Questions, Answered: Soul Dogs
Every community is created with a different purpose, but many of the decisions we make along the way are similar. Our shared experiences are our collective strength and learning from each other is the way. The Questions, Answered series will focus on a different community each week - offering insight and perspective from community leads in projects from every corner of this space.
Today we’re starting our Questions, Answered series, asking Community Managers from projects across the cryptoverse to share their insight and experience growing successful communities. This week we’re talking with David, Soul Dogs Social Media Manager, who runs community events (including poker nights!). David first joined Soul Dogs in October 2021, three months before the project minted Jan 12 2022 - that's ages ago in dogs years.
Fun Country: Thanks for joining us, David. Right out of the gate: what is one mistake you can help other community managers avoid just by reading this?
David: One mistake that we made early on was inadvertently rewarding people for carrying out tasks that could be gamed. For example, we set up a program where you could get one of our mint passes for engaging with the community and helping the project to grow. We thought this would reward highly engaged members of the community, but as our project grew, so did the value of our mint pass.
This made it an easy target for airdrop hunters and our Discord ended up being overrun at one point. These were accounts that were never going to mint the project and hold. We had to halt new members joining and purge as many of the suspect accounts as we could, before re-working the reward system.
FC: Now that you lived through it, what can new projects do to avoid this problem?
D: Don’t reward people for mindlessly spamming messages or for inviting fake accounts to your Discord, instead figure out a way to reward your most valuable community members. If there’s a way to game the system, people will. Especially if there’s monetary value involved.
FC: It’s been 8 months since mint, how have you managed to sustain the pre-mint hype while weeding out the accounts just looking for a quick flip?
D: Collaboration is key. As our top dog Sly always says, a rising tide raises all ships. Building relationships with other communities allows you to learn and opens doors.
Like most NFT projects, we’ve suffered during the bear market, but we have some top class moderators, as well as a passionate and talented core community. One of the most successful (and best) aspects of Soul Dogs City is our Social Clubs. This allows members to create an official community club around a particular trait and they can then work together to achieve a particular goal. The SDC Soul Sisters are a great example. They are on a mission to empower women in web3 and host weekly events and Spaces.
FC: Do you think this is why so many projects now have an alpha channel?
D: Alpha channels and WL opportunities are so commonplace in NFT communities now that they have become a necessity. It’s a way for projects to give immediate value to their holders. Projects can appoint Alpha and WL Hunters to research, find upcoming and undervalued projects to invest in and good quality alpha pays for itself tenfold. If you’re able to provide consistent value to your holders, outside of your roadmap, you’ll be able to spend less time worrying about paperhands and focus on delivering that roadmap.
Alpha discussion channels also provide your community the chance to rally together, help each other out, and share their knowledge among themselves.
FC: How important to Dogs has transparency been? Being doxed or regularly communicating to your community?
D: I think organic growth is one of the important parts of sustaining a community. Identifying with a community most often comes from a deep, organic, connection. Hype and degen plays have their place but hype mints can burn out really quickly. The key to maintaining great community engagement is transparency. This was central to our early approach. We held weekly Town Hall meetings, where the community would ask and we would answer their burning questions.
And don’t forget about fun. You have to have fun as a community - that gets back to games like poker and trivia. We had massive success early with those two games because they can both handle a large number of people, you don’t need any special ability and they’re big social games. Over poker and trivia you talk a lot, you get to know people on a deeper level, and you have a laugh. A community that has fun together, thrives together.
FC: We’ve talked about good community engagement, feedback and transparency. Since the January mint is there one aspect of community engagement that fell short, where you received feedback or observed a sign of bad community engagement?
Something we certainly learned was it’s better to build with the community and listen to their feedback, rather than just build for the community. As Frank would say, we tried some shit and learned some shit. One example of this would be when we introduced our gamified staking model. In Soul Dogs City, you send your dogs to work, but not all jobs are equal. A rockstar earns more than an intern for example, although maybe not the Magic Eden intern.
At first, we set it up so all dogs were equal and were able to secure a high paying job, just as long as they were first enough to grab the spot. However, a core group of the community felt this was unfair and preferred rarity based staking models. After listening to them, and doing some soul searching, the Top Dogs agreed and we introduced rarity based staking. However, we still throw in the odd special job here and there for those with fast paws. That has been our ethos ever since and we are now moving towards a DAO governance model. The future of SDC will be a shared, democratic vision guided by both the team and most active among our community.
FC: Thanks for all your time and insight today, David! Currently Soul Dogs have 29,420 members in their Discord and 43,300 followers on Twitter all of which is built and maintained on a clear community directive. Through hard lessons learned, the Dogs have built a community which is collectively focused and supports Social Clubs that want to reinforce specific groups without sacrificing what connects them to the larger community. This multi-faceted approach to community management isn't for every project but when used correctly can create a level of unity and shared purpose that is unmatched.