How we built a community

The founders of Diem, a social platform focused on women’s health and wellness, explain how they went about engaging with their target market before they even launched their product.
Diem app hero 16x9

Set up in early 2020, Diem builds digital products around women’s health and wellness. Its first product, an app, encourages women to share their health and wellness experiences – meaning community is key. As co-founder Emma Bates (pictured with co-founder Divia Singh) says, ‘We knew we had to start creating one before we even had a product.’ Here she lifts the lid on the steps they took to creating a 15,000-strong waitlist before launch.

1. Starting a newsletter

‘In January, we started a newsletter – a low-lift way to start engaging and seeing if people were interested. We started Diem Digest: a bi-weekly round-up of everything in the women’s health world that we found interesting, linking out to articles, videos or Instagram accounts. I posted it in my stories and a couple of friends did, too, and we got our first 500 sign-ups. There was the ability to refer at the bottom of the newsletter, so it started growing organically.’

2. Integrating other initiatives

‘The list reached a few thousand without us doing a lot. Then we began integrating other community-building initiatives into the newsletter, like joining our private beta list. We started developing those early brand evangelists.’

3. Becoming an IG authority

‘We launched our Instagram and started posting really amazing, in-depth content every day of the week around health concerns and education. We paid attention to how many people shared it instead of how many people liked it. We had pieces that were shared with 170 people. That was a real part of the growth of the community and what we wanted users to do when Diem launched. We want users to refer their friends.’

4. A change of tack

‘We started doing less involved but more interactive stuff, like ask-me-anything interviews with our medical advisors so people started thinking of Diem as a place where you can ask those questions. Plus relevant memes to do with health – easily shareable stuff.’

5. A viral referral campaign

‘The week before we went into public beta, we launched a referral campaign around women celebrating their “whisper networks”, ie, the five or so women you always turn to when you have health issues. That ended up going viral and we got like 15,000 sign-ups in six days.’

6. Slowly onboarding

‘You need to build community in a good way – you can’t just give 15,000 people the chance to talk to each other – so we’re onboarding in waves of 400. We’ve made it into a fun thing where, to be invited, you have to have invited a plus one. So people are almost competing to get their plus one to be able to be allowed into the Diem app.’

This article was first published in How to Start a Business 2021. To become a subscriber or purchase our newest guide, head to our webshop.

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