Community Manager Spotlight

3 Secrets to Growing and Retaining a Thriving Community

Recently, we had the pleasure of getting to speak with Lily Macomber, the Community Lead at Scroobious: a start-up company that connects founders and investors with each other, while also offering educational resources to support each community throughout the capital raising process. Lily has worked at multiple start up companies, and enjoys working with underrepresented founders to help bring their dreams to life! Her experience within tech ecosystems has particularly assumed roles of connecting founders to the right resources to help their businesses grow. She enjoys networking, growing communities, and maximizing the value they provide. In her role as a Community Lead, she is a point person her community members always feel comfortable going to with anything, and she feels this is the key to fostering a comfortable culture within a community.

EKOS: What do you think the key is to growing a community and retaining its members?

Lily: “There are two parts to growing and retaining community members. In my capacity, the first is creating an experience that extends beyond the platform. When people are all working towards the same goal, and are united within the same community, their shared experiences will bring them all more value than if they were doing it completely isolated, so it is important to share and interact. They can all learn from each other’s successes, failures and questions. The second is networking, both in and outside the community: find people who can symbiotically help solve problems members are experiencing. For instance, when I reach out to someone externally, I am not only thinking about how our community as a whole can help them achieve their goals, but I am also thinking about how people currently in the community will benefit from hearing from this person’s insights.”

EKOS: How have you seen diversity contribute to the value of a community?

Lily: “There is so much value that lies in diverse communities, but the biggest one I want to stress is the value added by different perspectives and lived experiences. It’s these different perspectives that people within the community can relate to one another on or educate one another on. Outside of these communities, they may have felt that no one understood their perspective, but now within a larger open group, their perspective is something of value that contributes to the growth of knowledge for the group at large.”

EKOS: What advice would you give to someone who is, or is aspiring to be in a community leadership role?

Lily: “The biggest advice I would give is to make yourself approachable and available. If people know that you are a friendly face that will always chat with them about anything, they will continue renewing their membership because that friendliness and comfort you provide is value to them. I host office hours every other Friday for people to talk to me about anything going on in their life, or even general advice about their business. Whether the interactions they have with me are online or in person, I try to be a person that can relieve their stress by asking questions and being a sounding board. The most important thing though is to create a culture where no question is a bad question and that it's no big deal to ask it., By extending this culture to the community at large, members will feel comfortable networking with each other and asking each other for advice, amplifying the value and benefit for the group at large.”

3 Takeaways

1) When community members feel comfortable they are more apt to freely share their questions, experiences, and insights with each other.

2) Diversity raises the value of a community by offering different perspectives that may not have been heard or amplified within the community.

3) As a community lead, be the example of the openness and accessibility that sets the tone of how members can interact with you and each other.

In communities everywhere, it is important to give all of your members a voice and the space for them to be heard. The change in culture begins with us, so speak up on your platform, ask for help and answer others when they reach out!

We are so grateful to have had the time to speak with Lily and to hear her insights on creating a comfortable community culture.

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