The Business of Belonging


The Era of Community-Driven Business Has Arrived.

The rise of the internet has brought with it an inexorable, almost shockingly persistent drive toward community. From the first social networks to the connected world of today, the need for community has emerged as an unavoidable reality.

The business world is keeping up — sort of. The successful brands of tomorrow will be those that create authentic connection, giving customers a sense of real belonging, and unlocking unprecedented scale as a result. But how do we achieve this lofty communitarian goal?

Nowhere is the path made clearer than in this book. In his career of over 10 years in the business of building community, Spinks has learned what a winning community strategy looks like. From the fundamental concepts—including how community drives measurable business value, and what are the appropriate metrics—to high-level community design and practical engagement techniques, The Business of Belonging is an epic journey into the world of community building.

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What’s in the Book?

  • A Customer Community Is Born
  • The Rise of Community-Driven Business
  • Giving Customers a True Sense of Community
  • The Unrivaled Scalability of Community
  • Community Is an Extension of Your Team
  • The Power of Owning a Topic in People’s Minds
  • The One Thing They Can’t Copy
  • Good for Business, Good for Humanity
  • The Three Levels of Community Strategy
  • The SPACES Model: The Six Business Outcomes of Community
  • Metrics and the Attribution Challenge
  • Finding Your Community Focus
  • Growth Engines vs. Cost Centers
  • Choosing a Measurement Framework
  • The Community Investment Journey
  • The Social Identity Cycle
  • Who Is Your Community Built For?
  • Look for the People Who Feel Isolated
  • Who Doesn’t Belong?
  • Investing in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Day One
  • What Is Your Community’s Personality?
  • How Can You Make Your Members Feel “Cool”?
  • Should Your Community Have a Unique Identity from Your Company Brand?
  • Finding Sub-Identities within Your Community
  • Defining Identity by Levels of Contribution
  • The Commitment Curve
  • The Four Levels of Participation
  • How to Attract Members to Your Community
  • Creating Intentional Barriers to Entry
  • Designing a Compelling Onboarding Experience
  • How to Move Members Up the Commitment Curve
  • Activating Successful Community Leaders
  • Creating Habits with Rewards
  • Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivations
  • Avoid Replacing Social Norms with Market Norms
  • SNAP! A Framework for Effective Extrinsic Rewards
  • The Thing about Gamification
  • Come for the Utility, Stay for the Unity
  • Measuring Community Health and Engagement Using the Social Identity Cycle
  • The Two Kinds of Community Experiences
  • Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
  • The 7Ps of Community Experience Design
  • Curating the Right People for the Right Purpose
  • Aligning Size with Purpose
  • Choosing Community Software Platforms
  • Should You Host Your Community on a Free Social Network?
  • Designing Spaces That Make People Feel Seen
  • Starting with a BANG!
  • Creating Peak Moments
  • Facilitating Small-Group Discussions
  • Tell Your Members How to Participate
  • How to Get Members to Be Open and Vulnerable
  • Keep Your Rules Short and Simple to Start
  • My Three Go-To Community Rules
  • Engagement Is a Constant Experiment
  • Personal Invitations and “Doing Things That Don’t Scale”
  • No One Wants to Be First to Raise Their Hand
  • Ask for Permission
  • Don’t Fear the Crickets
  • Talk Funny
  • How to Spark Great Debates
  • Moderation Is Never Personal
  • Default to Transparency and Admit Your Mistakes
  • Use Your Authentic Voice
  • Keep Your Energy High and Positive