Pesky Penguins' Keys to Community

The fundamentals to building lasting NFT communities

As community manager of Pesky Penguins, I get asked questions about community-building on a daily basis. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to growing or engaging your community, I thought it might be helpful for new and upcoming projects to jot down my take. Bear in mind that market conditions may have an impact on the speed with which you grow, but it shouldn’t change the fundamentals.

🔑 Build first, mint later

This flies directly in the face of all the sold-out “stealth” launch projects we’ve been seeing lately, but: do not mint without establishing yourself in the ecosystem.

The surest way to develop trust between you and your community is proof of work. 

If your community is able to see the contributions you’re making to the space and within your project, they’re going to be much more comfortable sticking around long-term. And that’s really what you want the core of your community to be -- long-term holders who are happy to grow with you. 

If you’re worried about losing hype or momentum by not launching immediately, don’t be. Hype can sell out a project and even carry it a week or two, but it’s not sustainable and can bankrupt a community of its dedicated members.

Slow and steady wins the race.   

🔑 No viral marketing

This should be intuitive, but it bears repeating. Viral marketing has never been successful at building a community -- ever. 

Sure, it may have helped sell out a project. But the type of person who will buy into a project because they’ve been DM-ed a project’s Discord by a stranger is probably not the type of person you want to help build your community long-term. 

To this end, you might want to forgo hiring a marketing service to market for you. I’ve spoken with teams who hired social media management firms with the best of intentions, only to later find out that their project information was getting mass spammed to 500,000 people in Discord. 

The best kind of marketing manager will be in house; someone who works with you, not for you.

🔑 Stay Active

Social media activity should not be conflated with viral marketing; the latter is unsolicited and obtrusive, the former can be inviting. For better or for worse, Twitter serves as the gateway into the NFT metaverse. 

Maintaining an active social media presence is the surest way to get new eyes on your project. Tweeting several times a day will be very helpful to this end. This does not mean you should shill your project in the comments of every post you see. 

Instead, try to engage thoughtfully with the community around you. What exactly this means is up to you, but make sure you keep the self-promotion confined to your own page, and not in random comments.

Your tweets don’t all need to be progress updates; there are plenty of ways to engage Crypto Twitter and get them interested in joining your community without having something new to show off. 

Remember, a little “gm” can go a long way!

🔑 Be kind

Finally: be kind. That’s it, that’s the tweet.

But really, kindness is fully necessary to grow the ecosystem going forward. As we move further along the adoption curve and more people enter the space, it’s important to make everyone feel as welcome as possible. 

For all that we like to joke about being massive degens, the metaverse is growing daily.

We are onboarding to Solana increasingly diverse users of all backgrounds. It might be tempting to leverage for cachet the edgy subculture early NFTers have cultivated, but this is shortsighted and exclusionary. 

As crypto becomes increasingly mainstream, so too will its users. The more welcome you can make everyone in your community feel, the better. Increasingly we are seeing NFTs gifted to friends, spouses, parents, and children; be the type of community they will be proud to represent. 

In the end, as with most things in life, there are no shortcuts. Building and maintaining a strong community will be an ongoing effort for the lifespan of your project. There is no magic button to press and receive organic growth. You have to build that trust one day at a time.

It might seem painfully slow in an extremely fast-paced world, but in the end, your community’s conviction will carry your project.

Big ups and a massive thank you to Kylie of Pesky Penguins!

NOOT NOOT & Get a Pengu here.

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