The NFT economy has seen a massive boom in 2021. And online communities have been at the epicenter of this story.
Sneaky Vampire Syndicate is a token that launched to a post-market volume of $40M+. Artist Migwashere announced the NFT project. It was a series of 8,888 vampire NFTs, each one a unique (yet generated) Migwashere piece of art.
In its first weekend, 4,600+ people bought at least one NFT at a price of 0.08Ξ (approx. $313 at the time). Sneaky Vampire Syndicate’s accomplishments build on top of Migwashere’s previous project. This was the infamous Bored Ape Yacht Club, which is one of the best known NFT projects in the space.
The game plan to grow your community
The SVS team had a great community plan straight off the bat. Interest in the project skyrocketed. Especially when the identities of the folks behind Sneaky Vampire Syndicate were revealed. The community shot from 0 to 40,000 people in a matter of weeks. The chat rooms boomed, with most people trying to cop out a limited edition NFT before everyone else.
Holders of Sneaky Vampire Syndicate NFTs also got a ton of perks as part of the community. But as an NFT enthusiast myself, most buyers weren't interested in the art. They were more concerned with whether they'd be able to make a 2-3x profit after the sale. Many ended up making 20-30x.
SVS had four main channels of acquisition:
1. NFT listings websites.
Many potential community members camp on these websites. This is because they want to find a good project before other people.
2. A ton of press and Twitter RTs from famous people.
This includes famous Silicon Valley investor Gary Tan.
3. Collaborating with other projects to cross-pollinate audiences
4. Word of mouth and a bounty program to grow your community
To enhance word of mouth by giving people whitelist spots if they invited the most number of people to the community.
They also kept engagement up by promising to put certain people on the whitelist. This exclusive list of people would get access to the sale before others. Events were conducted almost everyday to get new members into the loop on what SVS was. Almost all NFT projects follow the same general rules, but SVS is an example of a project that carried it off well. They didn't shy away from marketing and PR either.
There are six reasons why the SVS community grew so fast, and why NFT projects have cracked this model:
Because potential community members discovered the community in the first place.
Because there's implied scarcity (8888 tokens, 40,000 people. Some people aren’t going to get tokens)
Because people can make easy money from joining the community.
Because big names were involved.
SVS made separate chat channels in various languages. This included Korean, Chinese, Russian, and other languages, for local language support.
Because there was a whitelist program. This increased engagement and created a loop of members inviting other people just to get a spot. In fact, k-factor with some NFT projects is >1.
So, what can you learn from this?
1. Publicize your community
Getting your community in the spotlight is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Find relevant pools where your users might hang out. You can add some bait in your community and people might join in to check that piece of bait out. An example of this process is to find popular newsletters. You can then pay them to advertise an exclusive piece of well written content. After this, ask readers to join your community to access said piece of content.
You can also get some influencers on board. Influencers in 2021 are making an incredible amount of money selling their distribution. And dollar for dollar, they're cheaper than running social media ads. Influencers also tend to have a much higher advert click through rate because their audience trusts them (audiences trust influencers way more than clicking on a random ad in their feed).
2. Create FOMO to get into your community
Your community should be exclusive and difficult to get into. This can be done by following the invite-only model to create FOMO. Communities that adopt the invite-only model turn themselves into fashion at the very beginning; they look cool to people on the outside.
Another advantage of these exclusive social networks is that there exists strong network effects. If you create an invite only community of just 100 well known content creators in Chile, you're bound to have many of them inside who already know each other. The advantage of this is that conversation happens organically , and the quality of said conversation is high. This makes the community all the more valuable for people on the outside who want to get in.
3. Provide opportunity to your community members to make money
Every community that people can make money in will always be successful. America is not known as the land of money, it is known as the land of opportunity. There's an important distinction between the words opportunity and money — opportunity means you have a chance to make money. Money means you are gifted cash.
4. Get validation
People in advertising know this well. Get a famous actor or sporting personality to promote your product and you'll find a rapid increase in trust index and product usage. It's the same with communities. People want to join communities, they just don't know which ones. When a community is backed or publicly supported by someone who has a reputation to lose, more people are likely to join it. Cognitively, legwork and due diligence has already been done by this "famous person", and hence the community must be legitimate.
Getting someone famous to tweet or post about your community (even if this is a sponsored tweet or post) is a very good way to gain validation, and users are more likely to convert if there's some validation behind what you're doing.
It also works the same in the startup world — when Scenes was an unknown yet technologically sound app, we had very few people willing to take the plunge and buy a subscription. Now that we're backed by 40+ institutional and top angel investors, client adoption is much easier.
Facebook's primary growth spurt happened because it's product had high product-market-fit with teenagers. Its second growth spurt happened much later, thanks to internationalization. Internationalization is simply the process of adding more languages to your product or community.
Anytime around 10,000 members is the perfect time to venture outside of your primary language and add international voice, text, and forum channels. If you’re starting a project that you expect to grow fast, you should begin with international channels and also acquire international moderators.
6) Use referrals to scale up your community
Referrals are the perfect place to start if you’re looking to scale up your community. A long time before we put up YouTube videos, we ran a product agency. We used to employ a little trick whenever it came to billing time — we’d give our clients an option: "Refer another business to hire developers from us, and we’ll give you a MacBook as a personal gift if they convert."
This turned out to be an awesome technique, because we not only employed referrals, we also gave people a personal incentive.
Sneaky Vampire Syndicates did a lot of things right when it came to generating hype. And this in turn helped them sell more. If you’re looking to pull something similar off and are confused on things like, "Where do I do it?", "What's the right platform for me?", we’ve got you covered.