I get asked a lot about advice for ‘Building a Community’ as it’s a super buzzy topic these days.
The thing is, we never set out to build a community when we started GrowthMentor. It just happened organically by like minded people being up inside the same hive (aka Slack group).
I suppose that’s why I’m dragging my feet on writing an advice article about it because our situation is very unique and what worked for us may not work for someone else.
One piece of advice I give that is universal : Create something that YOU would want to be a part of and get value from.
It seems like an obvious statement, but so many people are out there trying to start communities because a random blog post or some guru on YouTube told them to and they are totally just copying what someone else did. Or worse yet, their boss told them they have to and they have zero interest in being involved in online communities.
Communities are about the people inside of them and their shared wants and needs. Because of the nature of our platform, everybody is here for the same reason (growing a business) so we got lucky in the sense of community building.
We have added a new feature to enhance the networking ability of our community of founders and marketers.
We wanted members to have an easier way to network with other marketers and founders other than scrolling Slack and landing on something by chance that aligned with their current interests.
Sure there is the mentor feed with the detailed profiles, but how about the members? They are working on some really cool stuff! They also have tons of knowledge, wins and fails that they can share with others.
Let’s put the spotlight on them and make it easier for them to connect with one another.
We put a lot of thought into what we wanted on the member profiles and did tons of user research about what our members wanted to know about other people.
I won’t bore you with the specifics in this post, but here’s the break down of the Anatomy of a Member Profile in case you are interested.
Roles, Skills and Challenges are pretty self explanatory.
I’m a founder and I’d like to speak with a marketer about SEO. I’ll click on Marketer in the Role filter and SEO in the Skills area. Boom! A bunch of people that I can message and see if they are up for a chat.
I just have a quick question about UX. Click on the Designer filter and shoot a DM with your question.
One may ask, why not just book a call with a mentor? Go for it! But why not cast a wider net and gather as many insights as possible?
Speaking of that wider net– we’ve also opened up our popular help request feature so that members can also apply to help others out with their issue at hand.
If there is one thing we’ve learned since starting this all is it feels good to help. We call it the ‘mentor high’ – if you’ve never experienced it, try to find someone that can really benefit from your knowledge set and let the endorphins fly!
Now for the fun part…
With this filter, we break away from the boring areas of growth marketing and have really tailored the browsability to the needs and wants of our members.
This is a favorite of mine because it is so important to find allies when you are growing a business.
A GM tagline that resonates with some many people is “You don’t have to go it alone”.
Mutually beneficial co-marketing arrangements can really help to get your brand in front of a whole new audience.
- If you’re in the same industry but are not directly competing why not host a webinar together and split the costs of promoting it on Facebook?
- Swap guest posts on one another’s blog
- Swap newsletter mentions
- Offer a discount for one another’s users
If you don’t know what backlinks are, read this.
If you DO know what they are, what are you waiting for?! Start connecting with other members who are also keen to exchange backlinks.
The most successful link builders are leveraging their network to score backlinks. Paying it forward is the easiest way to build links. I’ll give you a link today, you give me one next week kind of thing.
We make that easy. Filter and find other members who are open to link exchanges and stop wasting time with cold outreach emails that quite simply don’t work anymore.
Explore Job Opportunities
Members who have this objective listed on their profile are interested in seeing what’s out there in the world of job opportunities. If you are hiring give it a whirl and see who’s looking!
As we are a private network, nobody needs to worry about their boss finding out they have this tag on their profile 😉
Many of our members are solo-founders or the only marketer of a small startup team. It gets lonely!
We had many members express that they would like to connect with people to bounce ideas around with but found it awkward to randomly reach out to someone in the Slack group. Problem solved!
A whopping 65% of our members have this objective on their profile. Combine this with the other filters and you’ll have your PPC sparring partner sorted in a matter of minutes.
Find a Co-Founder
There are lots of people out there looking to partner up. Join forces and create magic!
Use this filter in combination with the roles and see who’s profile interests you.
Perhaps a Marketing Co-Founder or Technical Co-Founder is exactly what you need to take things to the next level.
Hopping on podcasts is a great way to boost your personal brand, increase brand awareness to your ideal audience and build backlinks by just having a chat.
Grow your team
You are looking to hire! Let the community know that you’re hiring and members reach out to you if they think they’re a good fit.
Invest in Startups
Are you looking to splash some cash? Add this tag to your profile and collect pitches from members who are looking to raise funds.
For those looking for investment – Find members who are actively looking to invest. Practice your pitch with them. A famous quote is: “If you want advice ask for funding, if you want funding, ask for advice.”
Pro tip: approach investors from the angle of looking for advice, even if what you’re really after is an investment.
Make new and interesting friends
Some great friendships have come through connections on GrowthMentor. For sure my friend circle has grown for the better 🙂
Don’t believe me? Here’s proof!
A lot of our members were excited about this filter because they don’t have friends involved in the startup space or perhaps they don’t live in a big startup hub where it’s easy to meet like minded friends.
Non-biased Product Feedback
Sites like usertesting.com charge $50 per user testing video. We make it easy to get feedback on your product, website, or idea from other community members. Use the filters to find members that match your idea customer persona and reach out.
Pro tip: Be sure to offer something in return for the feedback you are looking for. Give first is always the GM way to go about these interactions.
Set this as an objective and watch as other members reach out to you to give you shit loads of cash. JK! But, you never know…
There you have it!
As always, we are open to suggestions, ideas, hate mail – if you have something to say about any of this, just hit us up on live chat or a DM in Slack.