40 b2b leaders attended our Breakfast Club about building a must-have b2b community. We had 3 awesome speakers, Adam Smallman of PEI who shared a case study about launching a community, and Nancy Kinder of Connect and Share, and Darren Gough of Island23 who presented their expert guides to building a community.
- Community is fast becoming one of the most important ways to create and develop recurring value, with 76% of our group saying a community is important or critical to their business.
- This post is for anyone looking for ways to engage with their audience throughout the year. You may be scratching your head about how to encourage members to share insights, create ongoing value, and figure out what resources are needed. This article is written to help you.
- Here, we share 9 big insights from the Breakfast Club about how to build a must-have community.
What is community, and why it matters
Businesses are focused on creating value year round, and developing a community has the potential to create deep and lasting relationships.
Collaboration is the most commonly used description of community by our group. Collaboration implies sharing, and problem solving, and also trust. Getting this mix right is difficult, but rewarding.
Community is a specific group of people who have developed relationships around a strong common interest. – Nancy Kinder
9 big insights about community building
Insight 1: top 5 challenges
- Judging success during early stages
- Making a cultural change e.g. from big bang events
- Finding leaders to start conversations
- Getting peers to share
- The business case i.e. getting the community to pay for something
Insight 2: essential building blocks
Insight 3: keys to unlock value in a community
- Be authentic. Avoid copying others – ‘there is not a “RIGHT” blueprint for community’
- Create a strong purpose. Distil what your community offers that no one can get elsewhere
- Aim for quality over quantity
When you have even a small group of people saying high value things, this builds vibrant communities over the long term.Darren gough
Insight 4: pitfalls to avoid
- Doing things to chase numbers kills communities
- Spend less on the platform and more on the people
- Be aware that you will still have to do the work
Insight 5: encouraging creators within a community
- Recognise their contribution
- Identify natural people who enjoy it
- Curate good content (and translate it into new formats)
- Don’t try to force people to contribute (it won’t work)
- Community managers are invaluable
Insight 6: how to ask a question that gets a response
Insight 7: how to create a recurring benefit
- Give it a clear purpose (not broad)
- Provide the most interesting topics
- Find needs in the community, surface those, and get the community to solve them
- Share use cases from brand ambassadors
- Create resources to share the knowledge
Insight 8: planning the resources you need
- “The biggest challenge is making this someone’s job, not just leveraging skills in the business.”
- “Community wranglers are a difficult mix of journalist/producer and social skills, and a listener – which is a tricky personality/skill mix to find.”
- “Utilise event professionals to build thriving communities and transition from big bang events to ongoing community value.”
- “Community people need to be helping others to solve problems – it’s an encouraging role.”
- “Don’t start off with the returns in mind – get the pieces on the chessboard and then find value for them and the ecosystem, for example sponsors.”
- “You need to have a dedicated resource who is committed to getting the community engaged.”
Insight 9: if you do one thing…ask two questions
- What is your number 1 challenge?
- What is your ‘black belt’ skill?
When people join your community, ask these two questions to build your data and connect like-minds.
Creating a community is a long game, using these 9 big insights from the collective experience of 40 b2b leaders will help you to cut through.
“The breakfast club is a great opportunity to talk openly with similarly minded professionals exploring different ways to crack similar challenges.”
If you are a b2b subscription leader, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join our Breakfast Club.