We explore the importance of community in creating a successful NFT project, plus how to increase engagement with rewards and incentives.
NFTs are unique tokens that can signify ownership of physical or digital assets. Since their creation in 2014, NFTs have been used as exclusive access passes, attendance rewards, and even as collateral to secure a loan.
In this post, we guide you through how to create a rewards program for an NFT project.
1. Set a clear vision and goals
The secret to starting a successful project is having a clear vision and goals. Identify realistic goals for your NFT project so you can focus and work towards them without straying from your plan. Find a suitable niche, research its problems, and tune into your target audience.
Questions to answer:
- Who are the project’s community members? (i.e. Your target buyer personas.)
- Does your audience enjoy animation artwork, virtual fashion, or game collectibles?
- Which social spaces does your audience hang out in?
- What does your audience care about?
- What sort of loyalty program would work best for your audience?
- Why would they want to be part of the rewards program? (i.e. WIIFM?)
- What goals are tied to the planned rewards program?
Research and survey your target audience's qualities as well as their communication preferences in detail. And be sure to ask your audience when introducing new products or services.
2. Choose your platforms
Platforms give your audience a medium to talk and share their thoughts. And some platforms will even integrate with your project’s rewards system.
Twitter and Discord are some of the more common platforms used for NFT projects. The most well-known NFT communities, like BAYC, Cryptopunk, and Azuki primarily interact with their followers and potential investors on these platforms. Knowing how these platforms differ can help you choose which one will best serve your project's goals.
With Discord, you can have a direct and exclusive line of communication with your community and pass information straight to the members.
Discord gives users instant access to vital project information. You can set up different channels like "Welcome," "Official Links," "Announcements", and "FAQ" on your Discord community for quick access to updates.
A Discord server will reduce the likelihood of someone organically coming across your community, as membership usually requires an invitation link.
Twitter can serve as a platform for NFT news updates or publications.
Having a Twitter handle for your NFT brand can entice visitors to engage with your content. Both community members and outsiders alike can communicate and share their views using the platform.
Content on Twitter can take the form of threads, news updates, and memes. Twitter makes it easy to attract the public's attention, including that of important influencers, as you may organize a variety of events in which the general public can participate. But remember, having the general public participate in your community can sometimes be a detriment as much as it is a boon.
Some honorable mentions
Discord and Twitter are not right for everyone. But no matter what platform you choose, you’ll need to actively update and engage with your community in order to foster growth. You can run events, host AMAs, and periodically offer giveaways. Using these tactics, more people will see the value in joining your community.
For example, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) – a famous collection of 10,000 distinct NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain – stands as one of the most successful and popular NFT communities out there. The project was able to expand its community to over 1,000,000 members. They did this by implementing an exclusive access strategy that grabbed the attention of influential figures.
Doodles is an NFT project where users can make personalized characters that are in a hand-drawn art style. The unique part of this project is their Discord server where community members can propose ideas and vote on decisions for the project. The creator’s road map of the project is publicly available and highly collaborative with the community.
Selecting a solid platform and then nurturing community growth can act as a stimulus for starting and maintaining a project successfully.
3. Create a marketing strategy
After setting your goals and doing some research, you’ll need an actionable strategy.
We all know by now that our goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Here are some things to think about during the planning process:
- Set marketing goals: You and your team will need to create realistic and quantifiable marketing goals that span the duration of the rewards program and are in line with your community's long-term vision and overarching goals.
- Define KPIs: Any marketing initiative should have measurable metrics to determine the success of campaigns. These metrics are called KPIs and can track a variety of different factors. For example, you may have a KPI for the return on investment (ROI) of a campaign, contact conversion rates, or the cost of acquiring new customers.
- Develop your timeline and budget: Create a plan and budget for your marketing campaign. What goals do you need to hit by what time? When do investors expect your project to be self-sufficient? How can you continue to engage your target audience? It should include all planned promotions, as well as a detailed analysis of their costs.
A well-thought-out marketing strategy will draw the attention of followers and investors who might be interested in investing in your NFT project. If you’re on social media, you can increase the audience for your tweets by using specific niches and significant hashtags.
For example, AMC piggy-backed off of Spider-Man: No Way Home’s social media traffic to launch its first NFT project.
