Community Chat Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community managers.
The Community Chat Virtual Summit is fast approaching! And by popular demand, we've rolled out a way to access the event completely free! We have an incredible speaker lineup of over 36 rock-star community builders, including [Erica Kuhl](https://twitter.com/ericakuhl/, Former VP of Community at Salesforce, Bailey Richardson, Co-Author of Get Together, and Kat Manalac, Partner at YCombinator.
This week, the Community Chat Team sat down with serial community builder, Anne-Laure Le Cunff for our first ever Community Builder Spotlight. If you'd like to be featured in a future interview series, reply and let us know!
Hey Anne-Laure, tell us about yourself and your community building background. What communities have you started and what platforms do they run on?
Thanks for having me! I’m the founder of Ness Labs a platform which helps people to make the most of their mind through neuroscience content, coaching, and community. I have always loved building communities. When I was about 12, I was tinkering with phpBB Forums and building communities around creative topics. It may sound a bit nerdy, but one of them was an online RPG. Later on, I started running the largest French community of young writers. Nowadays, I run a couple of communities. One of them, called Newsletter Geeks, is a mastermind of newsletter owners with about 200 members. The other lives on top of my newsletter, with 10,000 subscribers and its very first online and IRL meetups. It’s early days, but I always find it exciting to bring people together.
What is your definition of a community builder? Community can come in so many shapes, forms and mediums.
Some brands build online platforms, invite their customers to join, and call it a day. It usually doesn’t work out too well. To me, community is not measured by the complexity of the tech stack or the number of members. It’s measured by the levels of engagement. A community builder is someone who can foster authentic connections between community members.
To me, community is not measured by the complexity of the tech stack or the number of members. It’s measured by the levels of engagement.
Tell us more about the Telegram communities you manage. Why did you choose Telegram as a community platform compared to other chat-based options like Slack, Facebook Groups, and Whatsapp?
Ha, I actually do own a few Telegram groups. Beside Newsletter Geeks, there is also the Startup Mastermind group. Telegram is fast, works great on mobile and desktop, and is not bloated with useless functionalities out of the box. On one end of the spectrum, you have Slack, which is a bit of a monster, and has been designed for work rather than casual conversations. On the other end, you have Whatsapp, which is simple, light, and intimate, but impossible to customize. Telegram is the best of both worlds: a simple experience which community builders can tweak through APIs if needed.
I call it piggy-bagging. Start with one platform—for example Twitter—and focus all your energy there. Once you have a good following there, use your reach to drive your followers to another platform, for example your newsletter. Once you have enough subscribers, you can suggest other ways to engage with your content, for example on YouTube or Telegram. The key is to take it one step at a time. I’m also considering launching an entire community on Product Hunt this year...Build your community in public and get your community excited so they support the launch.
Be patient! Building an authentic community takes time and dedication. You can’t rush things. There’s no magic formula.
Come for the product, stay for the community.
91% of conferences, field marketers, and events teams have seen a budget cut 👀
The best community managers continually walk a mile in their members shoes.
This data is fascinating, worth a click 🙂
A handful of recommended readings from the past week.
Reddit goes full Crypto (3 min read)
Reddit is rolling out Community Points on Ethereum to incentivize positive behavior. 'Community points' offer members a way to earn a "piece of their favorite communities," built right on top of the blockchain. With over 400 million monthly active users on Reddit, this feature could be a huge boon for crypto-industry adoption.
Github Launches Discussions (3 min read)
Github launches new discussion boards for developers to chat directly within a public repo. How will this update affect vibrant open source developer communities built on places like Discourse and Slack? The discussions board features are currently in beta for open-source communities and will be available for all other projects soon.
The "Verticalization" of Zoom (4 min read)
There's been no shortage of talk about best practices for hosting virtual events these past few weeks, and the dizzying array of options for bringing community members together digitally. Zoom was just the beginning, read on for a deeper look at how new startups are building the future of virtual communication.
And if you want more Zoom, Community Chat member Toni Cowan Brown shares her insights here about hosting successful virtual events after participating in over 4,000 Zoom calls!
The six builders who will thrive in the new world (5 min read)
As the global pandemic leaves us frozen in place, it’s impossible to imagine a future that resembles the past. There will be no return to normalcy. As we re-enter the physical world with a new perspective, venture capitalist Brianne Kimmel foresees a new reality led by six different types of founders, forgers, and creators. Surprise, the 'Community Builder' comes in at number six!