The Business of Belonging

[ WILEY, MARCH 2021]

“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 and value of community have emerged as unavoidable realities. 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—to ¬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?

Chapter 1: Why Community Is the New Competitive Advantage
  • 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
Chapter 2: The Fundamentals of Community
  • 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
Chapter 3: Creating a Social Identity
  • 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
Chapter 4: Mapping the Community Participation
  • 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
Chapter 5: Validation, Rewards, and Incentives
  • 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
Chapter 6: Designing Community Spaces
and Experiences
  • 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
Chapter 7: Activating Community Engagement
  • 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

About the Author

David Spinks launched his first online community at 13 years old
for his favorite video game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. Today he’s become a
prominent leader in the community-driven business movement and
has trained and advised community teams at companies like Google,
Facebook, Udemy, Waze, and Airbnb. Spinks has long believed that
community is the future of business and has made it his life’s purpose
to help others learn how to build thriving, meaningful communities.
He is the Cofounder of CMX, where over 20,000 community professionals
gather to learn and support each other, and is the host of CMX
Summit, the largest conference in the community industry. In 2019,
CMX was acquired by Bevy, where Spinks now serves as the VP of
Community, helping companies launch and scale event-driven community

Speaking and Workshops

David Spinks regularly speaks at conferences and teaches workshops for enterprise and startup community and marketing teams. To invite David to speak at your event or company, please reach out here.

View the Business of Belonging Press Kit