In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed why startup teams are fundamental to your success, and how to build one. Beyond your team, your startup also needs a community.
We believe in the power of communities. In fact, we see the power of community at work everyday: Netcapital.com, part of our ecosystem, allows founders to raise capital from anyone in their network or community, empowering them to turn their community into investors. In our newest blog series, we’ll be discussing the importance of community, how to put your community to good use, and talking to a few founders who are doing just that.
Regardless of whether your product or service is for individual consumers or for enterprises, having a solid community behind you can be a major boost to your business.
As a company that speaks to other businesses or specific use cases, your company can find value in industry or interest-based communities. Joining or creating communities are effective ways to get your company's name out there. Alternatively, you can leverage communities to discover potential collaborators and customers. Putting yourself in spaces where your clients and competitors are can go a long way in raising awareness about your company. Being a part of recognized communities or events can also help boost your credibility and visibility.
If you sell to individual consumers it’s in your best interest to cultivate a community. You need people who will buy your product or service, and spread the word about your company to other potential customers. In other words, you need evangelists: people who go out of their way to promote your company because they love what you do. Creating an engaged community can ultimately be a low-cost way to market your company.
People who are invested in your company’s success are invaluable to all businesses. A supportive community can be the gateway to investments, future employees, important feedback, and customers.
Your community can also be based around yourself, as a founder. Consider creating a board of advisors, or an informal group of supportive fellow founders who can potentially become collaborators later on in your journey. Recently, there’s also an increased opportunity to tap into all of the existing spaces in areas like Silicon Valley and New York, as many startup communities have moved their events online, opening them up to people not in the immediate area.
A virtual event is an easy, cost-effective way to network and learn at the same time. You can use websites like Meetup to find local interest-based groups in the area. You can also use social platforms like Clubhouse or LinkedIn to create your own event. Getting people engaged with meaningful events will help them see the value in your business. Once they see that, they’re much more likely to start following your business and join your community. Encourage the people in your existing network to invite others to your events to keep your community growing.
Social media sites like Facebook or even Reddit are also great ways to join or create communities of supporters, potential customers, or business connections. LinkedIn can also be a powerful tool for interacting with a larger community. For example, if you read an interesting article about your industry, make sure to follow or connect with the author on LinkedIn. Interact with other people’s posts, and as people interact with your content, you’ll be making sure you and your company stay top of mind.
Slowly but surely you’ll be cultivating a news feed and a digital community that will serve you and your business well, whether that’s now or a year later. In our next installment, we’ll be talking to founders and investors about harnessing the power of community, so be sure to sign up below for updates!
Paige is the Assistant Content Marketing Manager at Netcapital Advisors. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, with a double major in American Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures. Outside of her work at Netcapital Advisors, Paige pursues creative writing and keeps up with the latest cultural news.