Finding the right partner for building a community can be quite challenging.
Before we get into it, let me clarify something. The term community studio doesn’t really have a clear-cut. In this first issue, we’re gonna go by Latecheckout‘s interpretation of what a community studio is, and how it differs from a more traditional social media marketing agency. Other companies might see things differently and that’s fine.
We’re just sharing our views and perspective on the subject. Let’s get started.
As you may know, startups are risky and brands without a community are moving slowly. Founders set out to build the next big thing, the path is littered with the logos of fallen comrades. You are trying to thread a needle in a wind tunnel.
These founders and brand owners take on this risk because the possible results are rewarding. Startups that make it through the gauntlet are some of the best businesses in the world, with high margins and practically unlimited growth potential.
But what if there was a way to eliminate much of the risk without losing out on the possible reward?
Guess what? We are making it real! Community studios will breed major outcomes for companies and brands in the future.
Once you have an idea for a new community you want to build or you already have an audience you want to convert to a grown community and bring it to life, you’ll need to do it your own way or you will either work with freelancers or agencies to bring it to life. When you are at this stage with an idea, a common dilemma arises; trying to build this thing internally, or get help from an agency that does these sorts of things for a living?
Two of the most common types of businesses that can help you are social media marketing agencies or “community studios”. These sound like they might be the same thing, but they are distinctively different.
Social Media Marketing Agency Approach
Social media marketing agencies charge customers for social media management and marketing campaigns based on a list of requirements. Their core competency is technical work: if the client wants their products to perform well on social or drive sales, they will do just that.
These agencies focus on developing social media marketing strategies for your products, according to your requirements within a specific time frame for a specific budget.
The relationship with an agency is best described as client-supplier. The product/brand brief you submit to the agency is the guide for the entire project. They will not stray from your requirements.
So what is a Community Studio, anyway?
A community studio is a kind of lab for creating, building, serving, growing, developing, connecting and sustaining communities (group of people) around your business/brand.
You can think of the studio model as an effective way and a powerful de-risking machine. The main way it de-risks is through connection, trust, collaboration and validation. Community Studios improve their chances of success by taking a bunch of shots on net rather than just one, this way it helps more brands and businesses to grow continously and consistently.
Community studios become experts at rapidly generating and testing ideas and releasing specific community programs, the cost of each attempt is much less than it would be for a normal startup or a company.
Community Studio: Approach & Focus
A community studio is a lab with cross-functional teams of experts who come together to build the best internet communities possible. These experts are usually community-centric entrepreneurs, community managers, community designers, social media strategists, and community builders or people with community backgrounds. Community studios’ core strengths are connection, trust, collaboration, and validation.
It’s all about solutions!
The Community Studio model is set to build solutions and make trusted partnerships. While there are enormous use cases for successful communities built by brands and startups, most customers and community members get more value from being in the community. I find this thing continuously trending because the creator economy and passion economy helped reveal community building as a fundamental component of product development.
In short, when a community studio meets with you and your brand/business team, they will bring in a cross-functional team of experts. These teams will usually have (but not necessarily all of them) marketers, community designers, community developers, community managers, and product managers in some cases.
With this added expertise, and having everyone sitting at the table throughout the whole journey, you consistently end up building communities that are more likely to be feasible and viable.
What is Afterwork Lab?
Afterwork Lab is a community studio that helps build, build, engage and grow internet communities for early-stage startups, brands and companies. Our team is supporting and initiating community development strategies and social media marketing projects.
The best community builders help support business growth and not just grow social media followers. It’s about solving the problems that can both help your target audience and drive growth for your business.
As community builders:
👉 We help design your Minimal Viable Community – MVC for early-stage startups with community-based products.
👉 We design and develop online communities for your company or your brand on Geneva, Discord, Circle, Facebook, and Telegram.
👉 We develop organic Social Media Relations strategies with a community-based approach to meet your business needs at any stage of growth.
👉 We specialize in turning your organization’s target audience into a loyal community by taking full leverage of Twitter and social media channels.
We help bring together landscape community builders and creators to provide community-building services for brands and companies.
Our collaborative approach equips community energy with professional expertise through an engaging and enjoyable process to create a shared vision.
As an agency, we work with B2C and B2B organizations, DTC brands, early-stage startups with community-based products, and non-profit entities.
In the community world and social media marketing, there are two different schools: business school and people-centric school, we tend to combine them both.
Our supporting services at Afterwork
👉 Comarketing Collaborations: we start collaborative efforts on marketing on social media to bring people together.
👉 Community Management: we can help you manage your community with ongoing support and management.
👉 Interactive Workshops: we provide workshops on community-building frameworks and community intelligence for our members, brands, and companies.