Issue #02: How to build a crypto community from scratch?
The first 100 — how do we get it?
We've been building communities for a very long time, but every day we feel like we're learning something new — for example, writing this newsletter and provide value to our gang of community builders.
We currently have 37 subscribers (thank you, guys) with an average view of 160 per post. Our goal is to reach 100 community builders by Issue #4, which is four weeks from now. And here are what we've done so far:
We tweeted about the newsletter from our personal accounts, and we debated whether we should run a separate Twitter account for the Crypto Community Handbook as we're trying to consolidate on socials. Should we run the CCH Twitter account separately or stick to our personal accounts and just let the CCH one grow its own slowly? Curious to hear your thoughts. Besides that, it's also worth noting that every new issue is shared on LinkedIn, Reddit, and Telegram.
We collaborated with some of the great community builders to share their insights about building crypto communities, and we're in talks with a few NFT artists/platforms to collaborate on our upcoming issue. Also, we’re working on with token issuance platform for a token drip growth campaign. In the world of crypto, you can be as creative as you want when it comes to growth strategies. We're breaking the limits here as a token (FT or NFT) rewards come into action. Who doesn't love free NFTS or tokens?
We mentioned the newsletter to our friends here and there, and friends like Daniel from Cryptocurrency Jobs generously helped us spread the word.
What have we learned for the past few years? Like all great things building communities isn't an overnight thing; it is a gradual process. You might also want to put a backpedal on growth hacking as you want that retention and community buy-in. Let's remember growth means an increase in quantity over time. 1,000 True Fans? Try 100 — we particularly love this essay from a16z and take inspiration from it when we build our initial community. 37 is far away from 100, and we could've done a lot more, but we will get there as long as we focus on creating something useful for you.
The first 100 — how do we get it?
Building a crypto community — no matter if you have a token or not, all comes down to getting the basics right, such as the right platform mix, the community experience, setting a reasonable goal, knowing who's your community members, and building great content and resources while providing value. Let us break it down to you.
1. A crystal clear mission
What are you trying to achieve with your community? Try to communicate your mission as clear as it can get, repetition is key, from making a community pledge to even your own commandments or community guidelines.
Let's take a look at Ryder, a modern cryptocurrency hardware wallet built by a community of makers. Currently, it has a private Discord server that gathers all selected makers that want to contribute to bringing true self-sovereign identity in the digital world. The current server is used to establish a community feedback loop for product development and code contribution.
Check Ryder's Community Experience below:
A crystal clear description of what your community is about.
A memento that tries to remind everyone on WHY this community exists.
And a community guideline is always a must.
2. Choose the right platform
What's the right platform mix in building a crypto community? You can always mix things up or do one over another.
Let's use the Stacks Ecosystem as an example. We've validated our community for the past years and have seen growing success in fragmenting it into two simple segments: Traders and Builders. This particular division enables us to put resources in essential functions that matter for both audiences like builders live in Discord while our Trading community found their home in Telegram. Our trading community facilitated a steady-state organic growth of Stacks Holders while Builders focused on creating products and services that matter within the ecosystem.
The majority of crypto projects choose to settle their communities on Telegram or Discord. The rest are using Reddit, 4chan (like Chainlink), Twitter, Facebook, or even messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, or Signal. We will go more in-depth about the Link Marines in upcoming issues.
We've put together a table — a comparison of Telegram and Discord, to help you evaluate the platform and adopt the one most suited to your needs.
3. Understand community experience
The first touchpoint is always important. From the moment a random stranger enters your community's home, whether it is Discord or Telegram, a conversation could change everything. This initial touch base can covert random lurkers into lifetime community members. Trust us, we've seen a lot of great community journeys come from this single scenario.
Let's bring back Ryder as an example here and see how we've personalized the entire onboarding process for all new community members. Remember those extra little things that make everything special. Take your time to think about it and what will make the experience better. Don't be afraid to create personalized stickers or even throw a few memes - after all; it is the basic unit of cultural idea and digestible in 3 seconds.
Look at some of the stickers we made in the Stacks Community:
3. Know your community members and create great content for them
Who're your community members, why do they want to join the community, what're they looking for, and what're their expectations. To find out those answers, some tactics you can use to communicate with them:
Don't forget to touch base — regular check-in is encouraged
Over communicating is OKAY, always get feedback and input, even simple sharing of articles is appreciated
Clear to-do's on how they can contribute
Empathy — everything's better with empathy ❤️
Then creating content that is dedicated to them. As for the content creation, it will be a ton to cover, so we'll deep dive into it in our next issue.
