“The hood behind me like a king cobra!” Big Sean
Building a product is super hard, selling that product is even harder. You can create the best thing since slice bread but without the support of customers your product will go no where fast. Having a strong community around your product can separate you from your competitors. As it has become much easier to produce a product we must all think about our crews aka our communities or tribes. Without them your product is just that, a product. No sales means your product will not exist very long. Great way to leave money on the table. Build that community sales will follow.
Loving the crew!
This morning I woke up and did my usual! I looked on twitter to gauge the pulse of the people I was following, to stay current with course offerings or webinars and current events. A man by the name of Wesley Verhoeve sent out a tweet that really caught my eyes. You can see the tweet below.
When I read the tweet portion that said Getting Community Right (or, clowns, who knew?) I knew exactly who he was talking about. I suggest you take a look at his post, it was spot on. I knew off the back that he was talking about those crazy guys that cant really rap for ish. Yup you guessed it the Insane Clown Posse. For those that don’t know, the Insane Clown Posse have created a cult like community that artists and businesses would kill for. As Wesley pointed out, “This is a band that doesn’t sell a whole lot of records, but makes a lot of money from the experiential aspect of music.” Their fans love these guys so music isn’t their main source of revenue. However, they built this community that will purchase other offerings such as tickets to their festivals, posters, face paint and a whole bunch of other merchandise. If they think it, chances are the community will buy it. This is the power of a community. Their community follows them every where they go, and are always waiting for the next product to buy or try.
Super man that…!
Another great example of building a community has to be Soulja Boy. He became a house hold name when he released “Crank That” back in 2007. There is no denying that he became a hit by exploiting social media in the best way possible. However; he didn’t stop there. He made sure to utilize as many social media tools to spread his message. He made sure he communicated via social outlets with his fans. Fans felt as if they were part of his whole movement. It also helped that Soulja was a bit more lyrical than the Insane Clown Posse, remember I said he was a bit better, he wasn’t the most lyrical either but he did smash the hooks. By communicating directly with his fans, Soulja Boy can sell almost anything he pleases. Remember his claims about making over a million dollars off of ring tones? His fans will support him in music and other businesses out of love and respect. He has 3.6 million followers on twitter waiting to hear from him. You can beat that!
#jetlife till the next life
I was lucky enough to witness how a community can mean dollar signs a few weeks ago when I attended the Jet Life Tour in NYC. Curren$y and the rest of the Jets put on a hell of a show for their community. I took a friend with me that had no respect for the crew at all but wanted to see what they were all about. Lets just say after he saw everyone at the venue quoting the crew line for line he understood why they have been killing it. One would think only stoners would listen to this crew, wrong assumption. They had a very diverse community of fans there. From the stoners, to suits there was no one set look. Everyone seemed to have a family vibe, showing each other love! They worked the hell out of the crowd also. It felt like every fan there could actually sit with the crew and chop it up. They have built a strong loyal community that not only buys their music, but also buy out shows, and lots of merchandise. They might not sell a million records each but they will continue to reap the benefits of having a strong community behind them. They built this community through social media and the right partnerships. They are selling clothes, rolling papers I mean anything that they see fit they can most likely sell. They cultivated a very loyal community.
Communities build brands
When you look at startups and how they are built, you can immediately point out a strong community. Take a look at Etsy. The idea was phenomenal, lets sell hand crafted goods to people. However; an idea is just an idea until all the moving parts are in place. Etsy took advantage of social media and built a strong supportive group. The community took it upon itself to help brand the marketplace. They love Etsy and want to make sure it succeeds. Yes they want it to succeed so they as sellers can sell products, but that’s the beauty of it. They respect it so much and understands its value that they will make sure it sticks around. Imagine having a million brand ambassadors without having to pay them a dime!
Another startup with a great community is Airbnb! AirbnB states that they are “a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.” Great idea? Of course it is they are crushing it. However; the community made the business, the founders created the framework behind it. Airbnb is a company that case studies will be made of in the future. They broke the rules when it comes to renting locations. Their community will set them apart from their competitors in the near future. Here a traveler can easily find a place to stay by tapping the community for insights. Everyone does their part to tell you everything you need to know about their stay with a host. If a host sucks, they will let you know and you can trust their judgement. If the hosts are great then you might have trouble booking their place. It reminds me of the community built around eBay. I would never bid on a product unless the community ranked the seller as a good one. Same rules apply for Airbnb, the community trusts each others judgement. It took a while but the community is getting bigger and better.
A great product never hurts and is just the start. Think of a product as an engine in a car, without the engine the car will not start. However; without the wheels the car will not move. In this case the community is the wheels of your product. As a company, building a community should be one of your top initiatives. The community behind your product can help you move your main product while they anxiously wait for another offering from your business. They are also available to suggest new features or even test new offerings. The branding and word of mouth that comes from a community can really set you apart. Having a tight community also helps when it comes to customer service. Look at a company like wordpress or tumblr, most of us don’t submit questions to them directly. We ask the community for help via company sponsored forums or blogs. Chances are you will receive help from the community much quicker than from the company due to the massive amounts of questions presented by the hour. A community serves as your best promotion and as your best customer service reps. Don’t slack on your community, work hard to build it along with trust and make sure to communicate your values as clearly as possible. Strive to build a community like eBays, not world star and longevity becomes attainable. No knock on world star but have you seen the comments on their posts. Not the best!
Building a community takes time and effort. However; that effort can lead to many possibilities. Know of a startup thats killing the community side of things? Let us know so we can get you insights on how they did it!