11 Tips For Recruiting Your First 100 Members To Your Online Community


Building a community from the ground-up is hard, often lonely work. You are starting out as the only evangelist for this fledgling idea, and you have to hustle day in and day out to get those key first members. Why 100? That’s when you typically should see some more user-generated topics and comments that isn’t necessarily all seeded by you.

What better way to illustrate this than through an example. Let’s say, I want to create the ultimate online community and fan club around the most amazing 90s TV show, Saved by the Bell.  From Buddy Bands to caffeine pill addiction, I want it become the place where we all relish in talking about the glory of Zack, Slater, Jessie, Kelly and Screech. To make this a glorious reality, the community needs it’s initial members. Here’s 11 tips to seed these initial members.

1. Use Moz’s Open Site Explorer for some light competitor analysis.


Before you can even start to find new members, it’s a good idea to see what other communities are out there that already talk about Saved by the Bell.

2.  Search relevant Reddit subreddits.


A good starting point are these Reddit tools:

3. Use Google Trends and Adwords Keyword Planner.


This allows you to search keywords and get traffic estimates around the size of your niche.

4. Search sources on Wikipedia.


Check out the contributors to Wikipedia articles on your community’s topic.

5. Search forums.


Use forum-specific search engines, such as Boardreader and Omgili.

6.  Search Twitter and relevant Twitter chats.


Some great tools include:

7. Search Facebook Groups.


Use Facebook graph search to find groups in your targeted niche of Saved by the Bell enthusiasts.

8. Seek out Meetups.


Some great resources include:

9. Go to coffee shops.


Use Yelp to find hot coffee shops and gathering places in your area. Then, just be an active observer, and strike up conversations. You never know when you might find a Saved by the Bell fellow enthusiast or someone who knows the ultimate fangirl or fanguy.

10. Email friends and colleagues w/ a specific focus on friends of friends (2nd degree connections).


11. Pick up the phone.


While you might not have an epic Zack Morris “brick cell phone” anymore, this old school approach is still very effective and powerful. It’s particularly powerful for conducting qualitative interviews with all new community members.


Download my free checklist to generate more activity and engagement in your new community!

Powered by MailChimp

About the author

Jessica Malnik