Building a Community Isn’t as Hard as It Sounds. Here Are 15 Steps to Help You Out.
Have you ever wondered what it would take to build your own religion, community or a cult-like following? We know we have!
Hello Aluxers! Earlier this week we had a meeting with one of the tech companies we’re invested in and we discussed what it takes to build a community around your company.
This is something everyone is looking to do around their business so pay attention, for this will do wonders for your company or your personal brand.
As always, here is the video version of this article:
Here are 15 things you take into account when you build a community around your business or in catchier terms: 15 steps to build a religion!
Values & Culture
Fundamentally, we’re all looking for this idea of belonging; Of finding the people who are just like you.
We all have that empty space within ourselves that needs to be filled.
We are drawn to people who are like us, to people who see the world the same way we do and that are walking the path we chose to walk on.
Every religion & every community is composed of people sharing the same values, the same culture, who are moving together.
They say if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!
The moment you find people who share the same values as you, the journey to going far can begin.
Colors, Symbols & Rituals
Every community has simple ways to identify themselves amongst the crowds.
Be it religious communities, be it sports fans or other interest based communities. We all like to communicate what communities we belong to. It’s in the way we dress, in the way we talk and behave out in the wild.
It helps us recognise others who are in the same community as us.
Through colors, symbols and rituals, we provide those who are able to recognise them with a patch of trust. “I can trust that person, because they are signaling that they are the same as me”
In order to build a community around your product, brand or even your cult, you will need to:
Educate them on what it means to be part of the community.
Every group has a set of rituals that they abide by. Religious people meet regularly at the church, football fans meet at the stadium and Skaters meet at the park.
Make Me Feel Special
Every community makes you feel lucky and special to be part of the group. There’s this feeling that you guys know something that everyone else isn’t yet familiar with and it feels good to be this privileged.
Most people gravitate towards different communities in times of need. This is usually the first point of contact between someone new and the group.
The more you asked people why they joined, it will become clear to you that almost all of them will provide the same answer:
“They helped me without expecting anything in return!”
The second most common reason is: They accepted me without judgement.
And we both know that acceptance is just another form of help.
For without it the entire community can quickly fall apart.
Trust is the underlying bond of every social contract!
And they say being trusted is even a higher compliment than being loved.
The goal of every religion is to build trust and they do this by delivering what is perceived as value.
“I am better off because of my community”
Trust leads to more trust the same way fear leads to more fear. Every community is there to provide a safe-heaven against what we fear.
Those who understand how to build trust win at social interactions. This is such an interesting topic that we’re considering doing a full piece on how to build trust next Sunday. If you want to see it, let us know in the comments.
“Again and again the community is there for me!”
Every year religious people celebrate holidays.. Every year team plays in the national championship. As for ourselves, every day we post a new article.
Consistency is key!
No matter what you’re trying to achieve, consistency is probably the most valuable thing one has to master. Pursue any goal consistently and it’s just a matter of time until you achieve it!
The success of the individual, of the group or even of the religion, requires a high level of consistency through time, that’s why most communities are very conservative when it comes to change.
Building the routine, building the daily practice, building those consistent behaviors tightly-knit down the community.
That’s why the ask you to pray every day, that’s why you go to church consistently. That’s why every year you have the same rituals.
Figure out what are some of the consistent rituals you can build in your community and you’re good to go.
Promise of a Positive Personal Outcome
By nature, we are selfish creatures. The benefit of the individuals has been an important part of our survival and that’s embedded in our DNA to this day.
For a community you build to flourish, there needs to be a promise of a positive outcome for the individual.
On a member level, everyone needs to think:
“If I keep doing the things the community is telling me to do, I will be ok”
Let’s take Tesla as an example.
Those who are invested in the project, put their money where their mouth is. There is a direct financial benefit to them if things go the right way.
If Tesla becomes the biggest car manufacturer in the world, I will get rich because of it.
If I go to church and confess my sins, they will weigh less on my soul and I can go about my day in a happier fashion.
Every group needs to have a positive personal outcome on the individual level in order to entice the members to
Vulnerability & A Charismatic Authority Figure
Every good religion has some sort of charismatic leader. This is the persona the members of the community look up to.
Jesus, Mohammed, Budha for religions, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, even businesses have figured this out. Look at the impact Steve Jobs has had for Apple, pay attention to what Elon is doing for Tesla and his other projects.
These charismatic authority figures have the power to speak to what the community is FEELING.
They stand for something and it’s usually someone bigger who is oppressing them; this was very clear with religious leaders and social change, but for some reason the business environment didn’t put it together.
Both Steve Jobs and Elon Musk plaid the card of the underdog.
They are both fighting the system.
The feeling is:
“We are vulnerable unless we stand together”
Watch the old apple commercials and this fight against authority becomes apparent. Elon Musk is currently the second richest man in the world, yet he still acts as if he’s the underdog. He fights the SEC, he built a company to outperform NASA in terms of innovation and overall he’s fighting the oil and gas industry.
This draws people in. Everyone wants to be at the cool kids table.
Skin in the Game
A lot of people can voice their opinions about anything, but unless you have skin in the game those opinions don’t matter, for you are not affected in anyway by the outcome. In order to make an opinion valid, you need to factor in risk. Without it, an opinion is nothing.
The concept of skin in the game fixes this.
