One of the many great keynotes given at the Community Leadership Summit (CLS) this year was by Rod Martin of Mautic, creator of marketing automation software.
Rod spoke to us about the five key secrets to growth hacking your community. If you're like me, you might be wondering what growth hacking is? Growth hacking is a fancy way to say throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks / works. Rod's talk stuck with me because he presented his argument by using a series of words and definitions to make it completely clear what it is we're trying to do when building our communities:
Building: to make or develop or to increase the amount of. If you want to build your community you can't just throw an announcement up on your forum and expect everyone to jump on it. Building a community is active, personal, and intensive. Instead of posting, you might need to personally talk to people. It takes a lot of time and commitment. Community doesn't just happen. You have to be active in your marketing and recruitment.
Powerful: having or exerting storm force, having great effectiveness. A community needs to have substance to it, it needs to have leadership and management. Those things don't just happen (and if they do it's rarely a good thing). You have to be visible, tangible, and emotional.
Community: a social group with a common culture. A community has character and it cares. A community has a culture built around the actions and leadership set in place. A culture gets built up over a number of years based on the members and leadership involved. To build your community you need do start with the "why" and always remember to come back to it. Remember why you're there and keep that in mind at all times. A great quote from Michael Hyatt states that: "When you lose your why you lose your way." If your community is struggling, if you're having a hard time recruiting people, go back to the why and tell your story.
Empowerment: to give power or authority to; authorize. Focus on making it easy in all areas. Make it easy for documentation folks, translators, artists, marketers, and others. Let's not get lost focusing only on our code. Every single person is important and can contribute in a meaningful way.
Equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. We need to celebrate everyone's contribution, not just the coders! Without documentation, without community managers, without community there is no project.