Getting Started With Communities

Published 2023-03-27
By Upen
Founder at MicroSaaSHQ, building Siteoly and Flezr.

I am the founder of Micro SaaS HQ - The largest ecosystem built around Micro SaaS with 25,000 Newsletter subscribers and hundreds of closed community members.

Quick overview of Micro SaaS HQ - A community specifically designed for Micro SaaS Builders. This community is a part of the largest Micro SaaS ecosystem that includes a newsletter, interviews, information products, and Micro SaaS News, all of which are geared towards supporting and promoting the growth of Micro SaaS businesses.

Micro SaaS HQ

It took me a considerable amount of time to determine whether to pursue building a community or not. In this post, I will share some pointers that can be helpful if you are just starting out with creating a community or are currently deciding whether to launch one.

The trend of communities is experiencing exponential growth, with everyone placing high stakes on growing communities. However, it is important to note that communities require a significant amount of effort on your part. After all, nobody wants to join communities that are dead.

Below are a few pointers you need to make a note if you are planning to build a community.

Managing community takes huge time (really huge time):

Managing a community is undoubtedly challenging. While it only takes a few minutes to set up a community using the current tools available, creating and maintaining an active community can take several months of hard work and dedication. It often involves multiple iterations to determine what works best. Personally, managing the Micro SaaS community that I have built demands a significant amount of my time, with many people asking questions on a regular basis. However, this is simply part of the process of building a successful community, and it is important to be prepared for the effort it requires. In the initial stages, it can be particularly complex, as there are often only a few members available to answer questions. As the community grows, it becomes relatively easier to manage, but it still requires a substantial investment of your time and energy to run an active and engaging community.

Understand the core goal of the community:

Every community has a specific purpose. It is essential to understand why members have chosen to join your community. In the case of Micro SaaS HQ, SaaS builders are seeking a platform to ask questions related to building SaaS products and to collaborate with others to actively develop their products. Some founders may have queries regarding which products or ideas to work on, while others may be interested in discussing which payment options to use. Some builders may seek guidance on how to validate and attract users to their products. Members may start with simple side projects like small newsletters or info products, while others may dive straight into complex product development. The primary goal of Micro SaaS HQ's community is to support and guide builders towards building profitable products.

You need to be passionate about the topic/community:

Don’t build a community because everyone is building communities. To successfully grow a community, it is essential to have a genuine interest in the topic or niche you choose to build the community around. Don’t build the community just for the sake of it. If you lack passion for the subject matter, it will become challenging to sustain your motivation to manage the community, particularly as it requires a significant investment of your time and energy. Therefore, before deciding on a topic or niche for your community, ensure that you have a genuine love for that area to maintain your enthusiasm for the long run.

Chat-styled communities vs Post-styled communities:

Chat-styled communities, which utilize platforms such as Telegram and Slack, offer a high level of interaction and quick replies. However, they lack the ability for users to post long-form content and build a knowledge base from chat conversations.

On the other hand, post-styled communities, which use platforms such as Circle and Tribe, offer less immediate interaction but can eventually build a strong content-based discussion community due to the ability for users to create long-form posts.

Therefore, it is essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each style and carefully decide which one to pursue based on your goals for the community.

Right now the Micro SaaS community that I built is Post-styled community. This will give a chance for Micro SaaS builders to post long form content and ask detailed questions and members can give detailed answers.

Keep the interactions warm (Answer every question):

If you are managing a community, my top advice is to consistently maintain a warm level of interaction. Particularly if your community is just beginning, ensure that every inquiry is promptly addressed. Otherwise, members will lose interest in engaging and the community may ultimately become stagnant. To foster engagement, consider sending a welcoming email and encouraging members to be active in the community by providing compelling reasons for doing so.

Async Communities:

Certain individuals favour asynchronous communities without active calls. I founded Micro SaaS HQ with the intention of maintaining it as an asynchronous community where members can post and comment at their own pace without scheduled calls. However, as our membership has increased, numerous individuals have requested monthly calls. It is up to you to determine the type of community you wish to create, whether it will primarily rely on asynchronous communication or incorporate calls. Many communities adopt a hybrid approach that includes a combination of both.

If you are building a community, define what is the core goal of your community.

Free vs Paid Community:

Decide whether you want to create a free or paid community, taking into account the pros and cons of each approach. If your community is already an integral part of your SaaS product, charging members for access may not be feasible. However, creating a paid community can be challenging as you need to provide compelling reasons for people to pay. Conversely, running a free community is easy, but keeping members engaged can be difficult as they may not perceive it as valuable unless it generates traffic or users.

In the case of Micro SaaS HQ, the community is part of a larger ecosystem that I am building around Micro SaaS builders.

Closed Communities vs Open Communities:

There are two types of communities: Closed communities and Open communities. Closed communities require an invitation to join, while open communities allow anyone to join. Closed communities take longer to add members because not everyone has access to join. Open communities, on the other hand, can be joined by anyone and tend to grow faster in terms of member count. However, the number of members does not equate to community engagement, which is the true metric of success. Closed communities are often associated with paid memberships, while open communities are generally free. There are also many Open communities that have active conversations too. It's important to understand the core differences between closed and open communities and choose the type that aligns with your goals.

Not everyone has time. Send a weekly email with updates, what's happening in the community:

It's important to remember that not everyone has the time to log in to your community and read through all the posts and questions. Some members may be very busy and prefer to receive a weekly digest email that highlights popular topics or questions. While many community tools offer this feature, a human-curated digest can be even more effective. That's why it's important to establish a process for sending out these curated email digests, which can encourage members to engage with the community more frequently.

Make sure you check out the world’s largest Micro SaaS community I am building at Micro SaaS HQ.

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