I saw this question in another community and answered it there.
I thought I’d cross post it here too.
A tool does not define a community, it’s something you serve. A tool (such as Slack, Discord, Facebook, etc) should be a much smaller part of your community efforts…say, like 20%.
But you have readers, first start caring about them and finding ways to have conversations to understand what their real needs are.
Conversations can happen anywhere, they are happening here right now.
You can then expand on that by perhaps inviting them to an event or into a platform, but this likely won’t be enough to keep them. People generally get tired with conversations pretty quickly and want more to address their needs.
One such example is how Indie Hackers started, it was focused on Founder Interviews when it started. Interviews are really just edited conversations…depending how you look at it.