Collaborations are a bootstrapped founder’s friend. Partnerships and collaborations are a crucial part of Web3 marketing since Web3 marketing is all about community building. Partnerships and collaborations, from Twitter Megaspaces to Discord Stages, to just even cross-posting of tweets and whitelist partnerships, help projects expose themselves to already existing communities. When exposed to already existing communities, projects, in turn, are also able to absorb fans from the said community who may also be interested in the partner project.
From an operations standpoint, activating a partnerships team that can execute campaigns that grow communities will also maximize the results of the growth, marketing, and community department. I’ve worked with bootstrapped Web 3 projects with little to no marketing power, but with the right collaborations with the right projects, being able to build a healthy and engaged community.
At its core, Web3 collaborations and partnerships are important since 1) collaboration is the language of real builders in Web3, and 2) collaboration helps projects absorb community members from already existing communities — both of which are crucial to building the ecosystem of the project.
Similar to Web2, where the customer persona is first profiled before all marketing and advertising efforts are launched, Web3 founders also have to set up profiles. However, in Web3, founders have to think not in customers but in communities. Enter community profiles.
In the first step, founders have to identify the community profiles that they will partner with for their projects. The following are the non-negotiable factors to be identified:
1) community volume (What’s the minimum number of community members for our partners? Will we accept partners no less than 10K community members? What is our non-negotiable volume?)
2) activity ratio (How do we define a healthy community? How many engagements on a weekly basis on their social media trees and discord server do we define as an active audience?)
and 3) project quality (Is the project doable? Do the founders have what it takes to build the project? Is the project investor backed? What momentum and traction does the project have?)
The following metrics have to be set, and founders have to check these before executing partnerships as if their project’s life depended on it because it does. Founders do not want their projects to be affiliated with projects that rug or fool their community.
It’s also important to note that communities exist both in Web2 and in Web3, and it's crucial for founders to reachout to Web2 communities as well. For example, an NFT collection of skateboard art with skateboarding-related utilities can also benefit from partnerships from Web2 skateboarding communities. It’s just a matter of engaging with the right community profiles.
Partnerships that bear fiat payments are rare in the space of Web3 since communities are all about facilitating and exchanging value. The standard trade-in community partnerships are usually cross WL giveaways, NFT giveaways, perks access, or the like to both communities.
For reference, projects that receive the pitch usually check 3 important metrics before accepting the collaboration:
1) community member/following count (Does the pitching project have an ample community count?),
2) activity ratio (Does the pitching project have a healthy community? Are they composed of real people or bots?)
and 3) project quality (Do the founders of the project have a real project on their hands? Do they have what it takes to build it?)
Hence, founders have to prepare a pitch that showcases the following metrics: 1) community members, 2) social media trees audience, 3) brand/project engagements, 4) PR engagements, and 5) audit results (if applicable). Bottom-line is, founders have to prepare a pitch that showcases their presence, momentum, traction, and legitimacy to make prospective community partners say yes.
If you reach this part of the article and you’d want a formula to pitch your project, feel free to send me an email or chat on Facebook so I can send you the template!
Once both communities say yes to the collaboration, similar to Web2 partnerships, the terms of the partnerships have to be finalized. At this point, it's also important to note that MOUs and MOAs for community partnerships for Web3 projects are rare (from our experience working with more than 100+ Web3 projects all around the world).
MOUs, MOAs, and the need for other sorts of documents defeat the purpose of building a decentralized web (latency and centralization), so the approval of the founders via chat is almost always enough. Of course, if you’re a brand in Web3 and not necessarily a community, the MOUs, MOAs, and other documents are important. But strictly Web3 communities and projects often don’t have those.
Usual collaboration terms in Web3 partnerships include but are not limited to:
1) collaborations/partnership announcement (How will we announce the collaboration? Will we announce only on Twitter? Discord?)
2) cross WL/NFT/perks giveaway (What value will we provide both communities? How much WLs will each project allocate each other? How much NFTs? If not those, what perks or benefits will the project grant the community?)
3) AMA/Twitter space/Discord stage event (How will we execute the cross-community AMA? What’s the event brief and objectives for the event? Where will the event take place?)
Hosting the Discord stage or the Twitter spaces is perhaps the most important part of the collaboration. Web3 marketing is all about community building, and as you know it, community building is never transactional — its always about relationships. Hence, to build relationships between communities, the leaders (i.e., founders) of both projects have to show up on a platform to discuss with their communities the vision, roadmap, and collaboration plans of both projects moving forward.
Showing up to Twitter spaces or Discord stages is proof to the community of the project and the leaders that their leaders are engaged in the partnership. The event gives reason enough for the community members of both communities to check out each other’s projects and communities. That’s when the growth happens.
Once founders find the right formula for their project’s collaborations and partnerships, I often recommend them to hire and outsource a collaborations manager to take the wheel so they can focus on building the project. The collab manager is one of the most important pieces of a Web3 marketing team ecosystem.
The collab manager is in charge of looking for other partner communities and projects with a vision, purpose, core values, and culture that matches the project being built. It is the duty of the collab manager to build a database of possible prospect partners, properly qualifying them with respect to community health, culture fitting, and value matching. The collab manager should qualify the projects first and should not work with just any project that doesn’t match the community’s identity as it would mess with the work of the moderator.
Though the collab manager is a crucial part of the project, the initial collaborations should be executed by the founders or executives of the project first to build the systems of the project that works for them. Similar to the world of startups and Web2, scaling is for specialists. As such, founders have to be able to build the minimum viable everything before onboarding someone to scale the systems.
Either way, both funded and bootstrapped projects should invest in collaborations and partnerships as it helps the project maximize community growth per square inch of the project without the need for huge capital expenses.
Web3 — as an internet owned by the people — knows no competition. True “competition” in the space is rare and is often only perpetrated by founders who don’t fully grasp the concept of building in Web3. As an internet owned by the people, collaboration is key to being able to build, scale, and multiply projects.
JC Macalintal is a venture developer, full-stack marketer, and community builder. He helps entrepreneurs around the world build company portfolios. Read his pieces if you want to build, or you want to feel something.
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