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How I Grow My Online Community from 0 to 1000 Members in One Day. And It’s Totally Fake!

In this blog, I will share with you how I grew my online community from 0 member to 1000 members in only one day using Tribe – a community platform launched on Appsumo.

And the best part is, it’s totally fake!

Let’s go!

Why I decide to build a community?

Hi friend, I have to ask you a question.

What is your biggest business goal?

Making money, right?

Advertising is super expensive right now (not like those shining days in early 2010s 😭 ) and SEO takes a lot of time.

That’s why building your own community is a great way to gather all your potential customers into one place, then nurture them and sell your offer.

Look at the famous digital marketers or businesses out there.
You can notice that they all have Facebook groups for customer support, gain trust and inbound marketing.

So what are you waiting for?

If you’re selling clothes, you can build a community for fashion lovers.

If you are an author of a psychology book, you can create a Facebook group for those who care about human nature, body language or even criminal minds.

Or if you are an affiliate marketer, you can create a group for Lifetime Deal addicts. Like me 😀
(You can join here because it’s free!)

OK, you convinced me. Let’s build a community. What should I do now?

Glad you asked. Read the next part 😎

Why I choose Tribe to build my community on top?

Tribe (aka tribe.so) is a cloud-based community platform that lets you create your online community in minutes.

Tribe also provides many powerful apps, analytics and integrations that help you fully customize your community, grow your customer base and make money from them.

There are some alternative solutions to Tribe like Hivebrite, Forumbee, Higher Logic (SaaS), BuddyPress, bbPress (WordPress Plugin), vBulletin, xenForo (Forum Software)…

But I still choose Tribe. You can read my comparison here.

In short, there are 2 reasons:

Tribe offers a complete toolkit to build customized online communities.

There are tons of things you can do with Tribe:

  • BASIC:
    • Create a cloud-based community, add topics and group
    • Customize the domain
    • Customize the look and feel using CSS
    • Configure social login via Facebook, Google, Linkedin
    • Set up notification, welcome email
  • ADVANCE:
    • Gamification: Leverage the reputation scoring to ensure that the users know about the value of their contribution and keep them involved
    • Incentivization: Use the virtual currency app to reward community members based on the intended actions set by you.
    • Analytics: See how you community perform
    • Integration: Connect to many apps like Google Analytics, Firebase, Segment, Zapier… for more analytics and automation features.

I have a comprehensive checklist and guideline here to teach you how to build your online community with Tribe from scratch. (Guarantee 100% you can’t find anywhere that has this kind of deep-down content like my guideline).

It’s f*cking cheap!

The normal price of Tribe is $85/month with unlimited members. Compared with Forumbee ($750 for 20K members), Tribe is very affordable.

Imagine building a online community by yourself, you have to spend a lot of money on hosting (usually $10-50/month), coding/developing ($1000-100K), and maintenance fee ($100-$1000/month) depending on how big your community is.

And luckily I bought Tribe lifetime plan from Appsumo for $59. Only $59! That’s a steal!

Oh My God! You missed it? 😮
Don’t ever relive this heartbreak! Subscribe to my chatbot to get the latest deals!
I will also remind you if Tribe returns on Appsumo.

Great! Now you can choose which platform to build your online community.

Let’s learn some basic knowledge about building community to do it the right way!

5 stages of a online community

According to Richard Millington – a master of community building, there are 4 stages of a community. But I want to add one more stage called Zero.

