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What Is A Community Narrative?

Humans love stories.Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind doesn't. It stays awake all night, telling stories.

Oxytocin levels rise when we hear a story that makes us feel good.When we feel good, we feel more trusting, compassionate, and empathic. Oxytocin is one of the hormones that makes us feel this way.It makes us want to work with other people and has a positive effect on our social behavior.

Having a community narrative, a common vision and mission, is a vital ingredient for a successful community.

The Why

By focusing on your why, you can figure out what your community's taste will be like.

A common mistake is that people don't know why they started a community in the first place.You can't say things like "Our competitor spends a lot of time and money on community." You can't say "Our investors think we should start one." You can't say "I want to go viral."If you start a group to check off a box, it's going to fail.

Community isn't a one-size-fits-all thing.It's important to figure out what the community would mean to your organization and what your organization means to the people in your community.It doesn't mean that your community narrative has to be lofty and perfectly aligned with your business value, but that doesn't mean it has to be.

Ask yourself:

  • What motivates our customers?
  • What motivates our most passionate community members?

It's hard to figure out what makes people in our community so excited.

The value of a community comes from where the incentives line up.

Communities that thrive need a shared goal, an answer to the question "Why are we coming together?"As a leader, you must have a goal that your people will want to help you achieve. This is not a goal that only the person in charge has in mind.

In order to make sure that your community purpose is based on what your people need, and that it shows what you can do together, think about:

  • What do my people need more of?
  • We want to change something.
  • What's the only thing we can do together?

Make It Useful

Take part in a project that connects to the reason your community worked together in the first place.When this group of people comes together, what goal or outcome is possible?

Make It Fun For Everyone To Do

Don't just talk to people and not listen.You brought them together because they are just as passionate as you are.Give them a chance to help you achieve the goal you both want.

Make It Easy To Do Again

Relationships take time to grow, and it will take a few cycles for some people to warm up and start giving back.The first thing you do with your people should be something you want to do again and again.

If you want people to show up and keep coming back for your main activity, you'll have to go above and beyond what they expect.

The point isn't that you need to spend a lot of money on a showy event.Instead, try to make sure that everyone has a great time together.

The Enemy

But what is a hero without a bad guy?A Goliath to your David, by the way.A Joker to Batman's BatmanA pineapple on top of your pizza would be a good idea.As soon as you start to drown, everyone puts their hands together in a small lifeboat.People get along better when they have a common enemy or have had a bad experience.

WallStreetBets or r/wallstreetbets is a subreddit where people talk about trading stocks and options.In the last few years, it has become known for aggressive trading strategies, unique words, and its role in the GameStop short squeeze in 2021.

Wallstreetbets reddit screenshot
Wallstreetbets reddit screenshot

For the people who use this subreddit, their community was the place where a populist uprising took place. This was a big change in the world of finance, one that gave the middle class the power to fight Big Money interests and allowed the common man to amass life-changing wealth.

When GameStop's stock was shorted by institutional investors, it almost broke them all. It took over the stock market and media, and almost broke them all as well.

In 2020, a million people signed up for WallStreetBets because they didn't like Wall Street elitism and wanted free money.

When their parents lost their life savings, they joined the group. They also had to give up their home.They were no longer interested in making steady returns of 10% each year.Those who wanted to make money quickly wanted to do it quickly.

It's not to debate whether or not their work is right, but the strong narrative did a lot to help move a movement that is actually changing financial regulations.More importantly, it helped the community grow and bring more people to the main goal.

Last but not least, here are some tips for building communities for brands. If you are running a health and fitness brand that sells protein bars, you should name and build the community around health and fitness rather than [Protein Bar Company Name].

Conclusion

People place a lot of value on community identity, and they don't want to be sold to.The people who buy your products want to get more than just the product. They want to have a relationship with you, not just buy something.Your efforts in the community will then give people a way to connect with each other over their love of a product and a story.

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