Biggest secrets of community building revealed (Guide for 2024)

community management

Many of my fellow business partners and followers run their own communities across different channels. Some are at the very initial stage and some managed to keep the ball rolling. When they heard about my intention to start a community on Email Marketing, they gave me some serious feedback about their own. To be honest, I wasn’t ready for those!

Below are some thoughts they shared with me about their own community problems and challenges.

I am not getting attention. 

I create content regularly on various channels but my engagement is low. 

People and followers are not buying from me.

I feel trouble communicating with my customers.

My community members are declining.

As a business owner, I felt their pains. Their thoughts hit me hard and I began to think about actual ways to build an engaging community and find out community performance metrics that matter most. 

Then I decided to help them out( literally help myself) and looked for a perfect solution to erase their headache. I actively looked for strategies to build and manage a community where community engagement would be both high and supportive.

Suddenly, a report by Circle grabbed my attention. The report is called –  2024 Community Benchmark Report. Maybe you are wondering what special is about the report and how it is related to our pain points.

I can tell you, this report covered all my questions and showed me the biggest secrets of community building, community management and community engagement with field data collected from community leaders.

I am very excited to share some surprising data from the report with you here. Like me, many of your misconceptions and myths regarding community will be cleared after reading the report. You will discover what works best to maintain a seamless communication with your customers. 

You will also learn how to become more personal to clients and know the benchmarks that impact both your business and the community. I will also show you the 4 exact ways to build and grow a dedicated community with the help of the report.

Don’t have enough time to read the full article here but curious to read that for later? No problem.

Download the 2024 Community Benchmark report right now.

By the way, Do you know about Circle? 

It’s one of the best all-in-one community platforms for creators and brands.

To grow a vibrant business community, jump straight to Circle with a 14-day free trial.

Time to dive into the details now.

Traditional social media communities and groups are full of irrelevant members and posts.

They lack limited automation & integration with other major software. 

There is no option to build courses for members.

There is no integration to receive payments directly from clients. 

Existing social channels analytics and community insights are not up to the mark to measure performance.

As those platforms are owned by tech giants, you have to create content according to their rule. Many of my friends’ ID and groups came across suspension due to unknown reasons.

I have already created a detailed blog post about the down sides and challenges of running community activities inside those social medias. You can read the full article here.

Some gaps from our part as a community leader

  1. We walk alone while running a community. Making business is reciprocity. Feeling lonely, bored and frustrated can lead us to quick burnout.
  2. We fail to represent ourselves to the target audience. We are surrounded by too many unrelated people and do purposeless actions.
  3. We are not creating content as per our customers’ needs. Because we fail to listen to their pain points(what members are saying, asking, and struggling with) and are also unable to find out our big WHY (What value do you offer to members? Are you fostering learning, collaboration, support, or something else entirely?).
  4. Our existing communication channel lacks actionable performance data measurement, customer feedback. We need standard community management metrics to know and apply.
  5. We are not utilizing effective modern two way communication tactics. Just selfishly promoting ourselves and our products or skills. Relationship building is underrated by us.
  6. We are using some low performing communication platforms and mostly relying on social media.

From the above points, three things are clear.

  • We need to adopt solid strategies for building and managing a community(understand the How to).
  • We need a dedicated all-in-one place for interactions( Where to host all data and contact on the go).
  • We need clear benchmarks to measure our community success( Which works fine & which area needs more focus).

Introduction to Circle Community Benchmark report

Circle is one of the leading community platforms that is contributing to sustainable community growth in the industry both for creators, entrepreneurs and for all kinds of brands.

Recently it has conducted a detailed survey reaching 682 community pros about community management strategies. It has picked up its own product usage data to identify activities of successful communities.

It has also undergone in depth interviews from successful community founders.Then they integrated all their findings and analytics under one roof and made it accessible to everyone. A huge clap for the Circle team indeed!

The Circle Community Benchmark Report has distinguished the communities into two groups.

Based on highest membership engagement, retention and growth – the top 10% of communities on Circle is called Platinum communities.

Everything else is called Standard communities.

This report highlights the unique actions and strategies taken by platinum creators that make them different from others and ranked them as top creators. I have also found the interviews from founders very helpful as those consist of realistic opinions.

Let’s have a quick look inside the report.

Note: we have used some screenshots taken from the report for your better understanding.

Some surprising community data that deserve your attention

Community size doesn’t matter: The report shows that you don’t need huge members to run a successful community. Only 7% of respondents have more than 5000 members in their community. And 4 in 5 respondents have 500 or fewer members.

Platinum communities charge money: There is a common myth among creators that big communities are charge free. But the reality is 93% of platinum communities charge their communities directly or offer as an add on to another purchase.

