Nailing Member Zero: The Perennial Challenge

Last week we, at Scrollback, had our ‘ aha’ moment when at the WIRED Business Conference, Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger attributed the success of Instagram to its focus on their community. So much that their first hire was a community manager!

Building a community around your product or company brings loyalty. Yes! They make amazing evangelists. We realise that between getting traction and bringing in the bucks, building a community may not top your Trello list. Not to forget, the dreaded member zero - the first person or the set of people who join your community apart from your friends and family.  

So we decided to help you take that first step. From tech evangelists to fashion divas, travel enthusiasts to super geeks, we spoke to community managers of some of the most active communities on Scrollback and put together some points to bear in mind while starting yours.

Patience: There are no shortcuts!

You cannot buy in communities. You may get likes and followers through promoted posts, but you cannot nurture a quality community around it. An organic community takes times but is loyal and will stick by you.  

Member Zero: Is that a community myth?

 Member Zero is not a myth.  Your users aren't going to directly translate into an active community.  Apart from friends and family that you use to boost your numbers (come on we all have done that!) your community foundations are laid with that first person or the first few people who join your community.  Apart from buying your product, they have decided to take that next step and be a part of your community for a reason. Engage with them. Understand their expectations and ensure that your goals and their expectations are aligned. 

Don’t be afraid of monologues 

People aren't going to start participating immediately and chances are you will be the one talking most of the time. Our community manager friends ask us to assure you that this is normal. It takes a while for people to get comfortable and responding. Nudge them to talk. Thats what debates, swags and give aways are for.

Sappy as it sounds, Content is still king!

This statement is done to death and yet in our strategies many of us tend to forget about it.  Isn't it tempting to bombard your community with product information with such a tailored target audience in one place. Members join a community not to hear about your product. Don't use them for your target marketing. Give them content that will benefit them and make them hang around. 

Mate your content with time bound discussions

One of the best ways to kick start communities is having time bound activities. Get an expert in your arena to do an online 'Ask me Anything' session or get them together for interesting time bound discussions. Works like a charm and the time bound sessions will eventually spill into different conversations. 

Trial and Error 

Try different things - varied topics, contests, activities.  Every community is different and google can help you only so much. See what your community patterns are like and cater your strategy accordingly. 

The community managers we know love to talk and share their experiences. Isn't that why communities are for. Would you like some more gyan specific to your community? Shoot us a mail at and we will put you in touch with a few of those rockstars.