• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Threads By Instagram: The Power of ‘grandfathering’ in building strong communities

_ Sam Obafemi

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, where new platforms and services emerge at an astonishing pace, the key to success lies in building strong communities.

One strategy that has proven effective in achieving this is the concept of ‘grandfathering.’ Ever since I came across this term in Robbie Baxter’s book, ‘The Membership Economy,’ I have realized its immense potential in fostering a sense of loyalty and engagement among community members.

So, what exactly is ‘grandfathering’ in the business context? It refers to the practice of seamlessly transitioning existing beneficiaries, subscribers, or customers into a new policy or pricing regime without subjecting them to the new changes.

It allows individuals to maintain their current status while still benefiting from the advantages of the new system.

I have personally implemented this strategy numerous times, and it has yielded remarkable results.

For instance, when I had a group called Money Spinners Tribe (MST), I later founded Octopus Speakers Pool (OSP). While joining MST required an investment of 150K, becoming a member of OSP came with a price tag of 250K (450K for non-members). However, I provided MST members with the option of joining OSP for a mere 10K, ensuring that their rights were seamlessly transferred between the two groups.

The concept of ‘grandfathering’ also applies to price changes in business. When fees or prices are increased, allowing existing customers to retain the previous rates for a specified period, such as a year, helps maintain their loyalty during the transition.

This brings us to Threads by Instagram and its mastermind, Mark Zuckerberg. Every Instagram account owner now automatically has a Threads account waiting to be activated. Similar to how every Gmail account holder automatically owns a YouTube account, this strategy of ‘grandfathering’ enables the auto-population of a new platform and service. It’s a brilliant way to leverage an existing user base and ensure a seamless transition to a new offering.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from these examples:

Firstly, to build a successful platform or service, it must be wanted and attractive to the target audience. Investing in creating a solid, large, and robust database of buyers, prospects, subscribers, and enthusiasts is essential.

These individuals form the backbone of your community and play a crucial role in its growth.

Secondly, developing a dynamic community management system that fosters addiction and involvement is paramount.

Engaging with community members, addressing their needs and concerns, and providing a sense of belonging are vital in building a strong and loyal following.

Once these foundational elements are in place, the possibilities become limitless. With a robust database of engaged users, you can undertake various endeavors and projects, and your community will support you throughout.

Take, for instance, the journeys of individuals like DonJazzy, who built Mo’Hits, Mavin Records, and even ventured into Jazzy Burger and Drips Soaps. Similarly, Emeka Nobis, after establishing a strong following on Facebook, became a Brand Ambassador for a real estate firm, co-founded a real estate company, and most recently, a men’s clothing company.

These individuals harnessed the power of their existing audience to successfully pivot into different services and products, all while maintaining their clout and influence.

In conclusion, ‘grandfathering’ and community management are inseparable twins. Underestimating their potential is a grave mistake. If you aspire to build a sustainable brand community capable of propelling you to success across a wide range of products or services, I urge you to seek the assistance of Cerca Africa.

They possess the expertise to help you create a thriving community that can adapt and evolve alongside your business goals. Reach out to them at [email protected], and witness the transformative power of ‘grandfathering’ in action.

.Obafemi is the CEO, CERCA Africa.