We're gradually walking into a connected world; it's a lot easier now to have a thousand more people in your network than it was two decades ago. Spurt!’s "Monetising your community" workshop was an exploration into the depths of community interactions, Spurt! hosted Ife Durosinmi-Etti and Ibi Fiberesima as they shared their insights, experiences and even personal accounts in an exciting masterclass to explore the ways to build and maintain thriving communities and how to monetise those communities. We had a clear mission:
1. Encourage Community Engagement: We set out to fan the flames of community engagement, essentially working to create the spaces where like-minded individuals or groups could gather, connect, and share common experiences.
2. Empower Community Members: Empowering our community members was a top priority for this workshop with which we sought out strategies to make them feel like a part of something important, encouraging them to join the party and feel valued in it.
3. Incorporate Community Feedback: We aimed to let our community play an active role in building our brand, essentially giving them a backstage pass to our brand's inner workings and get their thoughts on things.
4. Select the Appropriate Platform: Selecting the right platform is a bit like picking the perfect venue for our set-up. Getting a place where our brand's values and our audience's tastes sync up to make for a more cohesive experience.
5. Leverage User-Generated Content: We explored the options of user-generated content, using the power of our community's creativity to elevate the authenticity of our interactions.
6. Establish a Social Mission: We set out to leverage the power of a clear cause that would resonate with our community member, something they believe in.
7. Chasing the Money: We explored all the ways we could cash in on our community - from digital creations to sponsored posts or events, job boards, exclusive memberships, and even selling merch.
8. Attract Partners and Sponsors: We explored the idea of networking, learning how to convince partners and sponsors to pitch their tents with us and our causes toward mutually benefiting outcomes.
9. Learn from Real-Life Examples: We looked at establishments like Apple and Beyonce, who've leveraged their communities to a cult following and brands like Starbucks and Playstation who have made their businesses more community oriented.
10. Embrace the Human Element: In all of this, we embraced the human element; It's not just about platforms, it's about the people, the shared passions, and the thrill of experimenting.
What We Discovered:
1. We learned that creating a special space for community interaction is the first step and while it could be organic or engineered, it still requires intentionality and care to create these spaces.
2. Rewarding our community members is a good way to build loyalty and encourage retention.
3. Involving our community in brand development helps to build their value and encourage ownership on their part.
4. Choosing the right platform makes for a more seamless experience and improves cohesiveness.
5. User-generated content is a great way to ensure that the content is what the users enjoy and want to see.
6. A social mission is the heart and soul of our brand, striking a chord with our community towards a shared cause.
7. We discovered a treasure trove of monetisation strategies that fit our community's interests.
8. We were given tips on best practices in attracting partners and sponsors that can help build our reach and credibility among other things.
9. Real-life examples like Apple, Starbucks, Playstation and Beyonce are great examples on how to monetise a community to build a cult following.
10. We learned that shared interests and a human touch make our community more cohesive and endearing to be a part of.
Ife Durosinmi-Etti and Ibi Fiberesima's were gracious as they shared these insights with us, taking our questions and sharing their own personal experiences on their respective journeys toward monetising their communities. Whether we're on a global scale or a local radar, creating value, empowering our community, and fostering that sense of belonging is imperative to community building, only then can we hope to monetise them. Our building a community isn't just about making money; it's about building a loyal base and leveraging on the value exchange we facilitate in the spaces we create while generating wealth.