Growth Guide: Networking
You’re ready to set forth and grow your newly made server. You have wonderful channels, fun bots, and a hearty staff team waiting to welcome in the new members. You’ve just posted your advertisement everywhere you can, and partnered with bigger servers full of active people. Now… where are all the new members?
First, let’s take a step back and understand something about growing any type of community:
→ It doesn’t happen over night.
→ It’s nearly impossible to do alone.
→ It takes a lot of work and responsibility.
→ It takes a lot of time.
→ Sometimes, it’s just the luck of the draw.
If you want to succeed in growing your community to the extent you’re looking for, keep these things in mind.
What is Networking? Why is it Important?
Networking doesn’t mean going out and finding partners/people willing to advertise for one another. Rather, networking means getting to know people who do the same thing you do, even in the same field of things. And more to it, getting to know the people of their communities and becoming a blossoming member in their channel/server
For example, as a twitch streamer, it helps promoting yourself a lot when you say you’re a streamer to people you’re already friends with. People are more likely to check out your content after getting to know who you are before you promote yourself.
Networking requires a lot of dedication from the server owner, as well as the staff team, in order for it to work. It is important to network with others, because it builds lasting relationships and bonds with people who do something similar to what you do. It’s an easy way to get to know complicated things, like what it’s like growing a community, what bots to use, how to keep activity going on your server, and more. After all, all you’d have to do is talk with other server owners, and ask questions about what it’s like running a server; such as the daily troubles that arise, unique ideas for their server, how they evolved to where they are now, etc. In addition, networking is a great way to grow your “networking circle” of friends and family. You can never know too many people, and each of us are out there to help one another.
“In the simplest terms, networking is just the sum total of your social interactions with others. In this context, ‘social’ is applied very broadly and loosely. People you talk to, people on Twitter, that one friend’s mom on Facebook, the partner you emailed last month, and that person you advertised to last week are all people you’ve “networked” with. Doing it effectively and usefully takes a lot more than those few errant shots in the dark, though. However, the simplest and most effective “networking” you can do is MAKING FRIENDS.“
Do’s and Dont’s of Networking
○ Make lasting impressions. You want to create a bond with someone about similar interests, and work towards being their friend. If you have no interest in being friends with the person you’re networking with, move on and find someone who interests you. This way you can be genuine and true to the person you’re networking with, as well as have fun with your networking.
○ Be social and personable. We all have times when we want to curl up and have no interactions with anyone. However, to keep up with your networking, you’ll need to work on being more extrovert than introvert. If you’re really shy, try starting with small daily chit-chat, such as “How was your day?” and slowly work up towards the deep conversations that build limitless bonds.
○ Reach out. If you want to network with someone, it’s unlikely that they’ll be the one reaching out to you at first. You’ll need to be the one to start conversations, come to them daily, and talk about anything. Until they start building a friendship with you, reach out to them as much as you can. Be sure not to annoy/pester them though; everyone has their own lives to live on- and off- line.
○ Make friends before partners. Although it is a bonus goal to become business partner with someone, it’s important to keep in mind that the main goal should be making friends. You shouldn’t mention that you’re a server owner at first, nor that you want to network with the person you’re talking to. Rather, simply and genuinely become friends with them, and the rest will fall into place. On a side note: remember that friends are just that; friends. They aren’t robots who do your bidding, nor are they gods who you need to worship. Treat those you meet like you would your friends.
○ Force something that isn’t working. Everyone is different, and thus has different types of servers. Even if some servers are very similar, they are still run by different people, and have differing communities. Sometimes, what works well with one person, may not work with others. Don’t force a friendship if it’s just not going to happen. Let bygones be bygones and move on.
○ Mooch or Leech. Begging to be promoted or advertised is a big no-no in the world of networking. The point of networking is to promote yourself and you brand through friendships and connections, not through mooching off of other’s popularity or community members. Don’t forget that everything you do reflects back to your server and the type of community you are building. On a side note: don’t pay people either. You can’t buy friendship, unless you’re playing with PokeCord or something.
○ Use people just to get bigger. Along with the previous point, using people is also largely frowned upon. If someone’s server has a vast amount of community members, don’t merely become their “friend” for their server size. At the end of the day, that isn’t a friendship, but just a business partner who is being used for their numbers.
○ Stick to only one person. It’s nice getting to know a server owner of a larger server, but what works out a lot more is getting to know the rest of the community as well. Be it the rest of the staff team, regulars of their community, or even attempting to welcome in new members to their server, make sure to put yourself out there as another community member and friend, not just someone who owns a different server. You never know who you might meet in someone else’s community!
Give and You Shall Receive
An important note to add is that you need to offer something to the table in order to get back the things you want. For example, if you want to make friends through your methods of networking, you’ll need to put the time and effort into this technique. You can’t expect someone else to go out of their way to connect with you, and even if they do, they won’t do it all of the time. Additionally, you need to give back to your newfound friends, whether it be by promoting their services/servers, explaining things you’re knowledgeable about (such as bots, discord use, the how-to’s, etc.), or even supporting them through tough times as their server may collapse or go under. No one wants to be used and tossed away when they’re no longer useful to someone.
Another important note is that at the end of the day, when your server has grown and has built up the way you want it to, don’t forget to be on the look out for small servers who might be trying to do the same networking approach that you did when your server was smaller! Help them out the same way others helped you, and the cycle will continue in a circle, in a hoop that never ends.
It takes time, that’s for sure. But, it makes for a great way to get more people to check out what you’re advertising. Even more than that, it’s a fantastic way to get to know more and more people, make friends, and simply enjoy the things you do. At the end of the day, people want something where they feel welcomed and have fun, and you should too! Go on out and start searching for servers to network with! What are you waiting for? Do you need a link to a discord server that has a plethora of servers to choose from?