Community development · Social networking

What is the best way to build a community you are starting from scratch?

Lane Campbell I baked a unicorn cake once.

April 24th, 2015

I am founding a SaaS platform that will serve as a 2 sided marketplace between two different groups of people.  For the sake of this post let's say it's Plumbers and Homeowners.  I need to attract the best and biggest Plumbers to the platform in order to deliver the best results for my Homeowner customers.  

How would you build that community?  Would you seed it with homeowners and pay out of pocket so word gets around to the Plumbers?

I'm wondering because I've read that Reddit relied on the strategy of seeding content early on:

Jakob Thusgaard ►► We Sell and Create Revenue for B2B SaaS Companies

April 25th, 2015

Lacking a little info about what you're specifically building, however I'll share how I build YourSales. 

YourSales is a platform for outsourced B2B sales. We provide curated,  continuously-developing, and high-performing sales professionals for leadgen, inside sales, field sales,  and business development. 

It's a non-automated platform. Clients can't log in and select a sales pro, and sales pro's can't login to een assignments. 

Regardless, I spent a large part of 2013 & 2014 proactively sourcing sales pros from everywhere. Also had many conversations with sales professionals to get them to register with data relevant to getting clients interested in their services. Registration is free of charge - all revenue comes from client projects. 

Let me know if you have any questions. If appropriate you can book some time to talk at 

L. Marshall-Smith

April 25th, 2015

Lane, I would agree with Jakob. Attract the plumbers first. Once you've got a few hundred plumbers in the system, you can interest the homeowners.  Start in a small local market to test the waters.

Roger Wu co-founder at cooperatize, native advertising platform

April 25th, 2015

We run a two sided marketplace as well, brands that want to connect with publishers for sponsored content, Cooperatize if you are interested. I would say that in any two sided marketplace the harder "side" is the demand side or the side that is "paying" ... in eBay its the buyers, in Uber its the riders, in Cooperatize its the brands and in your example its the homeowners.  Once you let it be known that there's a way to generate more leads and clients the supply side should/will find its way to you.

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

April 26th, 2015

Lane, tons of great content here:

Building up a network is dependent on the participants. It looks like you are focused on recruiters and candidates. The dynamic of those counter-parties is quite different from plumbers and homeowners. For instance, most people are continuously interested in their career, their value as an employee, what types of opportunities there are, etc. - even when they're not looking. Most homeowners could care less about their plumbing until there's a problem. Additionally, the demand side of a recruiter network is the recruiter, not the candidate... while it's the opposite for the plumber network. 

Would generally agree that you probably want to bring plumbers on first because it's easy, they're relatively homogeneous and it solves a problem for the homeowner. Whether bringing recruiters on first makes sense really depends on your service. If you're, say, enabling a person to submit their resume to 100 recruiters and provide some filtering tools for them, then you definitely want to build up your recruiter base first. OTOH, if your service is aggregating great candidates, then you don't necessarily need any recruiters to start - as long as you are providing something of value to the candidate. This could be content or a tool.


Jakob Thusgaard ►► We Sell and Create Revenue for B2B SaaS Companies

April 25th, 2015

On your target market : local vs global vs everything in-between :

Your presence should depend on the clients you target. 

While plumbers might be fine with a local approach, we try to help B2B tech companies with a global market. 

Thus, we too had to be global from the start. 

My question to you is, if you're building something online, why not make it global?? 

Lee Mayer Connecting like-minded individuals who mutually benefit from each others knowledge & expertise!

April 25th, 2015

Have you considered utilizing evangelist in select markets to build local communities to build brand awareness?


April 26th, 2015

1st as Linda said you need Plumbers.  Make an offer to network conversation of Plumbers and find one Whale Plumber to co-found and joint venture your weird idea.  You will find all the small plumber's want to become a Whale and follow easily.  2nd what I hear you proposing is to be a 3rd party hosting facility between the two contractually and that is a very smart strategy in my assessment.  

One test for the plumbers no matter what field your imagining is make sure they know bullsh$t goes down hill hill and not uphill into your 3rd party hosting office.  That will keep things clean as whistle. 
Street wisdom!

Julien Fruchier Founder at Republic of Change

April 28th, 2015

Lane, if you want quality responses, you may want to consider being more explicit. I'm currently building a two-sided marketplace for small businesses and consumers and know someone building a two-sided marketplace for handymen and homeowners, funny enough. There are very few overlapping dynamics between the two because there are inherent differences between his community and mine. 

Vanessa DiMauro Advisor / Researcher / Speaker - Digital Strategy & Online Communities

March 22nd, 2016

This ebook should be a great help for building the case for an online community. It will take you from strategic intent to developing a budget so you can assess the potential impact and returns on effort.

Maddie Grant Workplace Genome Mapper. Culture Change Consultant. Writer. Envelope Pusher.

March 23rd, 2016

I think you should partner with an association whose members are the vendors (plumbers). Helping the association help their members provide value to customers = win-win-win.