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  In today’s tech ecosystem, the importance of having an online community around your startup cannot be overemphasized. In fact, startup growth experts have argued that one of the fastest and easiest ways to grow your startup is through Community-Led Growth. Community-Led Growth (CLG) is a type of strategy where startups create a pool of enthusiastic customers who promote their product and recommend it to others. The importance of CLG is in the ability to outperform other traditional sales models where momentum often slows down after the prospect becomes your customer.
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The merits of CLG are when you commit to helping customers achieve their goals which in turn will make them zealous advocates of your brand, which is the centre of attention and attraction of the whole process. For example, when you are committed to providing financial solutions to small businesses through innovative and streamlined patterns and these solutions are affordable and accessible to these businesses, you can easily create a momentum that continues even if they are no longer prospects. Across Africa, especially in Kenya and South Africa, CLG is fast becoming a trend. Little wonder, in 2021, 70% of startups with communities boosted their budget for community building. This is because, community helps in scaling your startup, product, and services in ways that traditional marketing or advertising channels can’t. By applying the right strategies, communities enable and promote customer acquisition, streamline support and success, strengthen retention, and deliver crucial product insights.
  • Online Community Building Isn’t About Marketing

One of the biggest mistakes many people and brands make in building an online community is telling people to come and buy their products. The online community is a platform to market, and build relationships and connections with people. The same way a traditional community is built in the same way an online community is built. One such person who has built a successful online community is John Obidi through his Headstart Africa. You need to understand that communities are made up of people. Once that is understood, you can then determine the kind of conversations you want to have with them. Therefore, you need to get your basics right. To build a successful community you have to answer these questions clearly: What do you intend to achieve? What do you want people to help you to achieve? What value are you offering your community members? What are you going to do differently? Providing answers to these questions will enable you to create solutions that solve people’s needs. If you speak directly to people’s needs, and their challenges, then you’ll know how to relate with them.
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  • Infer The Best Communication Channel

Another step towards building a successful online community around your startup is knowing the best communication online channel. Some startup brands thrive on Twitter, while others are doing wonders through email. Therefore as a brand leader, you must be curious about what works for your community. For instance, Selar is doing a great job with its email content. In building an online community, you must learn to be flexible when it comes to communication channels. For example, John Obidi shares his thoughts on both Facebook and email. It boils down to being sensitive. Beyond that, you should be able to fashion out ways to communicate on a deeper yet professional level. One online community leader noted that he started with emails, then social media, and then we moved to Telegram. He went ahead to find a way to get members of his community to talk to each other. It could have been WhatsApp if it had the same features as Telegram. Such as having the capacity to take an unlimited number of people.
  •  Engage The People

Quality engagement is at the heart of building an online community. For instance, at Headstart Africa, the contents are mostly about thought leadership on business growth, education and personal development. These contents are often entertaining yet filled with nuggets of solutions. So as a brand, matter your industry when you provide engaging contents that entertain and as well educates you are bound to build a sustainable community. How do you keep a community engaged? It is very simple. It is by sending engaging and entertaining email newsletters and content that will move your audience from point A to point B.
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In addition, you can go as far as inviting community members to share new things they are learning and posting them on social media.
  • Strike Interesting Conversations/Quality Content

Sharing quality content is what makes you stand out in the noise. To do this you must have the desire to make indelible footprints in the social media space by creating content that attracts. This is all about putting up a signal that commands attention. On LinkedIn, Ndubuisi Ekekwe has been able to empower individuals, businesses and brands through insightful articles that demystify business challenges in Africa. Therefore building a robust community could be as mundane as tweeting frequently about a specific thing or just trying to get into certain types of conversations and building on those conversations. To produce quality content, avoid publishing daily. Twice a week will suffice. Featured Image Source: Inc. Magazine
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This article was first published on 13th December 2022 and updated on December 14th, 2022 at 6:38 pm


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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