wdt_IDStageDefinitionTasks for community manager
1ZeroYou start here with nothing.1. Define your audience
2. Create your brand identity
3. Build an MVC (minimum viable
community) to test if your business idea will work or not.
2InceptionThe inception stage begins when you begin interacting with the target audience and ends with the community achieving a critical mass of growth and activity.1. Invite members to join the community
2. Initiate discussions members will be interested in
3. Prompt members to participate in discussions
4. Build relationships with members
3EstablishmentThe establishment stage of the online community lifecycle begins at the critical mass phase and ends when close to 90% of growth and activity is being generated by members, and when there is a limited sense of community amongst members.1. Write content about the community
2. Organize a regular event/activity
3. Recruit and train moderators
4. Collect and analyze data
5. Resolve disputes/conflicts
6. Promote the community using referral growth tactics
4MaturityThe maturity phase begins when 90%+ of activity/growth is being generated by members of the community and ends when activity/growth is self-sustaining and there is a very highly developed sense of community.1. Optimize the social density of the community platform
2. Steer the direction of the community in desirable areas
3. Ensure the community is influential within its sector
4. Manage the moderator team
5. Optimize the newcomers to regular conversion ratio
6. Optimize the community platform (from a technology perspective)
7. Establish the overall goals and vision of the community
5MitosisThe mitosis phase begins when the community is almost entirely self-sustaining and ends when it has broken into smaller, more focused, online communities. Not all communities progress to this phase. Many are fine in the maturity phase.1. Identify and create popular sub groups
2. Train and manage leaders of sub groups
3. Promote and support sub groups

What’s the hardest part about building a successful community?

It’s momentum in stage Inception.

You can easily create an online community with any platform (stage Zero).
Next step, you invite people to join your new community. And because it’s a brand new community, there are no active members or no interesting posts.

So they left. And never come back.

To keep people active and engaged, you need to create the momentum first before inviting any people to visit your community.
This video called “Dancing Guy” explains everything:

How do I grow my community from 0 to 1000 members? In only one day.

Members and contents are the blood of a community.

In the early stages (like Zero and Inception), you don’t have them. So fake it until you make it.

How can we do it with Tribe? (If you’re using another platform, you can still apply my method.)

Fake it until you make it

What is the bot user in Tribe?

Tribe has something called a “bot”.

A bot is an unreal profile designed to act like a real member and to interact with the other users. 

Community admins/moderators can use the face of bot accounts for posting a content, replying or commenting under others’ contents, answering to others’ questions, liking others’ contents and comments.

The purpose is to build an engaging environment and to encourage all the members to interact with each other.

How to manually add a bot user to my community?

You can read the full process here provided by Tribe.

But an engaging community needs at least hundreds or thousands of members.

I know you are lazy and will not create these accounts manually.
Luckily, Tribe provides a lot of APIs so that we can do it with ease.

Let’s get our hands dirty!

How to create 1000 members in minutes?

To create members in Tribe, we will use the API “Create a new User” /api/v1/users/ 

Step 1: Request Tribe for the API credentials

Just send an email to “[email protected]” with the title “Request API Credentials” and some descriptions about your site and purpose.

You will receive your clientID and clientSecret to use Tribe APIs.

tribe-email-for-credentials
Email from Tribe with clientID and clientSecret

Step 2: Get access token 

You should send a POST request to https://YOUR_COMMUNITY_URL/api/v1/oauth/token to retrieve your access token. If you don’t know how to do it, I suggest downloading Postman and follow my guideline below:

  1. Download and install Postman.
    https://www.postman.com/downloads/ 
  1. Create New Request
create-new-request-postman
Create a new request with Postman
create-new-request-postman-2
Enter the request info and click Save
  1. Select the method POST and enter your domain in the URL: https://YOUR_COMMUNITY_URL/api/v1/oauth/token
select-post-method-domain
Select Post method and enter your domain
  1. In tab Header, input “Content-Type” in column Key and “application/x-www-form-urlencoded” in column Value.
input-content-type
Select tab Header and input the content type
  1. In tab Body, create some keys “grant_type”, “client_id”, “client_secret”, “email” and input the corresponding value.
body-postman-tribe
Select tab Body and input these credentials
  1. Then click Send. You should see the response code is “200 OK”.
tribe-access-token
Your access token is here!

Thank God, the access_token is here!

