(2022) Complete guide to building & engaging your NFT community

Here’s a slap in the face: no one cares about your NFT. (Yet)

And here’s your tissue: focus on building a community first, art second.

Designing and minting your NFT is exciting. But to make it successful with high engagement and a positive ROI, a strong community will be the key to selling your work and growing your project.

So whether you’re an NFT buyer or aspiring seller, it’s high time you learn what it takes to grow one successfully. At Million Dollar Token Page, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about NFT communities and showcase leading examples on how to drive growth.

Why are communities so essential for an NFT’s success?

Think about what a startup needs to lift off: Investors, an action team, and a community to consume the offering.

For a blockchain startup (NFT creators), the community does all three. Except, interested parties not only support the project (e.g., on social media or with money), they often have a stake in the project themselves and build on the NFT (develop applications around it).

A crypto community essentially gives your NFT a purpose. The symbiotic relationship can then snowball into a successful ecosystem around your NFT, with the community being the lifeline.

Example of community in action: CryptoKitties

CryptoKitty started as an NFT art collectible of virtual cats. But since this token is extensible, the owners and community members were able to actively engage in developing add-on applications around the NFT concept.

And born was the KittyVerse: a digital world of gamified applications for CyptoKitty NFTs, where people can use their Kitties to duel, have their genes explained, breed with other Kitties, and be used as collateral for fungible ERC-20 tokens.

All these different abilities in the KittyVerse demonstrate how an engaged community can give life to an NFT through some creative thought and code.

What you need for an NFT project that stands out

The most successful NFT projects have some things in common – below are some best practices and pro tips you can implement for your own NFT project.

  1. A collaborative team with different skillsets (graphic design, programming, community outreach and marketing). Instead of spreading yourself too thin and compromising quality, find a group of like-minded and skilled NFT enthusiasts to tackle different areas of your project.
  2. Especially someone to truly engage the community. Developers & designers won’t have time to answer questions and fulfill public roles full-time. NFTs are a new space with a lot of naivety, and having someone who knows what they’re talking about can be magnetic for new members who need some reassurance and certainty.
  3. High-quality & original art – whether you hire someone or do it yourself, devote a lot of time and passion to your art. With creative design and unique storytelling, you’ll knock meme competitors out of the park (although memes can still be important for storytelling).

Junkyard Dogs (JYD), for example, were one of the first to coin NFT animations that received great social feedback for their novelty and appeal.

A compelling story. It’s easier to build an interested community and fanbase around your NFT when you give it lore. Speak on its origin, what it stands for, and your overarching vision. An NFT with a creative story is an NFT loved by the people. Here's a great Twitter thread on how Web3 changed the game for artists:

Simple on-chain production for a derivative ecosystem (open NFT playground): communities can only engage with your NFT if you mint it on-chain (where your data is open-source and accessible) to enable its extensibility (everyone’s ability to develop supplementary applications). A pro tip is to keep your NFT as simple as possible to allow others to build on it.

For example, here’s Loot, an NFT project comprised of 8,000 unique "bags" of RPG-style adventuring equipment. By giving the community a simpler NFT, people had more drawing-room for its applications.

For instance, you couldn’t break loot bags into separate adventure items, so LootMart was proactively developed by the community to do just that.

  1. Consider Tokenomics – the future of your NFT is the single most difficult thing to change later on (e.g. scarcity to abundance or deflationary to inflationary tokens). Flesh out the answers to critical questions beforehand.
  2. How many tokens will you launch right now?
  3. Will there be more tokens issued later on?
  4. Will there be a treasury?
  5. Will there be scarcity? Abundance?
  6. What should be the token-purchasing limits? Without a limit per transaction, you could trigger gas wars where some people aggressively buy a considerable percentage of the total NFT supply. This limits ownership diversity and can manipulate the NFT’s value – not a good look for your community. The more unique wallet holders you have, the larger and more diverse your community is.

Another example: Nouns DAO

They publish 1 noun a day for auction – and all proceeds go to the treasury governed by Nouns holders. The Noun team also gets 1 noun every 10 days. With this structured plan, they’ve created a token that’s scarce right now, abundant later on, with a treasure that is continuously funded to invest in the Noun’s ecosystem.

  1. A highly-engaged community (surprise, surprise). Like we said, a community will give your NFT a purpose by creating applications around it and supporting it on social media. Without one, you’ll be a sitting duck. In the next few sections, you’ll learn more about rallying a community.

Define your audience

As with any startup, your new NFT needs a product-market fit. That starts with defining your target audience – who will enjoy your art? Who will yearn for more?

Your first mistake would be to target everyone. The blockchain and dapp environments are still in very new and early growth stages. Managing crypto wallets, private keys, or dealing with gas are big barriers to entry for newbies. And most people think NFT art pieces are stupid because they don’t understand it.

So your first audience filter would be blockchain knowledgeability. Target blockchain-informed audiences who can appreciate the vision of decentralization, your community-building efforts, and take part in product development.

Then, you’ll want to find people interested in your art. Junkyard Dogs (JYD) found success in their Ethereum blockchain-based generative project with dog lovers with a passion for art and utility.

