A Content Creator’s Journey to Build a Community

Original link: https://www.camelliayang.com/blog/a-content-creators-journey-to-build-a-community


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We heard so many times that web3 is all about COMMUNITY.

But how many communities or DAOs have you participated in that provide a true sense of belonging?

I was with more than ten DAOs and the online community’s discord channels early last year. On the one hand, I was bombarded with hundreds of messages from some servers. On the other hand, I felt pity for the deadly silence from other channels.

In the age of attention economy, time and energy are my social currency. It’s unrealistic for me to read every message and announcement or attend every community call and town hall meeting. I also don’t want to be in a community where it’s good to be there, but I have nothing to contribute to and rarely know anybody.

So I exited most of them and started focusing on a few. 1729 community is one of the good examples where I could share my skillsets and meet like-minded people simultaneously. Members (1729ers) are tech-savvy people who seek truth, health and wealth and build the Network State together.

Currently, 1729ers are focusing on reading Balaji Srinivasan’s new book The Network State , which emphasises the importance of community building.

“… you need a strong community to even have a chance of building a network state. Twitter at large is not it, Google Inc is not it, Bitcoin is not it — these lack either a single self-conscious nation, a functional state, or both.

A political party is closer. A very tight-knit NFT community or influencer/CEO following is even closer. To get on the path to network states, they would first build digital strength via the network union, then add physical territory via the network archipelago , and then gain diplomatic recognition in a true network state.”

Balaji Srinivasan, The Network State

Since I have spent most of my career in content creation and social media community management, I’d like to share some learnings and challenges about community building. I’ll use CY Circle , my experimental community, as an example to showcase how I combined theories into practice.
Before I start, here is some background information.

I started CY Circle one year ago, where I offer paid members exclusive content and the opportunity to chat with me. I also added POAP elements to the Discord channel so the paid members can verify themselves to access private categories and online activities.

Based on the current data (300+ members and 70+ paid members), most audiences are Chinese people who have overseas experience or live overseas and are interested in technology, finance and self-actualisation. They have a similar path as me, which reveals the golden role in content creation that serves the person you used to be, and you will find followers.

Community Building Roadmap

1. Discover and define the community
  • Set up mission and vision
  • Understand the audience’s pain points
  • Answer the question why they want to join
  • Research a host platform where community members like to hangout
  • Share your story to attract early adopters
2. Create a valuable onboarding experience
  • Build a landing page and pick up a host platform
  • Have a clear onboarding communications
  • Start with a small scale call or cohort to welcome and introduce new members
  • Create a membership directory (name, location, profession, expertise) and let them connect organically
3. Encourage active participation
  • Produce/share quality content in a consistent way
  • Nurture active contributors with rewards (NFTs or development opportunities)
  • Create community rituals (regular updates and events)
  • Celebrate small and big wins
  • Send swag or merch
4. Improve and grow

  • Measure community health metrics (growth, churn, post/comment activity, how is community impacting your business or personal brand)
  • Collate feedback regularly (poll, survey, 1:1 conversation)
Here is a one-page example from CY Circle.

Prosperous Community vs Unsuccessful Community

  • Members have an aligned mission and vision and are willing to accept responsibility for achieving it.
  • Provide a safe and open environment for members to exchange ideas and build genuine connections.
  • Have a value-driven onboarding experience and encourage active participation.
  • Have a practical strategy with specific benchmarks and measures of success.
  • Have transparent and effective communications and consistently update the community building progress and status
  • Members have a sense of belongings and can get support and encouragement when needed.
  • No engagement or low engagement
  • Members are money or external factors driven (eg gain status or follow a trend to join)
  • Lack of leadership and lack of clear obligations
  • Avoid conflicts and problems and not address issues within the community in time
  • Controlled by longtime members who wonât welcome newcomers
  • Too utopia to take actions or lack of practical steps to achieve goals
  • No capacity of collective actions
  • Not keep up with the latest technology

Lessons Learned

As David Spinks said, all community management boils down to:

  • Facilitation: proactively motivating members to connect and participate
  • Moderation: reactively responding, keeping order and managing conflict
  • Measurement: collecting insight to understand community health and impact.

Here are a few learnings based on my experiences with scaling many communities from scratch to hundreds and thousands of members:

1. Focus on relationship-building
Getting to know every community member takes time, but it is worth it. I met 90% of my friends online , especially from the online community I hosted or joined.

Human beings are social animals and need a sense of belonging. By building meaningful interactions with community members, I gain energy and ideas. At the same time, they have a place to meet like-minded people and connect with me and each other.

It’s not a good growth marketing advice but in a long run, it works well.

2. Provide opportunities for members
I like to test new initiatives, run new experiments with community members and provide career development opportunities to them.

Recent examples are helping two Chinese overseas students get internship opportunities and initiating a translation project to spread thoughtful ideas to Chinese readers.

I also seek to collaborate with community members on co-creating arts and stories inspired by those examples . As Balaji mentioned in his book, “The collective action is key for building organizational muscle”.

3. Have an e fficient administration and moderation
With the help of technology (bots on Discord) and mature onboarding experience (automatic onboarding emails and event schedule software), I can focus entirely on building relationships and enabling quality connections and less on logistics.

I’m experimenting with smart contracts and community tokens at the moment, enabling efficient and transparent community governance.

4. Create community rituals
I send a monthly community newsletter to update on what’s happening in the community, top resources and content created, members’ highlights and major updates from my life.

This month marks 1st birthday of my community, so I tested the first online gathering with community members. It went pretty well, so I’ll make it a regular event to gather people around and share valuable tips.

5. Be transparent and seek support
As a creator with 200,000+ followers across the channel, I thought building a community would be an easy task for me. NOT EXACTLY. It’s hard to convince people from web2 platforms to my own space because of user habits and attention span.

Over the year, my convention rate of turning followers into hardcore fans has been low with many challenges . However, I’m open to talking about that with my community members and sometimes, I get emotional and technical support from those early adopters.

I don’t need to be the perfect creator who only shares high moments of my life, and I have a safe space to show my vulnerability and get back to those who genuinely believe in my mission and vision to make the change. â

Look into the future

“Technology has allowed us to start new companies, new communities, and new currencies. But can we use it to create new cities, or even new countries? A key concept is to go cloud first, land last — but not land never — by starting with an online community and then materializing it into the physical world.”

As discussed earlier, don’t go around saying that you’re starting a network state. Say that you’re starting a network union, and build up a community that’s capable of doing collective actions online. Then crowdfund territory and turn your online community into a network archipelago with physical presence. Finally, if all the stars align, gain diplomatic recognition and then declare your society a network state. I know this might seem a bit like the Marxist insistence on the difference between socialism and communism, but the The counterpoint is that nations have acquired land and gained diplomatic recognition before — and we note that it’s important when they do. They just haven’t done it in quite this way, with this progression. That’s why we want separate terms for network union, network archipelago, and network state.”

Balaji Srinivasan, The Network State
As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The Network State starts with the startup society. And startup society begins with an online community, where everyone has a moral premise at a core ( One Commandment ) to generate mutual values ​​between the community and members.

I have taken the first step to building my community as a creator. The next step is to turn my online community into a network archipelago , replete with other creators worldwide, organizing people to start doing things together with aligned purposes.

I hope to see more content creators leverage their influence and skills to build online communities. Let’s pave the foundations of building the Network States from today!

This article is reprinted from: https://www.camelliayang.com/blog/a-content-creators-journey-to-build-a-community
This site is for inclusion only, and the copyright belongs to the original author.

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