I have a similar approach to starting or scaling a community. In both situations you want to grow the community, you need to recruit people to participate, you have to establish the connections and ensure there is quality content.
Here’s my approach:
Build a founder’s group – Content & Connection – Enable Relationships
Find fans of the topic/ product/ company that are willing to help you with various community activities: welcoming others, posting new topics, seeding content, sharing with others, building connections, etc. Be sure you ask them to dedicate an hour a week, with some professionals you might need to schedule this time on their calendar.
You’ll need at least 15 dedicated people, but having 50 is great because you don’t have to ask so much of each person.
Go to each person specifically when you have an ask. When you ask a group to do something because it is easier for you to ask all at once, you’ll get the same people responding, and most won’t participate because they will assume someone else will do it. Think of the warning of shouting someone call 911 in an emergency, oftentimes, no one calls, you must point someone out.
Plan/ schedule content
Enable your founding group to scale your efforts.
Give them jobs based on their talents/strengths.
For instance, I’m very personable, I could be on the welcoming committee, both in an introduction thread and in DM welcoming new members. Give me the job of building out the welcome committee and collecting feedback about onboarding – this makes me feel important and needed. Then mention my name and offer praise when talking about the community.
This is my approach with both building and scaling, the only real difference is that with building you have to go out and find these people, and in a community that you are scaling they are already there – the most active and approving members.