I have received countless emails saying they don’t have a bigger audience yet to start a community, and asking if they should wait till they reach thousands. I do understand, people don’t like to start something to see empty threads. Community building takes time, you have to put in your effort every-day forever, to keep your members happy and engaged.
But this is why starting a community early presents you with a great opportunity. Communities have to be flexible in nature, they should evolve with time-based on the feedback you hear from your early members. This gives you a fantastic foundation to experiment and find out how to build a community that suits your leadership and business needs.
The longer you wait, the lesser time you will have to learn and improve your community in the future.
For those who are just starting out, less than 20 potential members/customers.
Start your community by writing emails, which invites people to reply.
After some initial engagement, group the email addresses and start engaging in group conversations over email.
When you see the conversation going beyond 5 - 6 emails, and you potentially see many more replies coming in from future members, then ask your subscribers if they are okay with moving this conversation to a thread inside a community platform.
Host regular meet-up calls on Hangout or Whereby or Zoom, and keep the conversation going. Here you will find more interesting topics to discuss in the coming weeks.
Record the conversation and share this on your community forum, and then post it on social media.
Repeat steps 2, 3, 4 till your community size grows to the next stage and enough engagement for people to regularly check-in to your site. If you find any criticism emails dropping in, consider it a sign of success. People like what you do and want you to do it better. If you don’t see engagement from someone, take the conversation one on one and check if everything is okay with them. If they are no longer interested in what you do, please give them an easy way to unsubscribe and also tell them how to subscribe if they need you again.
It takes zero dollars a month to start your community.