This project rewards the first few thousand AMC Stubs members who purchase or reserve tickets to select movies with exclusive NFTs. They’ve continued their NFT collection with other popular movie releases in 2022. Their NFTs are mutually beneficial with the films they partner with while also growing and supporting their AMC Stubs platform.
On your website, you can publish guest posts for other NFT sites to increase visibility and engage with other active communities. This is a great way to spread the word about your project and establish credibility.
Success is never guaranteed, but an effective plan or strategy will keep you on the right track toward building and supporting an effective community.
4. Pick a medium of engagement
Once you establish your plan and platform, you should always be looking for new and innovative ways to engage your community.
NFT communities should be associated with constant discussion, idea development, and a strong sense of belonging. Community projects should leverage various channels and platforms so that anyone involved feels important and heard. NFT Projects can also supercharge acquisition through various incentive programs and campaigns. (Here are some ways to reward your community if you need ideas.)
If successful, you will create a strong and loyal community made up of brand advocates.
Ask me anything (AMA)
A popular interview style in creative industries is the "AMA”. For this to work, viewers and followers ask the host any questions they like.
AMAs give the community the opportunity to discuss specific topics with a panel of internal and external experts. They can take the form of articles, live streams, or be hosted on platforms like LinkedIn or an active Twitter space.
NFT Projects can leverage Link3, a Web3 social network to publish this AMA event to capture the attention of new users. Through this platform, a reward system could be implemented where participants are incentivized to interact with the AMA by receiving small community-specific rewards.
Online events are cool but offline events are a great way to strengthen relationships. NFT communities can organize in-person meetups in hub cities to have fun, share insights, and even attract new members. NFTs can assure that the only people that are invited to your event are verified members of your community.
Events can be promoted on social sites like Eventbrite for wider reach. Afterward, consider publishing an event recap to prevent users from making it to the community event involved.
These events may range from lucky draws, interacting with decentralized apps, testing new products, completing tasks to gain exclusive access to a group, participating in trading contests, and more.
Discord is one of the most popular community platforms out there, particularly for NFTs and younger audiences.
Discord is well suited for hosting blockchain gaming live streams for NFT projects that may use a Play2Earn model. Developers may want to showcase a way to play their game and earn tokens. You can also consider hosting quest and gaming tournaments on Discord while streaming them live for other users. The AXIA blog demonstrates a good example of engagements for Discord communities.
The ways to engage your community are endless. The important takeaway is that establishing the parameters of your project and implementing a platform isn't enough; you can’t expect your community to run itself! You and your team will need to stay engaged in order to keep your audience excited about your brand.
5. Get the right people on board
Hiring the right team that understands your brand and NFT community goals is key to a sustainable project.
Every employee, from the community managers to the developers and core team members, is part of the community that you’re fostering. Hiring the wrong individual, or working with the wrong agency or consultancy might cost you more than money — it can damage your brand’s image.
Hire a team
You can either hire a recruiting firm to source raw talent or have an in-house HR undertake the process. There are many recruitment firms out there to leverage including Crypto Recruit, Women in Web3, and Storm2. These firms will connect you with individuals that understand how the NFT field works internally and externally.
Use an agency or a consultant
Begin by determining what talents and expertise are required for your project. From there, you can create a detailed job posting and either analyze agency proposals or look for a specialist Web3 agency that suits your project's criteria. These agencies encapsulate business development, marketing, and IT requirements. (Don't hesitate to get in touch if you need help!)
Work with an ambassador
An NFT ambassador program is a search for valuable contributors from the broader crypto community to impact the success of any project. Ambassadors could be picked from the list of your most loyal and dedicated community members or supporters of your project. Ambassadors will likely be names already known throughout the community and will blend naturally with the community's vision, purpose, and aspirations. For reference purposes, here is a sample ambassador program from Moonbeam, a Polkadot Parachain.
More and more people are flocking to online communities for encouragement, guidance, and knowledge.
Any brand wanting to utilize the power of communities to create brand advocates should take the time to learn what makes an NFT project successful. While execution is important, a focus on community building and participation shouldn’t be ignored. If properly planned, your project will likely be on the proper path to success.