Jacques Sauvagnargues is building Link My Ride – connecting cyclists across the world. Yesterday we sat down together (seats not saddles) to discuss how he is using mobile tech to build a high performing community.
But like most cyclists, we weren’t alone – we were in a Peloton with a elite group of community builders and experts. This was one of a series of gatherings to explore how mobile tech can create community and transform transactions into relationships, kindly sponsored by ASquared (a brilliant full service app creation agency who I met in mysterious circumstances).
The headline insight for me is that developing community is itself a team sport.
The wisdom of yesterday’s crowd was exceptional and I wish every founder could have access to such an impressive advisory group. Since few do, here are few of the key suggestions and challenges. We’ll share this on LinkedIn too, tagging some of the people involved so please feel welcome to join the discussion here or on LinkedIn – or direct with the people involved!
- your early adopters will be different from later joiners, and won’t automatically bond as strongly
- expect fragmentation as sub-groups form among your community
- beware of offering free services as this can undermine trust
- users may require plenty of nudging, especially if you are creating a two-sided marketplace
- be ready to launch and then iterate
- create a brand frame that’s big enough for every potential stakeholder
- community must be voluntary – and doesn’t need to be permanent
- think carefully about the incentives you offer beyond the novelty that will appeal to some early adopters
- every £1 in research can save £10 of build costs
- create a sense of “belonging”
- don’t fear failure – test!
- remember that your members are multi-dimensional and you can engage them in many dimensions
- if you’re using gamification, beware of putting prices on rewards
- maintain relevance
- ask members what they want, but
- be prepared to offer members feature that they haven’t asked for
- always make your purpose central to what you are doing