The Easy Way vs. The Hard Way (or how to build a huge community in days)

Start a Facebook group.
Pay a top expert to host an exclusive event.
Promote it via social ads (or pay other influencers to promote it).
Incentivize attendees to share it on their own social channels.
Invite your friends, get employees to invite people, and have your marketing team mass email your audience to invite them to join.

With a relatively small budget, you can easily gather of thousands of people together in a single group in weeks…perhaps just days.

But what do you have to show for it? A group of people who joined for the wrong reasons on a platform you don’t control.

You’ve sewn the seeds of all your community’s future problems in week one. You will forever be trying to match the heightened expectations, persuade members to be active, and drive more engagement.

You will always be constricted by a platform you don’t control, a platform you’re not paying for, and whose terms of service you probably haven’t read. Anything can change at any time.

As a rule of thumb, every easy hack to drive more engagement comes complete with a future problem it creates. This is the problem with taking the easy path to drive more engagement.

The harder path is to earn the trust of your members through the CHIP process long before you launch a community.

The harder path is to do the research to truly uncover what your audience really need (even the things they can’t articulate) and overdeliver on those needs.

The harder path is to stake out a bold new territory (a unique concept) for the community that is indispensable.

The harder path is to create a community platform designed and managed to achieve your goals, not to sell advertising.

All of this is much harder to do, it takes much longer, but like the albatross taking flight, once it’s in the air it can soar.

Don’t rush it, don’t take the easy path, do the hard work and get it right.

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