Key Elements of Building a Strong Community

Understanding how to build a community and its importance.

Princess Akari
5 min readFeb 9, 2024

This article is inspired by my participation in two Twitter space sessions in 2023, with Treford and Talemia. During these sessions, I had the opportunity to share insights from my experience in building a thriving community.

Aside from being a Product Manager, I am also a community founder, I will be sharing essential and practical insights that can be helpful and valuable if you are looking to build a community.

A little background of why I started building a community

I started building PeopleInProduct (PIP), a product management community, in January 2021. It was founded as a solution to the problem I was facing at the time — a need for a space and support group where I could get needed support or guidance. Just a group of Product managers who share the same struggles and are willing to help one another. PIP is still known for its warm approach, friendliness, and responsiveness to this day, and I am grateful to God for that. PIP started with 9 members, and now we have over 5,000 members in 19+ timezones globally. Our total online reach is 15,000+, across all our media platforms.

We recently celebrated our 3-year anniversary, showcasing some of our achievements so far. In these few years, I have found out that building a thriving community requires a combination of hard work, passion, dedication, and consistent effort. It involves creating a space where like-minded individuals can come together, share knowledge, and support each other in their journeys.

Building a community — practical steps to take

  • Define the community vision

You must clarify the purpose and goals of your community. Determine what value it will provide to members and how it aligns with your industry.

  • Choose the right platform

You must select a platform that suits your community’s needs and preferences. It could be a Twitter community, Telegram, WhatsApp, Discord, Slack workspace, or a dedicated web page. Consider factors such as accessibility, scalability, and moderation features. Also, consider the age group that most of your members are in, it’ll help you decide.

  • Start creating initial content

Start creating and sharing valuable content to kickstart discussions. This can include blog posts, articles, tutorials, or hosting virtual events. Encourage members to engage and contribute their insights.

  • Foster engagement

Actively engage with your community members by responding to comments and generally initiating discussions. Encourage members to share their experiences, ask questions, and provide feedback. Also, recognize and reward valuable contributions.

  • Enable peer-to-peer connections

Facilitate connections between community members by organizing meetups, virtual events, and other networking opportunities. Encourage members to form relationships and support each other.

  • Generally iterating and improving

Continuously evaluate the community’s progress and adapt your strategies. Ask for feedback from members and make necessary adjustments to enhance the community experience.

How to create a sense of community

Creating a sense of community is a gradual process and can be achieved through various strategies.

While the number of people present in a community can contribute to the community’s vibrancy, it’s not the sole determinant.

Here are some approaches:

  • Encourage community members to actively engage with each other through discussions, comments, and sharing experiences. Prompt conversations by asking questions and seeking feedback.
  • Share informative and relevant content. This can include learning resources, case studies, etc, depending on the context and goal of the community. Aim to educate, inspire, and entertain your community members.
  • Host webinars, and other virtual meetups — in PIP we have Interview preps, mentorship sessions, webinars, check-in-calls, etc., all these sessions are to bring the community together as well as provide value to our members. Creating opportunities for networking, learning, and sharing knowledge.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate members’ valuable contributions to the community. Highlight their achievements, share their success stories, or offer incentives like badges, rewards, or exclusive access to certain resources if available. In PIP we celebrate birthdays, success stories, and top contributors.
  • Empower community members to create and share their content, such as blog posts, videos, or tutorials. This helps create a sense of ownership and involvement in the community. In PIP we have a dedicated channel where members can share their generated content with others, we also publish our members' articles on our medium publication for those interested.

Building a community around your product — Community-driven product engagement

This is tailored for those who are creating communities for the sole purpose of product engagement and driving growth.

In this section, we’ll discuss community-driven product engagement. We’ve covered the practical steps for creating a community and fostering a sense of belonging. Now, let’s explore how to apply these principles specifically to building a community around your product.

Best Practices — ways to keep people engaged and talking about your product

  • Regular updates and announcements

Share updates about your product, new features, or upcoming releases. Keep the community informed and engaged with the latest developments.

  • Seek feedback and suggestions

Actively seek input from community members. Ask for their opinions, suggestions, and ideas to involve them in shaping the product’s roadmap. Show that their input is valued and acted upon.

  • Exclusive access and perks

Offer exclusive access to beta versions, early releases, or special discounts to community members. Providing them with unique benefits creates a sense of exclusivity and loyalty.

  • Engage with experts and leaders in the industry

Collaborate with industry experts to host events, webinars, or Q&A sessions. Their presence adds value and attracts attention from both existing and potential community members.

  • Gamification and challenges

Introduce gamification elements, such as challenges, contests, or leaderboards, to encourage participation and healthy competition within the community.

  • Personalized communication

Tailor your communication to the specific interests and needs of different segments within the community. Send targeted newsletters, updates, or content recommendations to keep members engaged.

The importance of building a community around your product

There are several benefits but I’d just highlight three;

  • User engagement and feedback

A community provides a platform for your users to share their experiences, provide feedback, and suggest improvements. This feedback can be invaluable in refining your product and meeting customer needs.

  • Customer support and advocacy

A strong community can serve as an excellent support network where community members can help each other troubleshoot issues and share best practices. Additionally, satisfied community members can become brand advocates, promoting your product to others.

  • Product evangelism

A passionate community can generate buzz around your product, increasing its visibility and attracting new users and customers.

You can create a vibrant and engaged community around your product by fostering a supportive environment and providing value for your community members.