Nov 2022#Opinion#KOLs#community opinion

How to Build Crypto Communities.A Complete Manual

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Authors

Timur Bikbov

Timur Bikbov

Senior Manager, C&I

Team

Alexander Dubinin

Alexander Dubinin

Consultant, C&I

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9 min

Intro

At BDC Consulting, we are constantly asked to create, grow, or reanimate clients’ crypto communities. However, during the client brief, we realize they do not understand what they need to gather the audience around their projects. There is no understanding of the goals behind it.

To determine where to grow your fan base, what content to post, and with what frequency, you must first do some basic preparation.

To complement our expertise, throughout September, our team conducted a series of interviews with top crypto community managers to find out how they develop their social networks and what indicators they pay attention to. Each of the projects has 50,000+ users with an average engagement rate of 3%.

To support our opinion, we have talked to representatives from different crypto industries such as GameFi, NFT, Metaverse, DeFi, Exchange, Wallet, and others to find out what they are doing to develop a super-involved cryptocurrency community.

So, the first insight we recommend is to consider that the most popular communities in 2022-2023 are Discord, Telegram, Twitter, and Reddit crypto communities. Our statistics support it. Of the 10 projects interviewed, 10 out of 10 have Telegram and Twitter, 8 out of 10 – Discord, and 3 out of 10 – Reddit.

Below we will try to determine why projects step into the socials and for what purposes. Let’s get straight into our crypto community building guide. 

Goals

Why would you even consider going into social media? Every project has its reasons for doing so: to attract the attention of investors and funds, to gather beta testers for a new GameFi game, to warm up the audience before launching a new NFT collection, to attract people to a whitelist before a token sale, to grow a base of respondents for regular market research. 

Perhaps your option may not be on this list. Of course, there are many more ways to interact with users than we can imagine. 

Look at your project from all angles. Consider whether you need a community at all. How will you monetize it? Write out a list of 10 business goals to move on to the next point.

Once you've decided on your main goal (e.g., recruit 10,000 users to the whitelist) and a few additional ones (spread awareness, attract and verify the attention of a top investor), you can try to identify your customers.

Target audience

Which users are you aiming for? Are they end-users (B2C) or business representatives (B2B)? 

We suggest conducting qualitative research on your potential customers through quizzes, surveys, and running custdevs of experienced market players (you probably know someone) who can tell you what kind of audience they have and how they managed to attract it.

Competitors

Once you've determined your goals and potential target audience, look at your competitors to confirm your hypotheses and obtain even more useful data.

For analysis, take 2-3 market leaders, a few new and fast-growing projects, and a couple of those who are stagnant and who are doing worse than others. 

You need to understand what platforms they're sitting in, the content they release, the engagement mechanics they're using, and current stats so you can write out the market benchmarks for yourself.

Be sure to see how mature your competitors’ communities are, whether there are bots or real people. Is there only news content, or are there contests, AMAs, and collaborations with other projects too? That’s vital to know!

Launch

So we looked at the project from the inside, studied the target audience, and observed the competitors; what's next?

In fact, you can already create accounts on social media and book usernames. But at the same time, you need to prepare a creative concept: tone of voice, visuals, and other stuff.

Before writing content, you should decide on the topics and prepare a rubricator; it will save time for your writers because they will always have a basis on which the content will be made.

It is commonly believed that the content is the responsibility of the project's marketers and SMM managers, but in fact, this is not the case. 

Judging by our experience and the respondents’ answers, the content prepared in cooperation with crypto community managers (CMs) receives the highest engagement. In 30% of the projects, the community moderators participate in developing the content plan and generating the news topics. In these projects, the engagement was higher than in others. 

It is important to focus on infotainment. Many projects often do not have them at all (at least, the teams of these projects think so). In our opinion, a newsbreak can be generated out of nothing without synchronization with the project team: hold a contest with another community from your niche, run a meme challenge with users making fun of competitors, or just find some fresh niche news and communicate what it means to your community.

So, creating infomercials is important no matter what phase a project's marketing campaign is in. Because in 2022, the competitive environment is so active that a product release can't promote itself. Releases happen every day, and it's the company that can package the product into a story you want to follow that gains traction.

