Building anything from the ground up and chiseling it to perfection is a beautiful process.  When you have the gumption and nurture every step of building something that is close to your heart - the end result is inevitably worth every minute of your dedication.

Anything from building a business to building a house is considered an emotional rollercoaster, with plenty of highs, lows, and even a few loop-de-loops. Similarly, building a community and growing your community from 0-100 members, and having sustainable growth both via community metrics and business metrics has their own highs and lows as well.

The demanding job of a community builder is hard. The simple truth of Community builders, while difficult to execute, will go a long way in getting your members off the ground and flying high. On the contrary, as a Community Manager, facing the challenges and thrills of managing a community from the ground up is one of the most rewarding things to do.

A job as a Community builder or manager is to remain as positive and focused as possible. Make a plan and establish your vision of success. Set the tone for your entire community and also establish a solid recurring relationship with your community members. Let us take a look at how to strategically build recurring relationships in your community.

What should you focus on when starting a community?

Is it about getting the engagement rate high? Or is it about focusing more on community metrics? What should you be focusing more on?

Focus on how to build recurring relationships with your community members, because that will take you a long way and will help you achieve your community metrics and business metrics.

So now you know what needs utmost attention, now how do you build the relationship with your members? Imagine how it would be if you just show up at someone's door and request that they join your community? Weird right? They'll look at you with crazy eyes and ignore you. Why would anyone join anything without any prior knowledge or trust in you? Building relationships with your community members requires trust as the base to take you on a long journey

Building relationships with community members is similar to getting into a relationship with a real person. You must follow a bunch of basic rules to establish a recurring relationship with your community members.

Let us see how recurring relationships can be strategically planned and carried out in your community in the following 5 step process.

Making the best first impression in a community

In an online community, the first impression is all about setting the tone, the stage, and making sure your long-term goals align with your community members. Making the best first impression in a community will be your stepping stone to making the big leap towards establishing a relationship with your members.

What should you do when you invite your members and they join your community?

  • Be crystal clear to your members about what they can expect from your community.
  • Mention them the special online and offline events that were a big hit that happened before they joined your community.
  • Mention any upcoming events that you are looking forward to for them to be a part of, your community rituals, meetups, weekly activities, and everything that happens in your community.

Basically, your goal is to sway them off their feet and make them feel special to be a part of your community. Once you achieve that, you have successfully laid the foundation to take your members on a long journey.

Make your members feel special

Allowing your community champions, experts, and moderators to take the center stage to welcome new members – this way, you alleviate the awkwardness of your new members and at the same time you are making them feel special as well.

Members are more likely to stay when you exert trustworthiness in your community and also make your members feel safe.

Observe. Listen. Interact.

In order to make a recurring relationship, long-term worth, observing and listening to your members is vital.

As a Community Manager, you must know your members – make sure you observe your members keenly and know at least the basic details of them. This will help you build a profile of your members and to interact with each one of them.

But before you jump into a conversation, observe your members. When you make an effort to truly know your members’ likes, dislikes, interests, and hobbies… You will be able to interact with them on common ground. Or better yet, you will be able to match them with other members of your community.

BONUS: You are easily breaking the ice by engaging them in a discussion they would love to jump in without thinking much.

Establishing connections in the community

When we asked the question on “How to connect with your community members?” Mike Davis – Community Leader at Workiva said, “Connecting with your community members on an emotional level is a crucial challenge. Because the experience of connecting with members and making real connections is what makes community work best”.

Mike Davis also says, “Meeting and connecting with members in an event and building a sort of relationship is much easier in person than connecting with them digitally”. In a digital relationship, you don’t get a glimpse of your member’s personality and interact much because of the constraints factor.  

Connecting digitally needs more effort – you need to keenly observe your member's activity to determine their persona. Especially introverts need a little nudge to make them participate in a discussion or event. It all comes down to you and your members encouraging each other and providing them a safe space where they can share anything without being afraid or thinking twice.

Once you succeed in establishing that safe space, you can proudly say that you have connected with your members deeply on an emotional level.

Identify and resolve the red flags possible in your community

When asked Community leaders and Managers about some of the red flags that happen in a community, we have got the following responses.

“People come to a community to find value and when your community fails to create value consistently and when the members live according to ‘take only’ policy then it is a signal to indicates that your community is not leading in the right direction” – says Meet Shah

“Active members drive the community and when there is a drop in the activity of active members of the community it is clear that there is something wrong in the community” - Mike Davis

“Presence of ‘vendor behavior’ in your members makes the community a very negative environment for all”, says Ritvik - Community Operations and Engagement Manager.

“There should be a feedback loop in the community that should be addressed properly and closed when the issue is resolved” – Michelle Dalton – Customer Success Manager at DigitalMarketer’s private Certified Partner Community.

These are some of the red flags that are observed in different online communities. The counter-intuitive measures that can be taken to alleviate this are to identify and differentiate your members who contribute to your community in the best ways and in adverse ways. After identifying you either remind your members of the community guidelines or remove the members who are negatively impacting other community members.

