In just over two years, the Heg.ai network community has brought together more than 900 initiatives and talented people: startup founders, specialists from IT and other fields, and investors. There are currently 650 active members in the community.
In early June, Pavel Khegay held workshops on building a community, where he talked about all the marketing tools he tested on Heg.ai – from social networks to podcasts. And also about whether you need to work on a personal brand or you can attract an audience without it.
A few insights into what works to build a community:
- Start building an audience with a personal network
- Build the Founder’s Personal Brand
- Develop social networks
- Connect paid traffic: targeted and contextual advertising
- Engage in production and PR: Youtube, podcasts, and articles
- The community is a b2c product, so don’t forget about promotions
- Involve community members and connect a referral program
In this material, the critical points from the experience of Pavel and his team in more detail are below.
Networking: The Foundation Of The Foundations
The community’s first residents, like the early followers in a startup, are people from your environment: friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Those who were attracted by the idea, MVP. Who wants to support you? Even if only 5 of them exist, this is already a gang; you can build a product around them. They will be able to get feedback and see some mistakes and strengths of the community. Therefore, the network is the very first marketing tool.
When we launched Heg.ai in November 2019, we had only two ways to attract traffic: my Hegai Network Telegram channel with 3,000 subscribers and my environment. We didn’t think about targeting, paid to advertise, and so on.
I launched a community, told my friends and acquaintances about it personally, and wrote on the Telegram channel. As a result, 60 people came to listen to the webinar: 30 from Telegram, 30 – those whom I invited. And for the first 4-5 months, we worked only with my audience: acquaintances and subscribers. They grew not in large numbers but were stable.
However, by February, it became clear that my regular audience was tired of listening to what a wonderful community we have, so it was time to attract new traffic.
That is, the network works fine, but if at an early stage it alone is enough, later it is no longer possible without advancing to the outside world.