The word “community” used to be a buzzword attached to other aspects of a business (marketing, sales, customer service) or not appear at all. The problem here is that people often conflate community with an audience, but there is a key distinction: The audience (e.g. of your newsletter) is a one-sided information flow, whereas in a community (e.g. an active Slack Channel) the information flow works many-to-many. 

    Why you should invest in community-led growth?

    Picture this – you’re in search of a new photo editing tool for yur passion-project you’ve had on your list for years. Bu then you noticed times changed and you can’t print a picture without editing it before and also the tools that you could work with changed or outdated within the last years.
     
    Deciding on which tool to use is a to-do list item in itself. So you start research and come across a photography community. In there you’re not only finding the answer to your question, you see authentic conversations about what others are doing and how they’re doing it. People share similar projects and some of the big photography comapnies like Nikon or Canon should almost pay this “free” customer service.

    Times changed – and organizations gradually realized how fruitful and sustainable community-led growth is on its own. Everyone wants to go easy on resources nowadays.

    It doesn’t draw toward the product, however about everything that comes with it. You get knowledge which helps you decide on a product and more. You realize that you were not just looking for a product, but for an experience.

    From a business perspective, the idea of building a community is to break down the barriers of communication and allow customers to interact with each other –

    Your only job as an organization is to facilitate that and move out the way.

    The best part about community? Humans are community creatures. We build on the most fundamental aspect of human nature — our need for connection and recognition.

    community growth cycle
    Community is a ripple effect— how you build it resonates with its members at such an intricate level that it inspires them to give back to the community and eventually contribute without expectations. Passive customers do not exist anymore. 
     

    That’s the big win!

    To be specific:
     

    • Get an improved roadmap for pivoting idea or product
    • Get a sustainable market fit through organic customer feedback
    • See your community as a network of opportunities – unleash its potential
    • Organic Growth is the most sustainable and authentic one, nobody will ever forget you again
    Every business wants to have loyal, emotionally attached customers that share their opinion and thrive the product through their free feedback.

    Community development is not a new idea, but in this era companies are approaching the topic differently.

    Oftentimes there is a pond for activities that build stronger and more resilient employee or partner networks – so why not doing the same for your product and services?

    The power of community is existing, it just takes a longer time to be measurable. Community-led growth is experts and Pappus calls the strategy that surpasses sales and even marketing techniques.
     
    It is a balanced approach that enables a company to grow in new directions without loosing focus because the idea is already validated by your customer. Start nurturing a community and you (intentionally or unintentionally) will find product-market fit.

    community development through community led growth strategy

    Community-led growth can establish a niche like coworking or strengthen a movenment when it comes to purposeful, impactful and sustainable businesses.

    A strengthened relationship between your brand and the people who are a part of it, that’s it what is what Pappus fosters.
     
    Forget the word customer, replace it for “community members”
     
    But keep in mind that a Community takes time to build. It’s not a competition, it never was, and it never will be. If you’re building a community, first ask yourself some obvious, but thought-provoking questions.
     
    Why do I want to build a community?
    This is a question that needs to be answered with purpose. If you want to build a community, you have to stick and fight for it in a long run. We recommend to do a purpoe test by GeniusU or others.
     
    What does my community offer?
    After finding purpose, a validation of my offer and benefits is necessary. If you want that people care, you have to think from their perspective. Why would you join your community? The answer does help you not only later when it comes to monetiztion, it also will help you identify what differentiates your community from others.
     
    How do I differentiate?

    A community is a cultural and social unit that is made up of members who share the same values and norms. Being unique makes you attractive. If you provide something that other places don’t have, they will keep coming back. After you’ve aligned your goals, defined strategies, and discovered your target audience, it’s time to start small. Community is a result of small and consistent wins that compound over time. Once you put in enough effort in the right places, you’ll reap the fruits of your efforts.

     
    If you’ve built your brand with your community in mind, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to cultivate more advocates. That’s what makes community-led growth stand out. It may not be the most speedy path towards growth, but it is the most sustainable. We recommend you invest in saving some marketing budget on Google Ads and Co., investing it in community development.