Drew Coffman is a community and NFT strategist for SuperLayer and a governing member of Friends with Benefits**. After cultivating community in web 2.0 for Unsplash and Creative Market, Drew started his journey in web3 creating NFTs and community projects. As an expert in community management and strategy, he has contributed to several significant web3 projects including Aave, Scab Shop, Frens, and more. You can learn more about Drew here.
Travis Zane is a creator and web3 specialist with a focus on social media, content, and marketing. After building social and marketing fronts for the likes of Rally, Oasis Network, and over 20 Web 2.0 brands, Travis brings his expertise to SuperLayer with the goal of expanding web3 utility to consumers worldwide. As a creator focused on queer empowerment and social equity, he is passionate about community-oriented, interdisciplinary projects. You can learn more about Travis here.
It is important to really think through what it means from project to project. There are builder communities, investor communities, and communities for each space within the web3 ecosystem. Community for an NFT collection is going to look different from the community of a DAO, which will look different from the community of a web3 tool.
In web 2.0, the “us vs. them” or “corporation vs. the people” mentality is very evident when we think about community. While community is important for web 2.0 brands, the importance doesn't ever translate over to those communities having effective control over the organization. More often than not, community managers in web 2.0 must deliver news that is beneficial for the company and not the community itself, like “we’re increasing the commission that we take off of every piece of art sold” or “now we’re introducing ads onto the platform.”
In web3, community management is given its own space that works side by side with marketing, and both teams are highly valued.
The joke in web 2.0 is that you give the Twitter account to the intern, whereas in web3 you hire entire teams for community and social media that create and execute high-level strategies for growing and sustaining social ecosystems.
You want to find people that are looking for something specific — something you’re also looking for — that is missing within the current ecosystem, and then decide, collectively, where to go from there.
So much of web 3 is about building in public and finding social spaces to connect, share ideas, and identify a path forward. Predominantly, in web3 right now, that’s being done on Twitter or Discord — though I’m also excited to see new web3 native social spaces like Taki and Lens pop up.
Twitter and Discord are the most valued spaces to build community right now. Creating a social and community culture that feels friendly, open, and engaging is important. That can be achieved by creating accessible content for people to learn about the project, creating a clean and user-friendly Discord guide and FAQ, and encouraging live conversations around the project that new members can dive into.
It’s a lot of work to do all of this on the social and community fronts, but it's absolutely necessary if you're trying to find new people to adopt into the community effectively.
A great example of community UX done well is the Nouns project. If you purchase the Nouns NFT you gain access to the community’s governance, whereby you can create proposals, vote, and impact the project in a bunch of meaningful ways. When you enter their Discord, it’s structured in a way that makes the onboarding process easy — it’s like a forum of governance where many things are being proposed that you can instantly become a part of.
A lot of projects that create social media and community accounts without a clear strategy or UX plan end up with Discords and Twitters that are ghost towns or pandemoniac messes, which are more detrimental to the project than if the accounts never existed in the first place.
It is crucial to make understanding and navigating your project crystal clear for somebody who just learned about it thirty minutes ago, and to remove potential hurdles to participation.
Another major pitfall is a complete lack of community. A lot of projects try to launch and move forward without engaging with the existing ecosystem. For example, if a successful artist from web 2.0 tries to launch an NFT collection in web3 without ever interacting with the community, that collection will most likely flop. If a project’s founder is perceived as someone who isn’t a part of the web3 space, people will see a lot of red flags and can dismiss the project entirely.
It is important to build a community organically, starting with the existing web3 community itself. In web 2.0 it’s very common to build in stealth mode and then launch out of nowhere, which is the wrong strategy for any web3 project.
web3 communities value being able to see a project grow in public, so it’s important to let as many people know what you're doing, how you’re doing it, and why you’re doing it for as long as possible, in order to grow the community organically until you're ready to launch.
However, I think we're also starting to see new metrics that the web3 community cares about just as much as numbers. For example, if I’m using Twitter and I come across a new account, the first thing I notice is who I follow that also follows that account. If I come across an account and it's not being followed by anybody that I know, that's a way bigger red flag than it having a low number of followers.
I think the most important thing projects can do to strike a balance between quality and quantity is to ensure that inroads into significant web3 communities are being established alongside general growth in numbers. Where are your web3 people hanging out? What are they interested in? How can you establish relationships with them? Answer all of these questions and you’ll be on the right track.
The allowlist strategy that really dominated 2021, that focused on getting as many people as possible onto the lists and thrived off of the element of exclusivity — is starting to be phased out. It's not as valuable as it used to be, as people are starting to settle into the web3 ecosystem in a more meaningful way and choose projects that they actually care about long-term.
As opposed to just doing a huge giveaway and getting a bunch of people to follow your account, you can identify ways to thoughtfully connect with web3 partners that might share a common value or goal. Figuring out how to organically connect with important web3 people who can share your project will be more beneficial than accumulating 100,000 bot followers.
Personally, if I were to start a project from scratch today, I would rather have 1,000 followers who are all web3 builders with their own connections than 100,000 followers who are a mix of speculators and bot accounts.
FWB really focused on establishing a community of genuine, talented, diverse people who could actively contribute to the health of the community, which is a huge reason why being a part of the membership extremely rewarding. People are constantly sharing really interesting perks of FWB membership through conversation. There are global channels where people organize IRL, share recommendations, and collaborate on new ideas — I've gotten some of the best food recommendations in Los Angeles from the FWB-LA channel.
SuperLayer is a Web3 venture studio that builds and supports new multi-chain, tokenized consumer products and applications powered by the RLY Protocol. Led by Managing Partners Kevin Chou and Mahesh Vellanki — who have more than $1 billion+ in exits between their combined venture and founding experience — SuperLayer works with partners and teams to facilitate the launch, staffing, go-to-market, compliance, and fundraising for Web3 projects. The Web3 venture studio’s mission is to attract and support the next 100 million people using crypto. For more information on SuperLayer, visit superlayer.io. ••• Mirror | Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter