Meet Shrooberry, manager of real estate and pre-med startups, puppy fanatic, and creator of the MCAT premedical study server. With their fantastic team of moderators, Shrooberry has built this community to what it is today.
The MCAT server was created over four and a half years ago and is now an active community of almost 24,000 (!) members, all with a shared passion for furthering their studies in healthcare.
Shrooberry says their community mission was “to create a welcoming space for all healthcare students to have equal access to educational resources. The journey to becoming a healthcare professional is often arduous, isolating, and undoubtedly expensive. It was for those reasons, we envisioned a community where opportunities existed for everyone regardless of their background or socioeconomic level.”
Building for Community Success
For the MCAT team, building the server was all about creating a positive, welcoming environment and introducing things that could make the community feel unique.
“We made sure to create a warm community with moderators personally welcoming newcomers whenever we could."
"Creating a server is easy, however growing it to be a welcoming community requires significant effort. To build a successful server, focus on building the community itself, i.e. friendships, trust, and common interests.”
For the MCAT server, the team also wanted to focus on building something unique that set their community apart and made their server feel like home.
“We also focused on having some things specific just to our server that were not found on other study groups, in order to create our own presence. For example, we chose to highlight our custom study materials, pomodoro and forest study sessions, and hosting our own game nights.”
Building for Member Retention
The MCAT team strives to keep enticing members back with valuable content, regardless which phase members are at in their education.
Some members have been part of the community since the very beginning, so it's important they’re able to provide specialized guidance to anyone—whether they’re in the starting stages of their pre-med journey or not.
“I love statistics and numbers so I think member retention is an excellent measure of a well-built server. I believe a successful community entices members to come back day after day.”
Shrooberry believes that beyond the numbers, a huge part of community success is having a focus around a common goal. Regular events and passionate moderators who are constantly engaging with their members is a great sign of a healthy server.
Building for Member Growth
Shrooberry and the MCAT team learned the hard way that with great server growth comes great responsibility. Keeping the community engaged and the server well organized can certainly become harder as more people start to join.
“Our main challenge of last year was rapid growth followed by low member engagement. We were still hitting a 30% benchmark however we wanted to increase it since this was important to keep an active community!"
"We resolved this by hosting regular interactive events such as game nights, Ask Me Anything sessions by healthcare professionals, and study parties. We also created a role specifically for game nights and events so the interested members were notified.”
As your community becomes more established, it's important your server is evolving with it. Start small and focus your attention on building space to serve a smaller, tight-knit group of people.
“Don’t worry too much about growth. You would be surprised how many big servers have only a small fraction of their members active. The friendships, common interests, and memories are what makes a community special.”