span of 3 years.
How did I do it? Well, it’s quite simple, really. I’ve helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win). I tell you how on this blog.
Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.

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