As a creative entrepreneur I am looking to connect with others who immediately shout “mee too!” when I share any part of my story. I want to be surrounded by like-minded, forward thinking, business friends.
It is how I grow my business.
The biggest tool entrepreneurs have to grow their community is content: blogging, videos, text and photos. Content is an ace in the hole for the modern day professional when it is done well. Content doesn’t cost much to create and publish but has an exponential opportunity for building community.
I do want to be clear; there is a huge distinction between an audience and community. An audience is one-way. Not interactive. Not social. An audience is passive. An audience will sit and read or watch. An audience doesn’t participate or share the content with others.
On the other hand, a community is a two-way conversation. A community is alive. It is active and interactive. A community shares, uplifts, chats and supports. A business that does good thrives in an active community.
There are a few keys to creating a happy, Me-Too community. Here are some tips that I have learned along the way.
1. Be consistent with good content.
It all starts with having a good message. Do good and do good consistently. Remember, content isn’t about you; it’s for the community. It is to inspire, uplift, support, inform, entertain and to educate.
2. Make it shareable.
Make your content super-easy to share. Understand that your raving fans are busy and that they don’t want to work hard. If your content isn’t shareable your readers will quickly switch from being an active community participant to just an audience member. Use tools like Click to Tweet and Social Warfare plugins to squeeze the most out of each piece of content you create.
3. Make real connections.
It is all about real human interaction. Reply to comments. Answer questions. Thank people who share content. Be active and be nice. Share other people’s content. You know, be a kind member of the community!
4. Promote others.
It is really difficult to do this alone. Lift up others, share about other people who are doing really great in your niche. People love to be in the spotlight, so put them there! Create curated lists of content that highlight people and businesses.
5. Get active participation.
Have community members provide content. Ask for volunteers for guest blog posts (bonus this is great for SEO) or have someone else take over the Instagram account for a week. Switch things up, provide a fresh perspective, allow people to feel wanted and valued -- this builds community.
6. Ask lots of questions.
Ask lots and lots of questions. Figure out what your community wants to learn about and teach them or connect them with someone who can.
7. Track your data.
Be a student of your community. Understand how they interact with your content. Dig into your Google Analytics to understand where your fans are finding you and from what source. Use analytics to find out what content is most engaging and write more of it. Understand the basics of search engine optimization to figure out how your fans are searching for you.
So that is it. The fundamentals of growing a purpose-filled tribe. Creating a community. Finding your online friends.
Are you building a team to move your business forward? What steps are you taking? Tell us how you are doing good!
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