How to Build an Online Community in 6 Months

Samantha Schleese

by Samantha Schleese

Published: May 12, 2020

Written by: Vino Jeyapalan

In less than 6 months, Kabo Fresh Dog Food, built an active community of dog parents who love our brand - which also includes some notable Canadian celebrities.

Here are my top tips on how we built the community:

1. Listen to your community

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It sounds a bit obvious, but, get obsessed with talking to your potential customers. We spent a year in dog parks from Toronto to Los Angeles understanding firsthand how other pet parents thought about dog food. That extension of listening applied to our online community as reviews started to indicate initial feedback.

2. Be a thought leader

As a part of listening you’ll soon realize that your community is facing a set of problems your initial offerings may not all address. We learned quickly dog parents had questions ranging from “How to foster a dog”to "Can my dog get COVID-19?” and used content to address their needs beyond just providing them with pet food.

3. Speak their language

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Our team is all dog parents which helps us understand how to speak to our community in a language that they will understand through our messaging and creative. For us it means referring to the two legged beings in the house as hoomans and creating a pristine delivery experience.

4. Engage your community

Having a community requires a two-way dialogue. We built great relationships with our customers, which allows us to learn more about them and engage them with our brand. We worked with Shelby and her dog Maddy(a Kabo pupstomer) on informing our community. Your community likely wants to do more and engaging them allows you to build momentum.

5. Help your community

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It’s evident that that coronavirus pandemic is devastating and as a brand you need to think about the impact this has on your community. In the beginning of March our team quickly learned that veterinary clinics and hospitals were only taking urgent care leaving the pet community worried during the beginning of the quarantine. We came together to build Kabo Health to help pet parents find an accredited veterinary practice that was offering telemedicine for their needs.

6. Have your community speak for you

The best way for your brand to grow, is by having your community advocate for you. If your product or service is truly adding value, your audience will want to share it with their community. During our contactless-delivery days, we have customers sharing their weekly routine with friends and family. Sometimes you find out those customers are Angry Appa from Kim’s Convenience.

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Vino Jeyapalan is the CEO and Founder of Kabo Fresh Dog Food. ‍Kabo has delivered over 160,000+ human-grade, gently cooked fresh dog food Canada wide through contactless delivery. Vino started his career at Facebook in 2012 developing their ecommerce channel with brands, such as Procter & Gamble and Shopify. In 2016, he was awarded Top 30 Under 30 by Marketing Magazine for his work growing the direct-to-consumer channel at Facebook and Instagram.