For the marketing sphere of business, the evolution of the internet was the equivalent of the invention of the wheel in the stone age. The internet being a prospective medium for marketing with the comfort of a computer was the only bandwagon everyone jumped on. Soon, Digital Marketing became the de-facto of effective marketing and metamorphosed everything physical into a digital entity, even communities.
Online communities are not very different than societal communities. They’re factions of people who share common views and hold similar opinions. The affixation of the word ‘online’ means that they use the Internet as a facilitator to interact and champion for what they believe in. Just as communities are vital to social well-being, online communities hold an important place in bringing a deeper meaning to businesses today.
We, at GeekyAnts, have experienced the magic of online communities and the benefits of building them first hand. It essentially means having people in on your visions and goals and they sharing your mission with the same vigour and enthusiasm. Today, we are proud owners of the local React Native interest community group as well as the local Flutter group. We are also a part of the global Flutter organizers community as well as the top name in the Mobile App Development sphere with our services and products.
How did we get here? Here’s the short version: We did it with the people.
Understand what a community stands for.
Your goals behind being a community member are driven by the kind of work you are passionate about. We started as a service company that wanted to build unparalleled mobile and web apps in React Native for people who needed them. The obvious path was to be a part of communities that revolved around React Native and doing so exposed us to the fact that we weren’t the only ones who were crazy with passion, which made us drive harder and farther to establish ourselves in the ecosystem. It gave our brand a name in the market, led to better connections with the people within the sphere and helped us establish ourselves as leaders of what we do.
Believe in what you do.
A community is essentially formed around a single spark. When people saw how passionate we were about our work, it brought them closer to us and made them a part of our mission. Apace with our services, our products started picking up momentum and the people who believed in us became our evangelists. All this did not happen overnight, but through a long running trust in our work and belief in our capabilities that helped us deliver and convinced people to share that belief in us too.
Let it be organic.
You cannot force people to trust you or follow you. Behind their online personas, they are still people and they feel the need to connect to you and your decisions. We did not manage to build a dense community in a snap. It took time and patience. We just continued to do what we do best and people who could find a connection with us and our work flocked around, one member at a time. Out of all the ways you can grow a community, organic growth is the best. It takes time but has the longest retention and is the most fruitful.
Listen to the people.
Online communities are not just about people associating themselves with you, but also you associating yourself with them. It’s a two way street. Your members can be your advocates but oftentimes, they will also show you the error of your ways. We crave feedback from our community members. It is music to our ears because we know that it will help us be better at what we do. Social media is one of the best methods to facilitate this conversation. We’re always active on social media and are always looking for conversations, and so should you.
Make people an integral part of your work.
It is pivotal to make your members feel like an integral part of your community, because they are. We attempted to do that with our Open Source Contributions such as NativeBase & Vue Native. Not only did we introduce something new to the market, we also asked people for help and they answered. You’ll be surprised to see how people respond to help you realize a vision. They feel like a part of the overall scheme and that ignites them with a deeper sense of belonging.
Meet new people and network.
Events have a major impact on community building. They help you build relationships and grow your network. It is also a way to meet people that you have been talking to on social media but have never met in person. Overall, it becomes the glue that holds a community together. We host meetups and events on the regular to bring the community together and give people an opportunity to make connections, learn from each other and grow. We also attend conferences worldwide, because they are our sources of inspiration and innovation. Meeting people who share the same passion as you gives you perspective and we try to facilitate that for people. It reaps a lot of rewards in the long run.
These are also some helpful tips if you’re starting out to build a community around your passion. The biggest takeaway from this article would be that online communities, like all other communities that exist, should be focused on and around people. How your work impacts the people that are associated with it will give you direction and help you focus on the right things. That’s how it brought us where we are and will continue to take us ahead.
Until next time...
Image credits: Freepik