Getting better at community building, one tiny habit at a time

You want to get good at building community, but don't know how?

Here's an idea, build in community building habits into your everyday life, one tiny habit at a time.

A “Tiny Habit” is a behavior: you do at least once a day. that takes you less than 30 seconds. that requires little effort. — BJ Fogg

The idea behind tiny habits is that they build up over time and are triggered by existing behaviours.

Here's an example from BJ Fogg's very popular video on the topic.

The best thing is community building is hugely down to the art of conversing, connecting, and building relationships. This means that you don't actually need to have a community to practice this on. You can practice any time, anywhere.

Of course, practice on your community if you have one, but don’t let not having a community right now stop you from progressing.

But what kind of things can you do?

Here are some ideas to get you going.

After I have breakfast,

I will text a friend.

I mean, who doesn’t like being remembered and checked in on?

After I open Twitter,

I will find 1 person to follow

Replace Twitter with your network of choice, but make a habit of finding people to follow can be hugely beneficial.

After I open Twitter,

I will find 1 person to unfollow

The reverse can apply, sometimes it’s about keeping things tidy.

After I find an interesting blog,

I will add the RSS feed to my RSS reader

I do this one fairly religiously.

After I check my Twitter notifications,

I will say something of value or make a compliment on someone’s Tweet.

Getting into the habit of conversing with people is super important.

After I have our weekly meeting

I will go on and set fire to a Reddit discussion

I say this one in jest, but imagine setting up an anonymous account with the sole intention to practice starting and commenting on discussions. You could learn a lot from the responses, moderation, or lack of them. 😇

After I pay for my local shopping

I will start a conversation with the checkout assistant

I’m terrible at this one, but I’m experimenting with it at the moment. Talking to strangers is not my strong point.

After I see a community tweet/article I like

I will bookmark it

This one helps me curate my weekly newsletter.

After I have an interesting idea

I will log it into my Roam Research notes

My ideas never last in my brain, I have to jot them down somewhere.

After I listen to a podcast

I will turn one key idea into a note for a discussion (on Twitter or the forum)

I’m at the point where I just have to take notes during podcasts. If I’m not in a good position to take notes I try to go back to the transcript a bit later on to remind me of key ideas. Sometimes the notes get lost, but quite often I’ll review them in bulk to help me come up with content ideas.

After someone has a top discussion of the week

I will reach out to them to say something privately or in the comments.

Recognizing and appreciating people is an important part of the game.

After I publish an article on Rosieland

I will do a little dance.

I definitely celebrate this one every week, phew!

It’s not just Tiny Habits

I like the idea behind tiny habits, but I don’t think it is the only way. I’d really recommend James Clear for his habit building stuff too.

I find these things very much related to us as individuals. We should do what works for us at any given point in time and build upon it. Focus on our successes rather than what we don’t achieve.

One that I do a lot for Indie Hackers is at the beginning and end of each day I will attend the spam queue which is horribly long. I can’t bear going through it for too much in one go, instead I review 10-15 accounts. And then just like BJ Foggs I give myself a nice little pat on the back. Anyone deserves a pat on the back for going through that kind of stuff. 🤣

This is probably not quite a tiny habit, but still a positive habit within itself that I don’t put too much thought into. There can often be a lot of admin type stuff needing doing in communities, breaking it up into smaller and manageable chunks of work can make it more bearable. It does for me, at least.

Habits are key to growth

It’s ok for community members to be lurkers, it’s not ok for community builders to lurk on their communities. Community builders need an action mindset.

It’s important to build in habits to that will lead to growth within your community. These little things do add up over time. You won’t notice it at first, but the more you intentionally dive in, the more you will realise how much you progress over time.

The only way you get better is by practicing, where you practice is not always the most important thing, just that you do.

Resources worth checking out:

📺 Forget big change, start with a tiny habit

🔗 and the book.

🔗 James Clear and his book.

☑️ On my Rosieland todo list: create a checklist of good community building habits. Add some ideas in the comments! 😇

How can we build better communities?

We are on a quest to learn and explore what makes great communities.


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