The biggest “buzz” word (though it’s really more of a phrase) of 2018 has to be, without a doubt, community management. This concept has been put front and center by the crypto industry, where a thriving system of community management isn’t just a marketing tool, but a prerequisite for any project’s success. So what is community management exactly? How is it different from marketing and why is it so important, especially in the post ICO stage?
What’s the difference between community management and marketing?
At first glance, these two seem extremely similar, even the same. But look again… and again if you have to. Understanding the difference between them is crucial for a brand to formulate a specific, well-targeted strategy. Let’s take a look at some points that distinctly make marketing, marketing, and community management, community management:
- Aims to convert views into sales
- success is easily measured with quick and accurate analytics
- Aims to create and maintain a pool of individuals with a joint interest in a brand and its products
- Is fluid. Success can only be hinted at in numbers and analytics
As we can see, just by looking at these two points, marketing and community management have some important differences that need to be understood. But they also overlap in important ways. Both generally increase brand awareness. But community management isn’t about selling a product, it’s about creating interest through authentic participation and inquiry. Marketing reaches new customers (who ideally become a part of the community as well), but it also draws in the established community to make sales.
With an understanding of this symbiotic relationship under our belts, let’s look at another important question:
Why is community management so important?
Attention is one of the most important resources on the market today. Consumers are inundated with ads and convenient services. It used to be that you had to leave home in order to see an ad bigger than the brand name on your home appliances or electronics. But online, your eyes might inadvertently scan 50 ads in 10 minutes. You’ll ignore most of them, but you’ll probably take a greater interest in something you see shared by a friend, or posted to a group that caters directly to one of your interests.
That’s what community management is all about: word of mouth, internet style. Communities help create a more intimate sense of interest and belonging that no marketing campaign has given a consumer, ever. A well-managed community isn’t an ad. It’s a space for open discussion and sharing between members whose involvement makes it more likely they can be converted into sales at some point down the line. By participating, these lovely people help spread the word, increase brand exposure and drive sales more effectively than a traditional ad campaign.
Why community management is so important in post ICO?
Now that we’ve explained what community management is and why it’s so important, we want to discuss one more topic in depth: the post ICO phase.
In recent years, communities became a necessity rather than a luxury for crypto projects. After all, if there’s no community, who will buy the coin and support the project? The entire model depends on the establishment of a community. But the market has changed yet again. Without discussing why or how, many companies today are raising funds privately and feel that there’s “no need” for a brand community. Another important development is the evolving crisis in the crypto industry over the massive problem of fake accounts. A Telegram group with 100K members isn’t something to flaunt anymore. The automatic assumption of anyone that enters such group is that it’s is full of bots and fake accounts.
That’s a good example of the many projects that mistakenly scoff at the importance of communities and don’t even try to build one. Some ICOs even try to reach their hard cap without creating a Telegram group.
But everyone reaches a certain stage at which they understand that a community is hugely important for reasons far beyond reaching the hard cap and bringing in money for the post ICO project.
Some companies understand this at a relatively early stage and others only get it as they struggle after a successful ICO, but the conclusion is the same for both: without a community, the project is likely to fail (we say “likely” because, of course, there are exceptions to every rule).
So why is it actually so important to have a community in the post ICO stage?
- Users – Ok, you’ve raised money to create an amazing platform. You already have a working product and private investors have given you all the resources you need. That’s great, but who’s going to use your platform?! No community means no group of potential users. Without a community, there is no one that believes in your product or waits to use it with building anticipation; without that, you’ve got nothing. We all know that even the most amazing ideas can fail if users aren’t brought on board.
- Token holders – If your token is traded on an exchange (especially before you have released a completed product or implemented a system to affect its worth), its value will be decided by the rules of supply and demand alone. If you don’t have a community, then who are your token holders? Just big investors who bought huge amounts of tokens. Their value is low and there’s no demand because you don’t have a community! Who even knows about your token and why would they want to buy it? Meanwhile, the tokens you saved in lockup for your team that worked hard on the project, quickly lose their value.
- Product development – The product development stage is difficult and complex; support for a community could only help. The community can give advice, act as trial users, identify flaws and more, helping you perfect your product.
- Investors relations- It’s up to us to watch out for our investors. Strong community management and sending out a newsletter focused on providing updates on product development will keep investors close and give them the feeling of involvement that they’re looking for.
*Tip: FAQs have become a major tool in recent years as they help investors deal with questions they are likely to encounter along the way.
Community management post-ICO is similar in many ways to community management in non-crypto industries: You have a product or a product in development and you need to get it out there like any other company. A strong community that follows you from the ICO phase (even if they didn’t give money to the project) will make it easier for you to manage your sales efforts.