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Community Program Design: Creating Value exchange to activate growth

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July 30, 2021

This month we got to learn from Colleen Curtis, who has built communities at Yelp, The Mom Project, and now at Miro.

If you missed the event, watch the full recording here or scroll down for the summary. If you attended, help us improve future events by sharing your feedback!

TL;DR: Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Communities are alive—be responsive to needs and build accordingly. Don't be complacent or be so grounded in your vision that you lose sight of opportunities.
  2. Consider how specific sub-communities within your community can provide value to the broader community.
  3. When there is a sub-community with potential financial gain, build appropriate and productive ways for them to engage authentically and they will model that behavior as a positive element in the community.
  4. If you think you have a way to facilitate more value exchange between community members, develop a program to validate it in a scrappy way before building it into the product.
  5. Collate your community around a higher purpose.

Full Event Summary

  • How did the pandemic change your community strategy at the Mom Project, before you joined Miro?
    • We saw the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on moms—within 4-6 weeks, unemployment of working moms at 15-24%
    • Suddenly, we had this huge community of both people who joined because they were job hunting and existing members who needed support
    • You have to throw away your roadmap in response to a situation like this
      • Be responsive to what your community is experiencing to provide a response that is on par with what’s happening
  • What was the strategy that you put into place?
    • Two-pillar strategy started implementing in a single week
      • Weekly community “Unity Hours”
        • Brought everyone together every week to learn about something
        • Every Friday we were seeing 500-1000 people come to these sessions, including many new faces
      • Career coach mentoring program
        • There was an existing sub-community of career coaches who we weren’t sure what to do with, and how to avoid overexposing moms to them
        • The idea came out to match career coaches to working moms for support and mentorship
        • Validated the idea by reaching out to career coaches on social media with a Typeform, asking them to specify their expertise and their time commitment—the goal was to see if we could reach 1000 hours of time commitment
        • 350 career coaches committed their time
        • This opened the way for this sub-community to plug into the rest of the community and provide real value
    • How did this strategy affect your business metrics?
      • Increase in weekly active users by 25% for three months
      • The coaches kept coming back and asking for more—the average coach was contributing about 10 hours and we ended up with over 500 coaches.
      • People were coming to the site to interact with other moms because they suddenly had an entry point
    • Did you have engineering resources?
      • Early-stage startup means community building has to be scrappy and resourceful
      • See what users react to and whether you can facilitate value exchange before building something into the product
        • Curated matchmaking was high touch, but also high impact
        • It helped us build the baseline foundation of a product that we built and launched: community-supported job clubs, with coaches being a part of it
    • You also engaged a sub-community within the Mom Project—the career coaches. How did this impact success?
      • Previous to this program, we weren’t sure what to do with them, but through this exercise, we found they could be incredible thought leaders within the community
      • Common community pitfall: more people need something vs. have something to contribute
        • You need contributors in the value exchange
  • What worked the best to convince new people to join the community?
    • In addition to showing people how the community benefits them and how they can benefit other people, show them how they can contribute to a higher purpose
    • The Mom Project is a job marketplace serving moms who were struggling int he face of the pandemic, connecting them with opportunities
      • Make it clear that “people coming together to solve this is what’s going to make a dent in the problem”
      • We wanted to be this squad of problem solvers, tackling issues that were facing moms
    • Not only do people feel good about serving this higher purpose, but their life gets better—that’s what they stay for
  • What are some strategies for converting users to community members?
    • There are different tiers of what’s a user vs. community member
      • Not everyone is a contributor—we expect a distribution of 1% contributor, 9% react, 90% consume
    • Create a community experience that’s so compelling, with such rich, interesting stories that people can’t help but want to be part
      • Help people see themselves there
        • Storytelling is critical for this; extract stories from the community, share across social media
      • Be explicit about the benefits: “you’ll be part of this community of moms that cares about the future of work”
  • What is the unifier for the Miro community when there are so many different use cases for the platform?
    • While we need specific solutions and templates for specific teams, all use cases struggle with the engagement of articulating and using ideas, and how to generally be better at work
    • The Miro community can work together to come up with new ideas and innovate, help each other be more productive

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