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Why They Want To Join Your New Community

By Sanya Weathers

Getting a new community to the point of critical mass (meaning a point where its own energy and size brings in new members, relieving you of the tasks associated with getting them yourself) is a major milestone. You can get there faster if you know the reasons why early adopters are joining your community, and meeting those underlying needs.

–    Big smart fish like small ponds, and not for the reasons you think. By coming to your community when it’s still small, your users can have a bigger impact. And who doesn’t like saying “I’ve been here from the beginning”? This is the same reason some of us like startup companies more than megaconglomerates.

–    Involvement, maybe even a job. A new community offers lots of opportunities to get involved. Shaping the future of a product, being able to see your own handprints in the final form, is very exciting. And let’s face it – small companies that expand quickly often make hires from their communities. Who else knows the product better? Who else is already spending every waking hour thinking about the product?

–    Exclusives. Anyone can buy a product and consume it. But if you want sneak peeks, private discussions, early access, and insider information, you have to join the official community. Conversely, if the community doesn’t offer any kind of special, exclusive deals to the members,  most people have a hundred better things to do with their time than sit around giving a company feedback and building long term relationships with the product/their fellow customers.

–    Tangible, authentic fun. Anyone willing to risk the wrath of a trademark lawyer can make a t-shirt about your product. Anyone can throw a party for fellow fans of your product. But only you can create official gear and throw official parties. People are willing to pay a price in exchange for what they believe is a more authentic experience. That price doesn’t have to be in money – it might just be in time. And the time they’re spending in your community is time they aren’t spending on competitors.

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