Building a community-first product

Hi there Femstreet community! I’m Kim Johnson - the Head of Community at Geneva, an all-in-one communication app for groups and communities of all shapes and sizes. Before joining the team at Geneva this past October, I led Community at Glossier for five years. In my time helping two high-growth companies build their community efforts (and chatting with some incredible community leaders along the way), I’ve been lucky to see the unique value that investing in your relationships brings to the business you build and, ultimately, the products (physical or digital!) that you deliver. 

Community is quite literally everything for us at Geneva. In my work, I get to support and watch a diverse range of communities and groups (we have every kind of group from school clubs and sororities to professional networks and virtual conferences on Geneva) come together, grow, and thrive digitally.

In my experience, there are always a few existential questions that community leaders face: ‘How do I build community in a truly authentic way?’ and How do I get people bought in?

My thoughts on this are always the same, no matter what kind of community you’re building:

  1. Get to know your people—who they are, what matters to them, and why they care about what you’re building. It’s essential. Getting on the phone, understanding the different pockets of people and how they relate to and differ from each other—spending that time will allow you to build something that meets people where they are, instead of asking them to meet you. 

  2. Invest in the behind-the-scenes. One of the things that often catches people as they grow and scale community efforts is not having the infrastructure to continue to thoughtfully build and manage relationships. It’s the less sexy part, for sure, but building this as you go makes life so much easier in the long term.

  3. Take your time (in community and all life things!). Community literally cannot be built in a day. Build a foundation and continue to water it and build as you go. 

There’s so much more to building with a community-first mindset and I’m excited to chat with you all about it!

Join me for a conversation in the next hour 👇