If you want your NFT project to last, you need to build a thriving NFT community around it. Simple, right? But here’s the challenge: how do you get people excited enough to join your NFT community if you’ve just launched (and don’t yet have celebrities hanging out)? How do you attract the right folks, maintain things so everyone keeps coming back, and secure access so they feel safe participating?
Let’s start at the beginning.
What does community mean?
An NFT community isn’t just a group of people that own a specific NFT. It’s the small, exclusive subset of token owners that believe in the mission and vision behind the NFT. These people aren’t just in it for a quick trade on the exchange — they’re there for the benefits of ownership.
DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) are a subset of NFT communities and illustrate how progressive NFT communities can be. In a DAO, members have a say over the direction of their community — everything happens out in the open and you can vote on key decisions. An example is the Nouns community: token owners get one vote per noun and can use that vote to have their say on community issues and resource distribution.
Not all NFT communities give members voting powers. Some, like Woodies, are ‘managed’ by a mix of creators or investors — a bit more like a traditional company. Members get to create stories or even build brands around their NFT but they don’t drive the ultimate direction.
How to build your NFT community
DAO or not, all great NFT communities start with a few simple steps.
1. Define your audience
Who is this for? Who will get excited about the possibilities they can unlock by owning your token? If you’re not sure who those people are — and where to find them — think about the utility of your NFT. What kind of perks and exclusive experiences does it unlock? Picture the persona heading to those events and map out:
- The common ground. What do all the people coming to that event have in common? What’s their shared belief, experience, or interest?
- The driving force. What makes them get up in the morning? What makes them show up to events? Are they doing it to fulfill some inner need, to gain status, or for something completely different?
2. Set a real community mission
If you want to build an NFT community with staying power, you need a shared mission. This mission sets the direction for everything you’ll do together — and for everything that will show up on your roadmap. It doesn’t have to be complicated though. The Stoner Cats community are united by their mission of creating (and watching) a TV series. The Crypto Baristas unite around coffee and sustainability. Choose something your audiences can really get behind.
3. Choose your hangout spot
Every community needs a common room — somewhere members can exchange ideas quickly and easily. We’re starting to see more and more VR meetups, but the most common choice for NFT communities remains Discord.
Setting up your NFT discord community
Discord does it all — you can use voice, video, text, and chat to build real, continuous engagement. You can release behind-the-scenes updates so that everyone knows the latest news. And you can set up discussions, share rewards, release early access information, or build mini sub-communities so members can connect and create joint projects.
4. Secure your community
After you have your mission down and you’ve chosen where to set up, it’s time to put up the virtual fences. NFT communities are naturally exclusive — but hackers will still try to get in. Securing sensitive user information is paramount. So is making sure everyone has the right access to the right areas. Something like SlashAuth is perfect for multi-level token gating so everyone sees what they’re supposed to.
5. Promote your community
If you want your NFT community to thrive, you have to promote it. And because the community is an intrinsic part of the value of your token, promoting it will help people understand why they should consider your NFT when they’re browsing OpenSea. But how do you get the word out?
You have two and a half choices: free, paid, or hybrid. If you have a bit of money to invest, hiring a marketing agency for promotion can make life a little easier. Just make sure you vet them thoroughly first — and set some clear, measurable KPIs so everyone knows what success is meant to look like. If you’re just starting out though— or if you have the resources to invest time and effort into some serious marketing — it’s time to hit social.
Keep it real on Instagram
This is where you can let the artistic side of your NFT project shine. Let the visual artistry speak for itself through in-feed posts. Tease cool new releases — or concept sketches — through Instagram stories. And don’t forget to share the spotlight by highlighting artists in your community.
Connect on Twitter
Follow top creators and join in the discussion. If it makes sense for your brand, talk about the relevant issues in the NFT space — and what you’re doing to address them.
Take advantage of the TikTok algorithm and stitch videos from top creators. This will expose you to their audience and help you build your following by sharing your unique perspective.
Join the right Reddit threads
Let’s get real for a sec: the first page of google is mostly SEO promotion articles or ads. When you want to get a real answer to real questions, most of us head to Reddit because the threads tell us what real people think. So get in those threads: answer people’s questions where it makes sense. Just don’t forget to connect your handle to the rest of your social media so people can find you. (You should do this for every channel!)
6. Follow through on your promises
This one is simple: if you promise your community something, do it. Yes — the roadmap and intentions you start with won’t always pan out as planned. But when you hit roadblocks, let your community know. Transparency is the heart — and driver — of the NFT movement. (The good part of it, anyway.) So only put things on your roadmap if you intend to make them happen — and when something doesn’t work out, communicate and fix it.
Successful NFT communities you should keep an eye on
Creating an NFT community is vital — but so is joining other communities. That way, you can get cool ideas and connect with some of the smartest minds in the space. Here are some options for your shortlist.
If you’re looking for an exclusive community built on the DAO principles, Nudies is it. Created by fashion designer Hayley Elsaesser, the Nudie NFT collection is made up of just 10,000 unique designs. You get one vote for each Nudie in your collection — and you can use that vote to have a say in the community’s future. But this is just the starting point for Nudies — with plans to build in the Metaverse and host exclusive community events there. (And while Decentraland is sitting at an alleged 8,000 active users a day total at the moment — which is not exactly exciting — Nudies may find a way to make it fun.)
If you love music, art, and fashion, you’ll love the Lofi Originals community. To get in, you have to own one of the 5,555 unique NFTs. Each NFT is vibing to its unique beat — thanks to the original music overlayed atop the animated art. Being part of the community gives you access to exclusive perks like cool hoodies, songs, and drops. The rest of this year is pretty busy too: Lofi are releasing an exclusive app, marketplace, digital clothing, a game, and more.
Love real-world conservation efforts? Then you may want to get in on this. Woodies make nature and conservation-themed NFTs — each one is randomly created based on a unique combination of 900 traits. While the community has helped real-world tree planting efforts (1 million trees planted), where Woodies shines is the freedom to put your NFT to work. Community members (token holders) can use Woodies to develop products, tell stories and build their own environmentally aware brands around the characters.
Who says your digital world avatar has to be different from the real world you? RTFKT has collaborated with world-class artists like Takami Murakami, Jeff Staple, and Fewocious. Being a member of the community gives members access to exclusive events and brand-new drops. (And after the Dec ‘21 Nike acquisition, there have been a lot of drops!)
If you’re active in the alternative music scene — or you want to be — the Wicked Craniums community is the one to join. It’s an all-access pass for unforgettable music events you can’t get elsewhere. By holding two NFT tokens, you gain access to hundreds of exclusive concerts and experiences around the globe — for free.
Building a community that does justice to your NFT
You can’t have a long-lasting NFT without a thriving community — it’s the fuel that propels you to glory. Don’t let that overwhelm you though. The most important thing is to start somewhere — just choose an audience and start marketing. The rest will follow. (Just remember to use a security solution like SlashAuth to keep your members safe and sound.)