The Business of Belonging: How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage

The Business of Belonging: How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage

by David Spinks
The Business of Belonging: How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage

The Business of Belonging: How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage

by David Spinks


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"A tactical primer for any business embarking on the critical work of actively building community."—Seth Godin, Author, This is Marketing

"This book perfectly marries the psychology of communities, with the hard-earned secrets of someone who's done the real work over many years. David Spinks is the master of this craft."—Nir Eyal, bestselling author of Hooked and Indistractable

The rise of the internet has brought with it an inexorable, almost shockingly persistent drive toward community. From the first social networks to the GameStop trading revolution, engaged communities have shown the ability to transform industries. Businesses need to harness that power. As business community expert David Spinks shows in The Business of Belonging: How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage, the successful brands of tomorrow will be those that create authentic connection, giving customers a sense of real belonging and unlocking unprecedented scale as a result.

In his career of over 10 years in the business of building community, Spinks has learned what a winning community strategy looks like. From the fundamental concepts—including how community drives measurable business value and what the appropriate metrics are—to high-level community design and practical engagement techniques, The Business of Belonging is an epic journey into the world of community building.

This book is for decision makers who want to better understand the value and opportunity of community, and for community professionals who want to level up their strategy. Featuring a foreword by Startup Grind and Bevy cofounder Derek Andersen, it will give you a step-by-step model for strategically planning, creating, facilitating, and measuring communities that drive business growth. Attracting and retaining community members who are also loyal customers, brand evangelists, and leaders—that’s the goal for today’s connected businesses, and this book is the map to getting there.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119766124
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 03/23/2021
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,093,622
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David Spinks is Cofounder of CMX, a 20,000 member organization dedicated to helping community professionals thrive. David is also the VP of Community at Bevy, an enterprise software platform that powers event-driven community programs and virtual conferences, following its acquisition of CMX in 2019. David has personally advised and trained hundreds of organizations in community strategy, including Facebook, Waze, Salesforce, Airbnb, and Google.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Introduction xiii

Becoming a Community Professional xv

Building the Community Industry xvi

The Community Era Has Arrived xviii

Notes xix

Chapter 1 Why Community is the New Competitive Advantage 1

A Customer Community is Born 1

The Rise of Community-Driven Business 3

Giving Customers a True Sense of Community 6

The Unrivaled Scalability of Community 8

Community is an Extension of Your Team 10

The Power of Owning a Topic in People’s Minds 12

The One Thing They Can’t Copy 13

Good for Business, Good for Humanity 14

Notes 17

Chapter 2 The Fundamentals of Community Strategy 19

The Three Levels of Community Strategy 19

The SPACES Model: The Six Business Outcomes of Community 22

Metrics and the Attribution Challenge 35

Finding Your Community Focus 36

Growth Engines vs. Cost Centers 39

Choosing a Measurement Framework 42

The Community Investment Journey 45

Notes 53

Chapter 3 Creating a Social Identity 55

The Social Identity Cycle 55

Who is Your Community Built For? 60

Who Doesn’t Belong? 63

Investing in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Day One 65

What is Your Community’s Personality? 68

How Can You Make Your Members Feel “Cool”? 70

Should Your Community Have a Unique

Identity from Your Company Brand? 72

Finding Sub-Identities within Your Community 74

Defining Identity by Levels of Contribution 76

Notes 78

Chapter 4 Mapping the Community Participation Journey 79

The Commitment Curve 79

The Four Levels of Participation 81

How to Attract Members to Your Community 86

Creating Intentional Barriers to Entry 89

Designing a Compelling Onboarding Experience 90

How to Move Members Up the Commitment Curve 92

Activating Successful Community Leaders 94

Notes 96

Chapter 5 Validation, Rewards, and Incentives 97

Creating Habits with Rewards 97

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivations 99

Avoid Replacing Social Norms with Market Norms 101

SNAP! A Framework for Effective Extrinsic Rewards 102

The Thing about Gamification 105

Come for the Utility, Stay for the Unity 107

Measuring Community Health and Engagement Using the Social Identity Cycle 108

Notes 114

Chapter 6 Designing Community Spaces and Experiences 115

The Two Kinds of Community Experiences 115

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition 117

The 7Ps of Community Experience Design 120

Curating the Right People for the Right Purpose 123

Aligning Size with Purpose 124

Choosing Community Software Platforms 126

Should You Host Your Community on a Free Social Network? 129

Designing Spaces That Make People Feel Seen 130

Starting with a BANG! 131

Creating Peak Moments 133

Facilitating Small-Group Discussions 135

Tell Your Members How to Participate 138

How to Get Members to Be Open and Vulnerable 140

Keep Your Rules Short and Simple to Start 143

My Three Go-To Community Rules 145

Using Metrics to Optimize Community Spaces and Experiences 148

Notes 151

Chapter 7 Activating Community Engagement 153

Engagement is a Constant Experiment 153

Personal Invitations and “Doing Things That Don’t Scale” 154

Ask for Permission 157

Don’t Fear the Crickets 158

Talk Funny 160

How to Spark Great Debates 162

Moderation is Never Personal 164

Default to Transparency and Admit Your Mistakes 166

Use Your Authentic Voice 167

Keep Your Energy High and Positive 169

Go Forth and Build Community! 173

Bibliography 175

About the Author 177

Acknowledgments 179

Index 181

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