Step 3: “Create a new user” API

Take a look at the API “Create a new User” /api/v1/users/.

tribe-required-parameters-for-new-users-api
Required parameters for “Create a new user” API

You have to post 4 required parameters “username”, “name”, “email”, “password”.

  1. Create New Request
  1. Select the method POST and enter your domain in the URL: https://YOUR_COMMUNITY_URL/api/v1/users/ 
  1. In tab Header, input “Authorization”, “Content-Type” in column Key and “Bearer your_access_token”, “application/x-www-form-urlencoded” in column Value.
body-postman-access-token
Input the Headers tab
  1. In tab Body, create some keys “username”, “name”, “email”, “password” and input the corresponding value.
    These are the required parameters, but I add 2 more keys: role = bot (to define this user is bot) and source = api (to define this user was created via API).
How I Grow My Online Community from 0 to 1000 Members in One Day. And It's Totally Fake!
Input the Body tab
  1. Then click Send. You should see the response code is “200 OK”.
tribe-new-user-api-result
200 means “Good”

That means you created a member successfully!

Now, do it 999 more times to create other members.

No no, I’m just kidding. I will teach you how to do it automatically.

Click the amazing “Code” in the top left.

postman-code-feature
The amazing “code” feature

You will see this below screen. Select your programming language to see the code.

postman-choose-your-programming-language
You can choose your favorite programming language in Postman

This code replicates the action you send the POST request to the “Create user” API.
You can edit the code to request 1000 times.

Sorry, you don’t know how to code? OK, let me do it for you.

Step 4: Prepare the list of 1000 members

You have to prepare a csv file that follows the format: “name,username,email”.

You can make a copy of my Google Sheet and follow the instructions below.

  1. Make a copy of my sheet here.
  2. In column B, input your bots’ name you want to create.
    You can generate 1000 names here
  3. The sheet will automatically fill in the username (column C) and email (column D).
  4. Copy all the data in Sheet1 and paste values only (Ctrl + Shift + V) on Sheet2.
  5. Download Sheet2 as a CSV file.
How I Grow My Online Community from 0 to 1000 Members in One Day. And It's Totally Fake!
Download the sheet as .csv
Advanced Tips
Use your creativity to make variations. That will make your members more real.

Example: in row 1-100 I create the username following the format “firstname_lastname”.
But from row 101-200 the format is “firstname_lastnameNumber”.

How I Grow My Online Community from 0 to 1000 Members in One Day. And It's Totally Fake!

Or from row 201-300 the name is not a full name any more. Just a random nickname generated from a previous username.

How I Grow My Online Community from 0 to 1000 Members in One Day. And It's Totally Fake!

Finally, we have a CSV like this:

List of users in CSV
List of users in CSV

Step 5: The amazing code to create your 1000 members for your online community

The idea is simple.

We read the csv file line by line. With each line, we got the name, username and email.
Then we will call the API to create a new member.

I did it for you. Download the code and follow these steps:

  1. Change the csv file name to “new-users.csv”.
  2. Copy the code in the same folder at the csv.
  3. Install Python
    https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+install+python
  4. Open CMD, and run the command: python create-member.py
How I Grow My Online Community from 0 to 1000 Members in One Day. And It's Totally Fake!
Run the code to create any users

Now just wait for some minutes (maybe hours depending on the network and your computer).

tribe-online-community-member-paging
9 pages with 100 members/page

What can you do next?

Tell me what’s the blood of your online community?

You right! I mentioned above – users and content.

Now you have to create some topics and posts using your bot accounts.
And to make your community look more engaged, these topics or posts should have a lot of engagement.

Some ideas for you:

  • Create topics and make the topics have a lot of followers.
    How I Grow My Online Community from 0 to 1000 Members in One Day. And It's Totally Fake!
  • Create posts and make the posts have a lot of likes.
    posts-with-many-likes

This is your homework 😁

If you have any trouble, comment below and I will help you.

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