Justin Kozuch - Lessons Learned In Community Building

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  • This is what I call the “I love me” slide. My name is Justin Kozuch, and I am the founder of Refresh Events. We’re a community organization dedicated to the advancement and promotion of Toronto’s tech/interactive scene. You can find me on Twitter @jkozuch. In a previous lifetime, I was a front-end designer at Sapient, and I’ve worked on various projects such as Virgin Charter and The Wall Street Journal. Finally, I’m a technology/web/video game junkie.
  • So, what is community? Community means alot of things to alot of people. What does community mean to you?
  • This is my definition of community. “A group of people living in a common location (or geographically dispersed), interacting and sharing like interests, hobbies, talents, and abilities.”
  • Gigpark does a great job of giving their users a voice. Not only can they recommend service providers, but they can also ask users for recommendations for a specific service. By giving your users a voice, you give them a reason to return to your community to share and interact.
  • Provide your users with tools to create and share content. Daily Challenge does this by integrating the user’s Twitter account into their site, thereby socializing user actions and further increasing the reach of their brand. In this case, you can choose which user actions you’d like to share, and you can even go as far as customizing how you want the messaging to appear through the use of meta data.
  • Barack Obama won the 2008 election not only because he was a great speaker, and not only because he understood social media and how it could help him win an election, but because he was a GREAT listener. As a community organizer in Chicago’s South Side, one of the roughest, poorest neighbourhoods in the city, he learned how to LISTEN to the needs of the people and setup a job training program, a college prep program and a tenants’ right organization in Altgeld Gardens. It was his ability to listen, and listen well that earned him the distinction of serving in the highest office in the US.
  • People love attention; why else do you think I am up here? If you make yourself available to people, answer their questions, and help them any way you can, whether you introduce them to someone they want to meet, or help them solve a problem, or help them get a job, you’ll quickly build an army of advocates that will go to bat (or war) for you.
  • Do you remember when your mom told you to share, to say please and thank you? There was a good reason why. Sharing is good for your karma, it shows you care, and you never know who you’re helping. You may be helping someone have a better day or helping them feel like they have an ally. “Thank you” always goes a long way. I know that it seems like I’m preaching to the choir here, but alot of people don’t say thank you.

    If you’re on Twitter, thank your new followers. I try to do this as much as possible, and unfortunately I don’t do it nearly enough as I should. But make sure if you do it, do it consistently.
  • I love this slide, mainly because it speaks to the many experiences I’ve had. How many people here have failed at something? How many have failed and given up? Now, how many of you have failed and tried, and kept trying until they succeeded?

    Embrace your failures. Edison failed 3,000 times before he finally created a working lightbulb. But he never gave up, he resisted the urge to say, forget this, I’ll let someone else try.

    Don’t be afraid to fail. I’ve done it, we’ve all done it. Failure is the best thing that will ever happen to you. Failure will put your efforts into perspective, and force you to see where you can improve what you do on a daily basis. Let your failures inspire you to be better and to do better.
  • What’s the point of spending your time/energy/money on building a community if you don’t tell people about it? Have a newsletter? Tell your users about it and encourage them to sign up. Give them a reason to subscribe, and make subscription/unsubscription EASY.

    Include links in your newsletter to your company’s twitter account, Facebook, MySpace, et cetera. And cross-promote your various marketing vehicles! Give people various methods they can utilize with which they can interact with you.
  • Justin Kozuch - Lessons Learned In Community Building

    1. 1. LESSONS LEARNED IN COMMUNITY BUILDING Clever presentation subtitle
    2. 2. WHO IS THIS GUY? • Founder of Refresh Events (@RefreshEvents) • Tweeting nonsense on Twitter @jkozuch • Front-End Designer • Tech/Web/Video Game Junkie
    3. 3. SO, WHAT IS COMMUNITY?
    4. 4. MY DEFINITION OF COMMUNITY A group of people living in a common location (or geographically dispersed), interacting and sharing like interests, hobbies, talents and abilities.
    5. 5. HAVE A COMMON PURPOSE
    6. 6. MAKE THEM THE ROCK STARS
    7. 7. GIVE YOUR USERS A VOICE
    8. 8. PROVIDE THEM WITH TOOLS
    9. 9. KEEP IT SIMPLE
    10. 10. LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT BUILDING A COMMUNITY
    11. 11. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmtimages/2284681757/ LEARN HOW TO SPEAK WELL, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, LEARN HOW TO LISTEN WELL.
    12. 12. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mehargill/3091648722/ MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE, AND YOU’LL BUILD A LOYAL ARMY OF ADVOCATES.
    13. 13. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clappstar/178050837/ SHARE. IT’S GOOD FOR KARMA, AND IT GOES A LONG WAY.
    14. 14. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/steelopus/3200299178/ DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL; IT’S THE BEST THING THAT WILL EVER HAPPEN TO YOU.
    15. 15. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/briankrijgsman/2521171393/ PUBLICIZE YOUR COMMUNITY. AFTER ALL, THAT’S WHY YOU’RE BUILDING ONE!
    16. 16. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37943973@N06/3619392327/ IF YOUR USERS ENGAGE, ENGAGE BACK.
    17. 17. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoriah/2328653236/ THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS “CONFLICT OF INTEREST”.
    18. 18. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lieliel/2281135801/ COMMUNITY BUILDER? YOU’RE IN THE PUBLIC EYE.
    19. 19. AND THAT’S ALL I’VE GOT TO SAY. WANT TO GIVE ME A PIECE OF YOUR MIND? LET’S TALK!
    20. 20. STALK ME • Email: justin@refresh-events.ca • Twitter: @jkozuch or @RefreshEvents • Web: http://refresh-events.ca/ • Phone: 647.236.1925 • #DarkHorseFridays, 12pm-5pm

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