If nothing at all comes off the newsbreaks, you can use different engagement mechanics, and here are some of the most popular this year based on the responses of the CMs surveyed:

  • Referral contest (bring as many friends as possible to the chat room and win a prize)
  • Project knowledge quiz (answer product questions correctly the fastest)
  • In-game mechanics (complete quests in the game)
  • Bounty program (help us test our product and share the feedback, the more useful it is, the more chances to win)
  • Creative contest (write a tweet or an article, draw an infographic or make a video about our project)

Also, we recommend using some mechanics, which can be used on projects where there is no finished product yet, but its direction is clear. 

For example, a contest to find the most overrated NFT is great for NFT communities. Users simply have to send a screenshot in a chat or post a tweet with a hashtag and mention your project, thus raising the reach and showing sleepy and inactive users that the project team encourages engaged users to participate in the community's life.

Finally, 10 out of 10 of the CMs we’ve talked to state that users expect C-level to contact them regularly. If your team gets into a chat room and arranges spontaneous Q&A or scheduled AMA sessions, this will boost engagement and help you realize your business goals, i.e., sell new in-game drops, several times faster.

Team

In our opinion, the team is one of the most underrated elements in community management. You might think that’s it, but not yet. The size of the CM team for the projects we’ve discussed also amazed us. 

There is a misconception that chat moderators are seen as fully stacked crypto community managers who keep the chat under control, answer user questions, and delete spam. 

In fact, these processes take only 20% of the working time of the top CMs. The main tasks include:

  • Checking and processing all mentions of the project per day;
  • Leading discussions in the community through tweak accounts (each manager has 5-10 different accounts);
  • Preparing and releasing engaging content (for warming up the audience before the info event or during the slump of activity): surveys, discussions of news and hot topics, quests and quizzes for project knowledge, mini-games, top-5 picks, etc.

That is why the big size of the teams is understandable. On 8 projects out of 10, work on CM is done collectively, with a team having a community lead, moderators, and an analyst who evaluates the work of the social channel and managers by metrics such as:

  • Average response rate
  • Handling negativity and bans
  • Controlling spam and shillers
  • Conducting interactions throughout the day
  • Maintaining engagement through tweaks (additional CM accounts that are used to keep the community active and engaged)
  • Sharing project news from outside the community

Those are not all of the indicators, but without monitoring the above – the manager's work can not be tested and evaluated objectively.

KPI

Sometimes moderators are worried that companies often don't know what the goal of establishing a community is, so they can't build a transparent KPI system to evaluate the performance of CMs. However, on average, 7 out of 10 projects with KPIs have 1.5-2 times higher engagement than projects without KPIs. 

The KPI tracker can be set up through a special dashboard in which CM notes daily how many requests have been processed, how many posts have rolled out, how much negativity has been processed, and how high engagement is on the posts that came out.

Activity Hours

We also strongly recommend that projects determine the working hours of their community managers in advance. And here's why: All 10 of the 10 best communities surveyed are active 24 hours and 7 days a week. But only 2 projects out of 10 work night shifts. 

The rest use tools and bots to automate the community work processes at night. Here are some useful ones:

  • Automatic replies to users
  • Verification and bans
  • Bot for participation in contests
  • Bot for receiving rewards for activity
  • Bot for detailed assessment of engagement
  • Bot to call the admin  

Traffic

It is almost impossible to organically build an engaged fan base in 2022 because of the intense competition and the huge number of players on the market: dozens of new projects are born every month.

After talking to experienced moderators, we found out that at the start of a community launch, projects build the following step-by-step process of creating a community from scratch:

  1. Bot recruitment
  2. Feeding traffic through bloggers
  3. Launch of paid ad campaign through context and targeting 
  4. Release of materials in the media with a call to action in the form of a closed invitation to the project’s chat room

Processes 2-4 should be conducted regularly to ensure continuous audience growth.

Of course, it's possible to attract highly involved users from related projects. Still, it's not always easy to agree with competitors on mutual PR, especially when your project is just being launched. But even in this case, there is a solution – shilling.

50% of the surveyed projects have shilling (native sharing of project news to an external audience daily) under the purview of community managers. On average, CMs shill up to 100 messages a day. Of the remaining projects, 30% of them have shilling, and a contractor performs it. 

Final words

We'd like to continue our article further, but as you can see, you already have a lot of work to do before your content managers can start posting your tweets and memes.

Community building is highly complex, and you must start from the business goals. Don't expect that there will be an active daily discussion on the Discord server just because you have a beautiful design, a brand-new logo, and a charismatic CEO. Start with what you are expecting from potential users.


 

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