“If you build it, they will come” doesn’t really work for online communities. YBG Ventures shed some light at the August Digital Marketing SIG to share how brands can build their communities in an authentic way, and ensure their fans come.

By: Jimmy CaccamoYBG Ventures

When it comes to building and growing communities, launching a product for them to rally around and creating a space doesn’t always mean they’ll arrive and love your brand. You have to make strategic moves to attract new members. If you build it right, they will come and it will grow.

But how? We’ve done some simplifying here so you can get a top-level taste for everything that’s involved in building a community people will actually flock to.

1. Start by not expecting anything in return.
That’s usually when you get something in return. In a 180-degree twist on the “Quid pro Quo” theory, give things to community members without expecting anything back from them. Give them knowledge they can use, give them connections to other people, give them happiness.

Nobody likes a Debbie Downer brand when it comes to online communities.

2. Then make them happy.
As funny as the classic Saturday Night Live skit may have been, no one really likes a Debby Downer. People flock to others that make them feel good. Make sure your community and your content within it either brings them joy, gives them things they can complete and feel accomplished doing, or allows them to align with a higher purpose or meaning.

3. Don’t forget to interact.
Engage, engage, engage with your community members, and do it with positive and frequent interactions. Really hear the people in your community, and let them know you’re listening. This builds trust, and trust only furthers your community members’ affinity for you so they’ll advocate to their friends and family for you. That makes your community grow even more.

You can’t build a community thinking about everything you want to get out of it. You can’t build what you want and expect people to come. You have to build it with your future members in mind, and then–trust us–they will come.


Catch up with the Digital Marketing Shared Interest Group, led by Jimmy Caccamo and Carolyn Dickerson, every month. Big thanks to YBG Ventures for sharing their collective knowledge and insights with AMA Cincinnati, and thank you to our strategic partners for helping make the monthly Digital Marketing SIGs happen: Advent Media Group, BrandHub, REDI Cincinnati, and OfficeKey.