A small team is enough to run a big community: Successful communities are keeping their team size small. 3 in 5 respondents employ two or fewer freelance members to run daily activities. Platinum communities leverage their members through referral programs, member led events etc.

Only a few right tools are necessary for community  success: Half of the creators use only their community platform, email marketing and another automation tool. This helps them to focus more on member experience not on managing tools.

What is the secret sauce to platinum communities?

The report shows that platinum creators focus on 4 key areas. They focus on-

Member Acquisition

Member Onboarding

Member Engagement

Member Retention and Churn

Let’s break down the 4 strategies used by successful community leaders.

Member Acquisition

4 in 5 creators say that growing their member base is difficult for them. Most of them rely on YouTube and on Email to get new members.

They follow some unique strategies to attract new customers.

  • They leverage existing customers through word of mouth, referrals, sharing testimonials and success stories.
  • They partner with other creators and brands that are already trusted by their audience or target customers. It’s a win-win collaboration from both ends.
  • They never compromise with different high quality content. They write informative articles, run engaging discussions, create insightful Q&As, or even produce fun challenges. Variety is key!
  • Consistent action makes them unforgettable.
  • They promote themselves whenever and where possible.

Member Onboarding

Welcoming a new member and guiding him for the next steps, is a vital action taken by platinum creators. 

  • Platinum creators contact new members with deep empathy and address with personalized messages.
  • Their immediate message gives customers high value and a quick win.
  • Creators provide welcome tours on their service and products, show how to communicate and set up  FAQ on their onboarding process.
  • Some Circle users encourage members to use the Circle app for smooth communication and provide guidance on how to use Circle for best results.
  • Many community leaders use Circle for automating their member onboarding.

In short, they win customers’ hearts from the very first impression.

Here is data taken from the report about the best practices followed by platinum communities to onboard new customers.

Member engagement

This is the most exciting part of the report to me personally. I saw many facebook & linkedin groups, online communities & forums to die only due to lack of engagement. All those communities failed to hear members’ voices and pains.

Don’t be a passive observer. Proactively spark conversations, answer questions promptly, recognize and reward contributions, and create opportunities for members to connect with each other. This builds a sense of belonging and keeps people coming back.

Engagement can be considered the heartbeat of any community. Platinum communities foster engagement among members. The amazing part of the report is that over 70% of creators report spending most of their budget on content creation and driving engagement!

So, how do they drive engagement?

The answer is, Events. Amazed! So was I!

According to the report, the platinum communities mostly rely on various kinds of events to drive meaningful engagement. 59% of platinum creators said that their events see more than 50% attendance rate. Another stat amazed me a lot. 100% of platinum creators host events in some forms.

Take a look at the data of what type of events they host in communities.

Here are some extraordinary ways they attract customers to join events

  • Arrange events as per customer feedback. They directly ask questions, arrange polls and surveys to find out which events members would die for.
  • They send event reminders again and again to attendees through Emails, Direct messages etc. 
  • They make event participation easy through sending early instructions on how to participate and event details.

Do you like to host events also? Good news is that Circle got you covered!

  • You can manage your events through Circle Event calendar.
  • Host your events with live rooms and live streams.
  • Display upcoming events and enable RSVP.
  • Record, repurpose and share your events on the go.
  • Any member can join events straight from mobile using Circle App.

Retention & churn

Customer retention is very difficult to achieve for any community. It depends on many factors like member satisfaction, consistent show up, adding regular value, listening to customer feedback and many more.

According to the report, retention management makes a big difference between platinum creators and standard creators.

44% of platinum users consider retention as their top priority while 41% of standard creators take retention as their lowest priority.

Why is retention important to platinum creators?

Retention helps them not to chase new customers. Instead they can cross sell or up sell more products to existing customers. It also helps them to reduce churn.

Time to look at the strategies they follow to keep the momentum going.

  • Platinum creators highlight community activities, member contributions and values across different channels. It helps their audience to remember the community and engage more often.
  • Platinum creators show up consistently and offer personal help and guidance. 
  • They support membership churn and make it easy for members to exit. But that’s not the end of the story. They stay in touch with inactive members across different channels and encourage them to join again.

Your Community, Your Soul

Remember, your community is a living, breathing entity. To keep it alive and appealing to others, You need concrete plans, consistent actions and clear benchmarks for measuring growth.

By putting these strategies into practice stated in the circle report, you can create a space where people feel valued, connected, and empowered to grow together.

You can consider Circle as your best friend to cater your audience and build a supportive community.

Do you have any community-building tips of your own? Share them in the comments below. I take care of every opinion.

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