Learning how to build your NFT community is one of the most valuable things you can do to ensure rapid growth. More than anything else, your community will decide whether your NFT thrives in an increasingly competitive market.
Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cyptopunks, Cool Cats – these are all examples of NFT communities with undisputed legendary status. It’s not the artwork produced for these projects guaranteeing their success (as attractive as it might be), these projects thrive because of their communities.
The people who purchase these NFTs don’t invest in the artwork; they commit to the overall growth of the project, generating hype, interacting with other buyers, and paving the way for new developments. But how exactly do you build an NFT community?
Let’s start with a general definition of an NFT Community.
An NFT community refers to the holders of an NFT project, as well as its supporters before the project originally drops. You can start building your community from the moment you announce your NFT and begin interacting with followers on social media.
This means if creators want to generate interest and excitement in their project, they need to demonstrate the benefit of owning one of their NFTs. A community is a great way of doing that. People are already naturally drawn to communities in the day-to-day world. We join specific groups on social media, follow political parties, and even apply for access to exclusive clubs to demonstrate our values, and create a sense of belonging. NFT communities follow the same principles.
A good example of an NFT community is the “Women Rise ” collective, led by Maliha Abidi. This NFT series doesn’t just share images, it aims to support women activities, scientists, coders, and artists rising in the blockchain.
The project is committed to empowering women and driving female engagement – a concept and movement many people can clearly get behind. The community advocates for, supports, and highlights females in the NFT landscape too – allowing them to gain more of an impact.
Fundamentally, NFTs need to be more than just a piece of code on a blockchain to get people excited about them. While the blockchain alone is gaining a lot of attention, NFT artists need to give their followers a specific reason to get involved in their projects.
Unlike standard investing, where you might buy a stock in a company and hope it will increase in value with time, NFTs invite buyers to be actively involved in a movement. Essentially, with an NFT, you’re not just searching for customers – but participants, helping you to achieve your goals.
By owning tokens, you’re a part of the team. You participate in creating art, sharing the project on social media, and making memes. You get involved with events, and track the progress of underlying projects, like raising money for charity.
Some communities in the NFT environment even build software together.
Now we know what NFT communities are and why they’re so essential, it’s time to look at how you can build your own. The good news is now a good time to start developing your community. There are endless platforms to explore, from Fayre to Reddit, and general interest in NFT is ramping up.
Here’s how you can get started.
As mentioned above, the reason why NFTs are so community-driven, is they invite people to get involved in a specific vision or goal. The goal doesn’t have to be as complex as something like the “Women Rise” NFT. For instance, the Mutant Ape Yacht Club by Yuga Labs aims to bring a more affordable selection of NFTs to people who can’t join the ultra-rich celebrities in the BAYC.
Mutant Ape and Bored Ape Yacht Club members also have early access to various events in the Metaverse, and real world.
Discord is intended as a method of communicating directly with your community, and generating value for your followers. A good Discord community should feel like a virtual welcome “hub” for everyone who joins your goal.
Outside of Discord and Twitter, there are a multitude of growing places to explore for community engagement. Twitter Spaces, for instance, is growing increasingly popular for connecting with your community through the use of “drop-in” audio. Clubhouse is a similar environment, where people can drop into conversations and share ideas in a more engaging space.
Some innovators in the NFT environment are even beginning their drops exclusively on Clubhouse. These environments can be both a place to connect with your existing community, and a landscape for finding new followers.
Engaging your community with regular events is an important part of ensuring its success. A community thrives when the people in it have fun and exciting ways to interact with each other. Twitter spaces (as mentioned above) can be ideal for hosting events like weekly AMAs. Discord also has a stage of its own for hosting events.
The events you create will vary depending on the kind of community you want to build. For instance, if you’re designing your community around a game, like Axie Infinity, you might host weekly game nights and competitions.
As concepts like the Metaverse and XR grow increasingly compelling, you can also find ways to engage with your community in new realities. VR and AR events can transform a community’s digital experiences and create more emotional engagement.
Giving your community members important experiences to look forward to is another way to ensure they remain engaged. A great example of this might be the Robotos project, which generated significant attention for a launch in 2021. Robotos is a collection of robotic characters created by Pablo Stanley, generated using more than 170 hand-drawn elements.
The design of the robots, combined with Stanley’s own fun personality helped to create a vibrant community, rich with conversations on Twitter and Discord.
In 2021, Stanley announced every holder of a Roboto NFT would receive a free “robopet companion”, as a “milestone” in the projects. Milestones give your community something to work towards, and look forward to. Sneak peaks revealed throughout the year generated hype and excitement, showing each robopet would inherit a trait from the Roboto they were based on.
Creating a strong community also means building a sense of trust and credibility. You’ll need a solid team and foundation around your NFT project, so your community thinks they’re spending their money on something worthwhile.
One of the best ways to generate trust is through open, transparent communication. Having community managers in your ecosystem who can share updates and keep members up-to-date on Twitter and other channels is crucial.
The whole point of being in an NFT community is feeling as though you’re part of a team. Communities need to feel as though they’re involved in the progress of your project. A good example comes from the Nouns DAO project.
The Nouns team engages the community in votes to direct the nature of the project. Initiatives Nouns holders have voted on include everything from creating Nouns comics, to building an Apple Watch app, and donating ether to charities.
Funds from these initiatives come from a Nouns treasury, built through mints of Noun NFTs and ongoing royalties from sales.
The way you engage your community and use their insights is up to you, but it’s key to make your members feel like they have a direct impact on what’s going on with your project.
Vampire Syndicate announced a collaboration with a high-end sneaker retailer during its early stages. Following negative feedback from a number of holders, the team postponed the partnership, and focused on digital utility instead.
Finally, a significant portion of your NFT community will revolve around an internal economy, through the use of “utility tokens”. These are tokens distributed to NFT holders at regular intervals as a reward for retaining their NFTs. These tokens may be used to place a vote on a specific decision the NFT project might be making, or to acquire something in the project ecosystem.
There are also various “burn mechanisms” in use throughout NFT projects, which remove a number of tokens from circulation on a regular basis, and ensure the value of the token doesn’t depreciate over time. However, managing supply and demand can be a little complex.
One project to look at for an insight into “token economics” is Dojicrew, by James Ame.
Ame and his team are building an environment where each figure is a combination of specific NFTs classified as “traits”. These traits are interchangeable, just like physical Lego figures. Each NFT has a rank assigned at random, and receives a daily amount of utility tokens (zingots), depending on the rank. Users can purchase traits from other players with these tokens.
This system basically creates an internal economy which mimics the physical collector space.
As powerful as NFT communities are today, they’re also in their relatively early stages. As Web3 and the metaverse continue to evolve, NFT communities will continue to evolve.
In the Web3 and metaverse landscape, digital identities will become much more important in our day-to-day lives. Different communities are already forming across a range of NFT environments which invest in NFT and 3D avatars for the metaverse.
Increasingly, we’ll also continue to see a focus on social standing in the metaverse as a form of collateral. In the real world, we often judge people by their social standing – even if it’s just subconsciously. In the anonymous online world, individuals will be able to show the NFTs they hold and the communities they’re in as a way of gaining credibility.
This will make it even more important for NFT projects to build the right community experience for their followers. The focus on building a sense of pride will be crucial.
In the meantime, it’s safe to say investing in the right community experience for your NFT project will be the key to determining whether your efforts are successful or not. NFTs aren’t just about selling art, they’re about building your tribe. We are Crowdcreate, one of the leading NFT marketing agencies that can help your project grow. Contact our team today to see how we can help you.