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Individual people can mint NFTs on their own, but it takes a digital village for blockchain-based projects to reach their true potential.
That’s where NFT communities come in.
NFT communities can spring up around any theme or project, but they all serve the same purpose — to provide a virtual town square where like-minded players can gather.
Joining isn’t always easy. The most exclusive NFT communities count A-list celebrities, ultra-wealthy fans and crypto legends among their ranks.
The good news is that you can build your own — and who knows what it might grow into?
Investors and collectors pay big bucks for membership to the hottest communities so they can stay in the know and on the cutting edge — and, of course, for status and bragging rights. Fortune 500 companies collaborate with communities to launch their own NFTs or to establish a presence in the fledgling metaverse. Activists and special interest groups form NFT communities to support their pet causes.
What Is an NFT Community?
NFT communities are online groups with limited membership. You become a member by buying, minting or otherwise acquiring an NFT from the group’s collection — but those NFTs are more than just avatars or profile pictures.
According to CNET, the data within each member’s NFT serves as a digital key that can grant access to play-to-earn games, behind-the-scenes sub-communities, invitations to stake NFTs in exchange for cryptocurrency and exclusive investment opportunities.
The founder and CEO of the NFT marketplace and brand community Fayre told Medium that in their simplest form, NFT communities are gatherings of NFT brands, people who bought into the brands and the brands’ most avid fans.
An NFT brand can be anything from an individual NFT creator to a well-coordinated online promotional campaign from a celebrity like Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, Lindsay Lohan, Grimes or Eminem, all of whom are NFT players.
NFT brands might also include:
- Athletic organizations
- Event organizers
- Web3 developers
- Real estate companies
- A person, people or organization with an identifiable style of NFTs
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What Makes a Great NFT Community?
The following are some of the best-known and most exclusive NFT communities:
- Cool Cats
- Bored Ape Yacht Club
According to Medium, the most successful NFT communities all share a few common traits, not the least of which is exclusivity. Not just anyone can join the top communities and opportunities for membership are rare and limited.
According to CNET, buying an NFT to secure membership in groups like Bored Ape Yacht Club can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — and the privilege is often invitation-only. The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon, for example, owns a Bored Ape NFT and is therefore a member of the community. There are only 10,000 in existence.
Another unifier is powerful and consistent branding — and good communities find ways to keep fans engaged and interested. That might include access to rare NFTs, exciting new NFT drops or special pricing. Another important ingredient is a clearly defined culture and purpose — the Women Rise community, for example, exists to support women coders, activists, scientists and artists on the blockchain.
Many of the top communities include trending influencers, early NFT adopters or successful players with unique insight, influential contacts, inside information or a reputation for identifying NFT opportunities.
Why Do I Need To Be Part of a Community?
Rolling Stone argues that NFT communities have become so critical to NFT success that the community is often as important as the NFT itself.
Communities give creators a platform to showcase their work and let members exchange ideas, unify behind strategies, pitch to investors and buyers and collaborate on projects. They also give members a way to support other members, share their creations with their own networks and help to get their work in front of the right people.
According to NFT Explained, prospective buyers considering the purchase of an NFT project usually dive into the creator’s community as part of the vetting process. Your NFT project might be awesome, but buyers will likely be turned off if your community’s tone is generally negative or unsupportive.
When big brands decide to enter the NFT space, they often lean on communities to shepherd them through the process. Adidas, for example, purchased space in the Sandbox metaverse and collaborated with the PUNKS Comic, gmoney and Bored Ape Yacht Club communities to create its first NFT called “Adidas: Into The Metaverse.”
Like NFTs themselves, the communities that form around them exist online, although some communities — like Bored Ape Yacht Club and its 10,000 members — have started hosting real-life events and meetups.
General platforms like Reddit and Telegram have given rise to many NFT communities, but emerging purpose-dedicated platforms like Fayre are launching new clubs, as well. They can pop up anywhere, including the metaverse, but according to Entrepreneur, NFT communities often exist on two platforms — Twitter and Discord.
According to Entrepreneur and Medium, the best practices for creating successful NFT communities share common threads with those of social media brand-building. There’s no one right path, but the basic skeleton includes:
- Determine your vision, goals and target audience: Are you building a community that uses NFTs to support artists, promote autism awareness or pay homage to your local soccer team? Are you looking for collaborators on a money-making project or will this be a space where collectors can trade? If you were launching a business, now would be the time to craft a mission statement. Why are you doing this? Who do you want to join you? What do you hope to accomplish?
- Pick a platform: Will you launch on a familiar platform like Twitter or Discord or will you take a chance on an upstart like Fayre?
- Create a theme: Work out the look, feel, tone and imagery that will come to represent your community. For example, no one with even a passing familiarity of NFTs could mistake a Bored Ape for anything else.
- Build your brand: Announce your intentions, drum up interest on your social media channels and introduce your fledgling community to potential members in your existing networks.
- Organize events: Generate interest by organizing events like AMAs or gaming competitions.
- Build loyalty and legitimacy: Establish trust by following through on your projects and promises, build a respected team of collaborators and do the hard work of delivering on your community’s founding mission.
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