Investing in good group documentation can pay off if and as the group grows.
This can be as simple as a shared cloud storage drive (e.g. Google Drive) and good meeting minutes.
Not all groups require financial backing, but this is definitely a consideration to discuss as you’re starting your group. Leaders should communicate openly, honestly, and in-good-faith about money.
Often individual group leaders pay for up-front costs and seek to recoup those costs - but this can be financially risky. It also might lead to leadership disagreements and power imbalances if communication is not good.
What do you need money for and where will it come from?
Will you sell tickets?
Will you need to front money?
Will you find sponsors?
Will there be membership costs?*
You may want to explore partnerships to help get members and/or sponsors financially.
* Note that groups in the Autodesk Group Network must have a free and public membership option (as of June 2020).
Getting Members & Launching the Group
Many new group leaders ask how to promote and get momentum when they start...
The personal brand of founder & leaders matters:
If you’d like to launch a group, it is a good idea to launch your blog at first
Building a following on social media (e.g. YouTube channel)
If you don't already have that online presence, maybe your colleague has one that you could springboard from.
If you already have a strong individual presence online, an online group is likely to have rapid growth in the beginning.
Get people engaged by the purpose
Promotion through the grapevine is a good idea, especially if you’re an extrovert.
Find a group with the similar topics, on the same platform, or on a different one (If you’re on Facebook – explore LinkedIn, Telegram, vk, etc), contact the admin and ask them to promote your group. It is not dangerous for them because if they are confident and professional, they won’t lose the audience.
Talk to subject matter experts and influencers from the industry who are relevant to the group.
Ask them about their perception, what they are interested in, would they join the group, who else would they talk with and how would they promote it?
Convey "I want you to be part of the journey"... the goal is not to have everyone join the group, just to gather allies, insights, and connections.
Can these conversations improve and evolve your initial ideas? They might end up shaping the group's mission & vision - in addition to recruiting people.
Create a Launch Plan
Who's the audience? Don't just blindly recruit. Make sure the people you're attracting are the right people for the group's goals.
What's the main message and call-to-action? Reinforce the purpose of the group.
Do a soft-launch first with a smaller audience - play around, pre-populate conversations, create artifacts, give feedback to each other, have fun.
Get the word out by...
Writing blog posts & articles
Presenting at other events and groups
Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc)
Being a guest on podcasts
Emails (crafted to be easily forwarded)
Have realistic expectations. If your high expectations aren't met at first launch, try to find value, keep your motivation, and kindle the flame.
(Book) Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us. By Seth Godin - Tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. The three steps to building a tribe are the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.