Set a vision to unify your community

For an NFT community – for any community really – there has to be a shared vision that unifies its members. There can’t be a community without an idea that people believe in.

So for your NFT, what are people coming together for? What’s the underlying passion? Chances are, if you have a hobby or interest that inspired you to create an NFT, there’s probably a community on the internet with like-minded people.

NBA Top Shot from Dapper Labs’ is a prime example. It’s centered around collecting top highlights in NBA history. This gives basketball fans an opportunity to come together and show off their owned pieces of on-court action.

To throw another inspiring example: Pakistani-born Maliha Abidi leads an NFT community called “Women Rise” whose core mission is to empower women (activists, artists, scientists, coders) and drive their engagement in crypto.

Choose your social media channels.

Picking the right social channels is crucial because that’s where you build your audience. Below is a master list of the most popular communication channels for NFT communities alike. But before you start your outreach efforts, identify which sites your people prefer – and stick to that.

  • Twitter. Twitter is like the silicon valley x wall street for NFTs. Every NFT-related thing buzzes there first. So dust off your Twitter account and start stalking #NFT feeds – follow people, leave kind comments, join space sessions, repost for bonus points, and share updates on your NFT project.
  • Discord is another fan-favorite that has evolved from a gaming-first platform to a more encompassing place for blockchain startups. With so many server customization features, NFT creators can nurture their communities in a truly personalized space. Most NFT communities have a dedicated server.
  • Rocket.Chat is a popular open-source alternative to Slack, especially for developers. It can act as a singular hub for community-building and team communications with so many useful features built-in like multi-channel support.
  • Reddit. Tap into a wider audience with greater room for free-flowing discussions, community support, and sharing NFT subreddits.
  • Telegram. The NFT space is big on security. So this end-to-end encrypted video calling, messaging, and file sharing platform is particularly popular in the blockchain ecosystem. You can securely communicate one-on-one or in a group chat in real-time and build meaningful community relationships.
  • LinkedIn is your place to connect with professionals and companies outside your digital space to create unique business development partnerships (like when Visa bought CryptoPunk). This can be your chance to build a good brand image and legitimize your NFT digital assets.
  • Clubhouse. NFTs seem to be all that Clubhouse users can talk about right now. Try getting an invitation to Clubhouse so you can listen (and talk) to the industry’s most knowledgeable insiders and bounce ideas with excited enthusiasts.
  • Bitcointalk is the perfect platform for releasing exciting news about your NFT and building the buzz through announcement posts and the like.

Focus on delivering consistent value

Now that you’ve decided on the social platforms to grow your audience, it’s time to focus on the value you’re putting out, while worrying less about ROI in the beginning. People won’t respond to a stranger shilling to them.

Here are some pointers on how to deliver consistent value and build a good name for yourself in the community:

  • Support and connect with other NFT artists and enthusiasts to cross-pollinate ideas and communities. From liking a post to asking interesting questions, find ways to get involved and drive conversation. People will start recognizing your name and be more willing to work with you.
  • Often you may connect with some great insiders from different talents. In JYD’s case, their versatile team of 8 (graphic designers, developers, PR) started as individual NFT collectors and crypto enthusiasts who banded together with a shared vision.
  • Pay attention to humor. Make people laugh – everyone loves funny stuff. The fact is that NFTs are the hot-topic meme of the internet right now, and a successful community knows how to embrace that. It’s much easier to engage an audience with compelling NFT-related stories and memes on social media.
  • Get creative with engagement methods. Find ways to incentivize users to follow you or join your server. For instance, through proof of attendance protocols (giveaways), creators can award badges or NFTs to early birds in your community. JYD did a giveaway where the first 500 Twitter & 500 Discord followers were eligible to apply for exclusive badges. People love free value.
  • Cool example with Loot: As discussed before, a simple NFT is better for a derivative ecosystem. Will Papper happily made a no-condition application called Adventure Gold ($AGLD), used to buy voting power and governance features for the Loot NFT project, and in future applications, will likely be seen as in-game currency.
  • Look for community-building opportunities outside the digital space. With mainstream brands and organizations looking at the space with eager eyes, successful NFT influencers seek partnerships to help legitimize their community and grow faster. Adidas, for example, acquired RTFKT Studios (a virtual shoe company).

How MDTP helps highlight your community

NFT creators worldwide can buy a piece of the web page and show off their amazing NFTs and link back to their content.

The bigger your block, the more visible your creation on the page. The great thing is that your NFTs, being on the Ethereum network, are immutable (on-chain forever, i.e, there to stay).

As the site continues to grow in popularity, you’ll have more eyes and traffic on your creation. You even have the option to resell your block of pixels for a profit.

With this system, MDTP allows NFT community members to share their work, grow their communities, and be a part of early crypto history.

Successful NFTs have engaged communities

By now, it should be clear that you absolutely need to build a revolving community around your NFT for it to be successful.

Fortunately, now you know what goes into a successful launch, where to start your outreach, and how to deliver consistent value to scale your community. You can always treat this guide like your handbook and bookmark it for later.