To build a religion, cult or community, the people involved are required to get some skin in the game. If I don’t follow the religion, I get sent to hell.
The moment you invest in tesla, your life is connected to the success of the company. If the company fails, you fail. If the company does well, you do well.
This is why the bitcoin & crypto communities are so phanatical. They have skin in the game. People put a lot of money into these projects and are sharing the risk of losing it all. But if Bitcoin does become the prefered store of value for countries and institutions, then you become rich.
The more skin in the game you have the more you become an advocate for the thing you are involved with.
As a rule of thumb: Get the members of the community you build to be participants, not just spectators!
Once they are involved and have acquired skin in the game, they need to be able to have their voices heard. Sharing the risks gets you a seat at the table.
There’s a phenomenal book by Nassim Taleb titled Skin in the Game that expands beautifully on the topic. If you go to aluxfreebook.com right now and this is the first time you sign up you can get the audiobook version of Skin in the Game for free, thanks to the great folks at Audible who chose to support our own community.
If you are interested in bitcoin and thinking to invest in it, check out 10 Biggest Misconceptions About Bitcoin.
Knowing One-Another, Touchpoints
Communities are personal. As humans we need the human connection in order to build bonds. There are very few things that come close to recognising someone you know in a crowded environment where you don’t know anyone else.
This is why communities get together regularly. They schedule events, they speak and get to know one another. They create touchpoints and memories.
These moments in time build bonds and bring the community together.
By the way, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank Casey, Becca, Michael Jay, Rashid & Trusno for always being in the comment section helping out the community. We see you!
In order for any religion to keep growing it needs to constantly bring in more and more people.
The fundamental thesis is this: If this benefits me, why wouldn’t I go tell others like me!
Once a group achieves a critical point in scale it evolves into something else as network effects begin to take place. You get bargaining power, your interaction with other groups starts to change.
So there are multiple incentives to having as large of a community as you can.
Every community needs to pay close attention to the first members it draws in, for they are the avatars of all the future members. You don’t want to accept everyone in your community, for in time smaller groups might take rise that have conflicting opinions about the long term vision of the project.
Pay attention to the values these people have and allow in only those who match yours.
Is Everywhere in Different Forms
Apple is a religion. Starbucks is a religion. LGBTQ community is a religion, same with the feminist movement or people who play Dungeons & Dragons.
These may not fit the literal definition, but the communities are organised in the same way.
The fact that you can travel to the other side of the world and connect with someone over the fact that “Joey doesn’t share food” translates to a universal understanding of values and common beliefs.
There are regional communities, but the most successful ones are borderless.
Anyone who is driven by the same set of values can join the community and we have the internet to thank for the democratization of access.
Every good community has their Inner jokes, memes & lingo.
People who are into crypto use certain words, people who are into gaming also have their own terminology.
This might sound ridiculous to some of you, but memes are the latest evolution in the language of communication.
The fact that you have laser eyes on twitter means something to a specific community of people. The fact that people who are writing legislation do it as well… transpires from the internet into the real world.
This is why Elon keeps tweeting memes.
We are now communicating differently. Members of each community have their own inner jokes that other people don’t get. It’s building a sort of inner circle of those who do get it.
If you’re looking to build a religion or a cult-like following, harness the power of memes, inner jokes and build your own lingo.
Make It Fun
Nobody wants to hang out with boring people for extended periods of time. The thanksgiving dinner is more than enough time to spend with your – let’s call it outdated style of thinking – grandpa.
This is the reason why most actual religions have some sort of singing involved. Nobody would come to church if every time they told you how much of a sinner you are.. You gotta make it fun.
The strongest bonds you’ve built in your life are with your friends growing up. You might not remember every time you met, but you know you had fun.
Outside of the direct value you’re getting from being part of the community, there needs to be an entertainment aspect to it.
Go Towards Something Greater Than Everyone
Earlier we mentioned the promise of a better individual outcome as one of the most appealing elements of joining a community, but there’s the individual and then there’s the bigger picture.
Let’s keep using Tesla as an example for consistency reasons.
If you’ve got skin in the game and you’re an investor in Tesla, on an individual level, you might get rich from your investment and get yourself a cool electric car with the money. Nice!
On a macroscale things are quite different. If everything works out for Elon the way he’s planning it, this guy will take humanity to Mars. Bitcoin wants to shift power from banks to individuals.
Notice the duality here? On an individual level you reap an individual reward. On a macro level, there’s something greater than the individual at play here.
The best of the best communities have this overarching bigger-than-ourselves type of promise.
Show Appreciation to Your Community
They need to know that you care for them. That you have their best interests at heart and that you don’t take the community for granted. That’s when your numbers start to dwindle.
Let them know how much you appreciate their involvement and even reward those who are helping with the mission.
Every person in your community has the potential to become an ambassador for your cause or brand. Give back to those who’ve been with you for a while, for they are the ones most likely to stick with you until the very end.
It is your responsibility to care for them, in return they will walk alongside you!
Which is why we want to take this opportunity to say thank you to those of you who are here reading this article and walking alongside us towards our mission of making the lives of 1 billion people slightly better!
We wouldn’t be here without you and we can’t get to where we’re going without you either. We know some of you have been with us almost since the beginning while others more recently joined us, so we’re curious: How long have you been an Aluxer? Let us know in the comments!