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How Shopify migrated from an offline to an online community

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March 30, 2022

On Friday 25th, we celebrated a milestone at Community Hacked - We hosted our 10th episode with a special guest, Chris Snyder, Community Lead at Shopify Spaces.

The Shopify community is more than a forum. It is a place to connect with brands and makers, partners, and commerce shakers. With over 900k members, the community heavily relied on its in-person events division, Shopify Spaces, to scale intimacy and build engagement.

During the pandemic, Chris Snyder, Community Lead at Shopify Spaces, was challenged to transition the offline community online and get it fully integrated into the overall ecosystem.

Here are our favourite audience questions and key takeaways from Chris’s journey into building a thriving online community.

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Top questions our community members asked Chris

  • How did you migrate from the offline world to the online world?
  • Before the pandemic, there were a lot of in-person events, workshops, happy hours etc where the Shopify community would socialise. We would put the attendees in a Slack group and that was it.

    But after the pandemic, we became more intentional in growing the Slack community. We created guidelines - who & what would be the qualifications for those who wanted to join.

    For content, in the beginning it was all about simple “good morning” posts. Then we started growing with blog posts, live videos, looking into active users, comments and eventually monitoring all of it: content, cadence, type of program, time of day.

  • How did you trigger peer to peer engagement as opposed to community team ‘broadcasting’ to community members?
  • We refrained from posting at the community, because that doesn’t stimulate engagement peer-to-peer.

    When we noticed people engaging in the community, we reached out to them for short conversations. After that, we nurtured mentors and leaders in the community who started channels, hosted events by themselves.

    Once members see it’s ok to organically contribute to a conversation, it opens the door for them to join in as well.

  • What was your decision making process of creating content?
  • We used a calendar format, in terms of managing the flow with other content, having a mix of different content in different contexts to ensure we were speaking to members of all backgrounds. The team builds the calendar together and they look at it holistically to find balance, but even with all this you always have observe and adapt based on the community’s reaction to your content.

  • If you were starting a community from 0 - what approach would you take?
    1. What’s the intent of this community?
    2. What are we prepared to invest? Time, resources, platform, team, content?
    3. What results do you want to have that go back to the business? How will the community help the business?
  • What should people look for on a community platform?
  • Analytics! Think about what are the important metrics and analytics you value in your community before choosing a platform.

    Also go back to the ‘why’ of your community and consider whether the functionality of the platforms you are looking at will cater for those needs: e.g. forum type, live stream, DMs.

You can watch a recording of the entire event here.

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Partner Offer

This event was sponsored by Threado: the command center for your online community.

With Threado, you can measure engagement, get detailed insights and automate your operational tasks from a single dashboard. They were the #1 product of the day on their product hunt launch and will be doing another community drop soon. So, keep an eye out!

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