How do you achieve community-led growth?

I asked a question some days back via on what community-led growth meant, the answers I got were brilliant.

Answers on Community-led Growth from the Backdrop communityAnswers on Community-led Growth from the Backdrop community

This got me thinking; if community-led growth is not about selling to, but building with and supporting the community, how then do you achieve it?

How would one go about supporting and building with the community in a way that enables, the product, the business or your marketing goals?

Let us collaboratively jam on this one, I’ll share my thoughts you share yours as replies and we could come up with some beautiful insights.

For me I think the most important step which is very simple is making the community welcoming. This goes beyond thoughtfully welcoming new members, but as they join, what is their experience? How do they feel? Is it inviting to them? Do they have all they need to participate? Is it truly easy to join in to the discussions and contribute?

One way we can look at this to see the importance of a welcoming community is in the world of open source software (OSS).

One of the biggest issues open source has is sustainability, see different ongoing discussions at How do we keep contributions to projects fun and engaging enough that users jump right-in and are happy to help. Where to them making a PR or discussing an issue isn’t a chore but like they are gisting with friends.

This has been a huge topic of discussion over the years, with maintainers sharing how users complain about missing features and existing bugs but don’t contribute, and users sharing how other contributors and maintainers are rude or dismissive when they take out their time to help. Longterm, this causes contributions to the projects to not-grow and that stops growth overall.

And so, as the communities became unwelcoming, contributions reduced and the project went stale. A welcoming community is a health community.

Asides a welcoming community, what other steps do we think would work here? How can we achieve community-led growth? Some other ideas I have are:

  • Clearly defining the value the community is offering to its members
  • Making the steps to achieving these values really really quick and easy
  • Making it easy for the satisfied members to give back to the community
  • Rewarding them for receiving their value quickly and giving back
  • And them giving back, takes them to a secondary value and reward which creates a growth loop

Now these are simplified and I can write books on them. But the idea isn’t to give a detailed answer, but to kickstart a discussion around Community-led Growth and how that can be achieved by anyone looking to put in the work.

:question: What are your steps? :question: