Upstra’s Vision of Social Engagement

Upstra's vision is engraved into our belief that social engagement is a game-changer for any organization, which can only work if a community-building strategy is established. Here is a glimpse of our vision and how we turn it into reality to help you achieve more.

October 20, 2020
David Zhang

Our vision of Upstra was inspired by the companies' need to have a key differentiator for their products: technology that will give them a competitive advantage and boost their business outcomes. We believe the essential element is an engaged community. Our mission is to help businesses thrive and achieve more through the power of social. With Upstra, companies can transform into community builders and skyrocket their app's performances.

The key element: community building

Any product that already has a passionate user base can potentially support a vibrant community. A community around your product can boost your users' engagement, dramatically improve their retention, and provide a unique channel for your business to speak.

Communities can be established in two ways:

1) Some communities are deeply integrated into the product. These communities are becoming one of the key selling points for the product itself.

Example: YouTube and its lively creator community.

2) Other communities work as an add-on to the business. Such communities provide their members with a space to express their love for the product or its mission, ask questions, and share their experiences.

Example: AWS with its discussion forums

In each case, since it’s established, the community helps the business to stand out!

Great communities create a network effect

The goal of any community is to create a self-sustaining network effect. The simplified definition of network effects is that they occur when a company's product or service becomes more valuable as usage increases. Communities that get it right start growing organically — attracting new members through its added-value fuels the community to provide even more value — bringing in even more members as a result.

This is the virtuous cycle that every product looks for, but only a few achieve.

An active community requires efforts and a well-thought strategy. It needs to be deliberately designed and carefully nurtured. Just like building a fire, you need to have the perfect type of ingredients at hand and the exact process to follow so you can create that first spark, then fuel the flame, and keep it going in the long run.

By studying some of the most passionate and oldest communities globally (sports, companies, religion), we can attempt to categorize the exact values that a community must provide to its members to thrive. Not all of them have these tenets, but the most vibrant ones are always ones that can execute on all of them very well.

The four tenets of the most thriving communities

1. Answers

People want something that can make their world more predictable, as, by nature, humans are afraid of the unknown.

For example, with religions, people are brought with answers to their doubts and questions, making the world a bit more bearable to the community of followers.

The key here is that the community should increase the knowledge of its members. It should help develop answers and bring insights into something of their interests.

It can be reflected in a discussion forum or in a group that the user chooses to follow in an organizational context. Looking for answers, the user can turn toward a community of like-minded peers. For instance, through our Group feature, users can reach out to other members, find inspiration and answers by browsing topics, ask questions, and share their opinions and thoughts.

2. Meaning

People want something that gives them a reason to exist, which they can wake up to every day. A great community gives people something bigger than themselves that they can believe in. It is a source of inspiration and a dream for the members.

A community product should appeal to people's fundamental need to find ideas and concepts that get them through the monotony of day to day life. This is where our Feed feature complies with this need by delivering the users a space to find those ideas and inspiration, feed their curiosity, and expand their knowledge based on their initial interest, making them feel like they're a part of something.

3. Identity

People fundamentally want to be part of a herd. Humans are tribal and have been since the dawn of time. That is why religions are the most powerful uniters of people, as they provide a shared tribe to belong to.

A community product should help people define who they want to be - having this identity gives people a sense of belonging. People should find and connect with other people in the same tribe and a safe space. The best community products are ones that proactively help people discover and connect with their like-minded peers.

Users should be able to be a part of a community that suits and resembles them. For that, Recommendation engines are a great tool that helps categorizing communities based on the users' interests. Users can also express and define themselves via our Profile feature, where they can identify and report their passions, ideas, and, therefore, find similar people to connect with.

Another feature we suggest is Live Streams - it allows people to feel closer to each other, even while being dispersed. People from everywhere can live an event and discuss it while watching, all in real-time.

4. Status

People are fundamentally hierarchical. Everyone plays so-called "Status games" - a battle to have superiority over the other person - in their life as a source of aspirations and ambition.

However, status games are a double-edged sword: it can give people a great incentive to engage and contribute to the community, but it can also turn toxic. Harmful status games encourage unethical competition between members of a community or between different communities.

The best community products help its members win the status game without the toxic side-effects of a hyper-competitive environment. The key is for users to lift each other and create a sustainable beneficial effect.

For such, with its social modules combined - Feeds, Groups, Profiles, and Messaging - Upstra allows your platform to become a space of mutual benefits, personal growth, and discovering. Your community can expand its knowledge by generating new content, inspire members to exchange insights, create private or open discussions. It's also essential to keep an eye on any activity happening in your app and make sure it stays a healthy space for your users. To guarantee that, we allow content moderation and reporting, so your users can contribute to making your platform a valuable, healthy space for the community.

The power of social is essential, yet most organizations still overlook it. While many businesses think of how to remain competitive, they underestimate the advantages of having an engaged and united community.

Any app can have its incredible community, and at Upstra, we aim to support you in unlocking your app's potential. As allies, we will work closely with you to give you all the keys in your hands to skyrocket your metrics with the best fitted-solution.

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