4. Goal setting
Setting a reasonable goal is a good start — either go big or start small, you'll need a plan to achieve it. What's your community OKR as a whole? This is one of the most difficult challenges in building communities - How do we measure the value generated by our community members?
No worries if you haven't figured it out yet. This is a gradual process; as we've said, you can always start small. Measuring our community's value at Stacks took quite some time, but now we have a north star, and together as one, we aim for it:
Increase the # of token holders to 1,000,000 by 2023, currently at 330,000 STX Holders
Expand Stacks to more than 100 countries by 2023, currently at 32 Countries
Increase the # of Stacking Pools + Total STX Locked
Increase the # of Mining Pools + Total BTC Transferred
Increase # of Smart Contracts build, currently at 152
We encourage you to share your goal with your community — because they're the ones that help you achieve the goal, and don't forget to celebrate all the wins with them.
5. Spread the news
There're a few places for you to share and recruit your members, such as social media and other community groups. You can either share a link or use a Linktree-like landing page to share all of your links at once). Also, create a campaign with a little bit of incentive is a good idea — we'll need some motivates to click on one more link and it will be a good opportunity for potential members to get to know your community better. We will discuss in the next chapter tips and tricks to grow your socials.
Last but not least, please remind yourself to enjoy the process, it takes time to grow a community and you need to be really patient.
Case Study: The EPNS Community
🔔 Project: Ethereum Push Notification Service (EPNS)
📅 Started: Spring 2020
👥 Current community size: Telegram: 2,300+; Twitter: 10k+
📈 Breakthrough moment: One viral tweet with a short video
🧠 Takeaways: Discover your communities' personality
Richa: Hey Awesome Crypto Community Handbook folks, great to be here ☺️ I’m Richa, Co-founder of Ethereum Push Notification Service (EPNS). I love wearing multiple hats at EPNS with a focus on marketing, growth, and strategy.
Ethereum Push Notification Service is a decentralized notification protocol that enables any Web3.0 Service (dapps, smart contract, and even traditional services) to send notifications to user wallet addresses. What’s also cool!?, notifications are platform agnostic, and users earn a passive income from them.
1) How did you build the EPNS community from scratch? 🐈
I think we started with a very weird note. We read about community, blogs, articles on Google… Most articles on Google emphasized that building a community needs to be something severe…this is what the people will first feel about your project, etc. This drove us to build content with a lot of carefulness and many projections of what the project should look like. Only when we started posting content and we got amusing and sometimes even goofy replies from some of the Web3 founders and people who made Ethereum was when we realized that it does not need to be that serious!
At a later point in time, we also had the pleasure to interact with Simona, who further cleared away our doubts of being very serious with the community and instead project the personality we have in your project, which, if you don’t know, already is built upon a lot of projects, heart emojis and “woohoo.”
What we learned in the process is that building a community is always a long-term process. People usually think it’s just 1 viral post, and the community will be built. But the community stands much more than that — stands for your idea, stands for your connection between you as a founder and all the awesome folks who decide to support you and hear you out. Instilling personality in the project that the community vision also starts on the same ethos as your personality.
We firmly believe that building a community is a long-term task, something we initially achieved by speaking one-on-one with all our early community members, talking tech, and having fun, which creates a group with aligned personalities and passion. And whenever that happens, the results are directly translated into the project but yes, coming back to the point more than that one viral posting; you need to instill the personality you carry in the project, which will ensure a self-operated, self-evolving, and fun community.
2) How did you get the first 100 community members?
The biggest challenge is about opening talking about your idea and vision, which many founders are scared to do initially because of the fear of public backlash or the idea getting copied; we had the same fear. We also thought about this but decided that community feedback is far more important to ensure that the project can transform into a startup. This was the genesis of forming our community.
Our first 100 members were tech people interested in the idea and wanted to learn and give suggestions that made EPNS what it is now. I guess what I am saying is that you need to talk about your idea or its technical Implementation from the get-go! I remember one of the very first raw tweets was a video showing solidity code, a running node, and a mobile app to prove that notifications can be delivered through smart contracts. This tweet was supported by some of the awesome projects of Ethereum, which made us go from zero to 100!!
Always remember, Ethereum community is awesome, and “help shall be given to all the #Ethdevs who will ask for it”….co-founder is a Harry Potter fan and made me write this :)
Alright, we know it’s a loooong read, and thank you so much for reading till the end.
Question for the day: how did you get your first 10, 100 community members?
Have a good one and see you next time.
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