The Do’s and Don'ts to maintain recurring relationships in a community


  • To maintain a healthy relationship in your community – try to lean on the side of positivity, humor, and honesty.
  • Analyze your members’ sentiments and if they seem frustrated – address and try to resolve their issues if possible.
  • Let your members know that they are seen and heard. Try to avoid the same mistake again. By taking simple actions, you can make a big difference with your member experience.
  • Small talks really help. What's funny about this is that although it is an infinitesimal work to do, it increases trust and encourages members to open up.
  • Gain more traction and increase recurring relationships by giving proof of the value you provide members through events, activities, and other fun community rituals.


  • The biggest challenges in building lasting recurring relationships come from the fact that it will last if you see your community as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.
  • Don’t ignore your members' annoyed and frustrated posts. Address their issue because it won’t get resolved magically.
  • Don’t fail to act on the feedback you receive.
  • Don’t have hedonistic thinking of I am an expert and I know what my members want more than themselves.
  • Don’t ignore the red flags when super active members in your community go AWOL. The concept of community is that people are interdependent on each other and if one mishap happens it might lead to a series of unfortunate events!

To have a Recurring relationship framework in your community – you need to have a Multi-layered level connection with your community members.

Layer level

Type of connection

Methodological approach

Results – How does your member feel?

1) The impressive first date

  1. One-one connection

  1. Many - one connection

  1. Many-many connection

A Community Manager can connect with their members one on one – jotting down the community guidelines and activities(Audio, video, or a welcome message).

Community Managers, Community members, and moderators send listing down the community activities and welcome a member in creative ways.

A Community manager and community members can create a post by tagging a bunch of members welcoming them or asking a quirky question. 

Classic first impression

Special first impression

Fantastic first impression

2) Establishing trust 

  1. One-one connection

  1. Many - one  connection

  1. Many-many connection 

A Community manager tries to give the center stage to the Community Champions and experts by enabling or prompting them to  connect with a few members of the community.  

A Community member, Community champion, or expert can write a short story or fun descriptive post about themselves and tag other members to share about themselves. 

A Community manager can create a fun event or community activity that gathers and calls for community members to flock together and have a fun get to know each other session.

A short conversation or small talk establishes trust amongst members.

This alleviates the awkwardness and instills trust among other members to slowly open up. 

Members start finding other members authentic and trustworthy.

NOTE: Not to be done without identifying the introverts and extroverts in a community. 

3) Observe. Listen. Interact.

  1. One-one connection

  1. Many - one connection

  1. Many-many connection

A Community manager makes sure a member knows that they are heard and are valued. By validating and appreciating their contribution to the community. 

Have a close look at your members and put them in the spotlight with the help of moderators or super users in your community. 

It is not always the job of a Community manager who must take all the pressure. A moderator, active user, or strategist can encourage members to open up by providing a safe space they can be trusted by. 

Giving shout-outs and rewards to members are the best way to let them know they are being seen, heard, and valued.

Members feel very special to be acknowledged in the community. 

By establishing trust, members feel encouraged to come out of their comfort shell. 

4) Establishing a connection in the community 

  1. One-one connection

  1. One-Many connection

    III.    Many-many          connection

Community managers must organize Virtual quick video/audio sessions to chat and catch up with their community members often. This will enable us to connect with each one of them and establish a bond with them. 

It is mandatory for a Community manager to know their members more than anyone.  This is the time they put their matchmaking skills to work to match & connect the right ones together.

Hosting small IRL or Virtual events to give the members the opportunity to spend time together will inevitably create strong bonds between members. 

An emotional bond is created with members. 

Bringing people close to the right people brings them close to the community.

People feel connected to the community and the people in it.  

5) Identify and resolve the red flags possible in your community

  1. One-one connection

  1. One-Many connection

  1. Many-many connection

In times of an issue the Community member must talk with the concerned person. 

A community manager can bring to notice an issue that prevails through a post and ask members to remain patient until the issue is resolved.

Members come with queries that may not be resolved by a Community manager, but there is a possibility that other members can give a feasible solution to their problems. 

The main goal of a CM is to get the Issue resolved or make sure the feedback doesn’t go unnoticed. This will save the relationship with members. Establishing a gateway to recurring relationships.

By informing your members, you are keeping your members updated. This in turn creates an image of loyalty and responsibility and your members will stick with you in the long haul.

People come together to solve a problem. People share their solutions which may or may not be helpful. Ultimately, people create a strong connection when they accomplish something together. 


Highlights from the one-one conversations

We have also attached a few screenshots of some of the candid one-one conversations we have had with Community managers and leaders to have a look at what they shared on how to build healthy relationships in your community.


The above article proposed a methodological silhouette on how to establish a solid recurring relationship with your community members. Hence these are the processes, factors, do’s, and don’ts of building recurring community relationships.

Oh by the way, if you have any questions related to community-building, or you are a community enthusiast waiting to ask your questions, then do join our Community cold coffee community and ask your questions on our AMA session. We would totally love to have you as a part of our community and will be hyped to catch you there!

Last but not least, we would love to have you as a part of our Community & cold coffee – we are a bunch of zealots who love to have some fun and tectonic conversations.

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