How to create community for your small business and build your brand
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. LOUD.
The first place to start when you’re thinking of building a brand new business, or going out on your own as an entrepreneur is to build a community.
There’s nothing more to it than that.
Community is the foundation through which your brand and your ultimate business success is built.
Without community, you’ll struggle to gain the cut through that you need in order to get noticed, gain traction and start to monetize your offering.
There’s a few fundamental things to keep in mind when you’re starting out.
Get these things right from the get go and you’ll be well on your way to creating an engaged and interactive community for your brand and business.
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1. Know your real why
Before you even begin to think about building a tribe around your idea, you first have to do some thinking about your reasons for wanting to do what you want to do!
Getting clear on your vision, your mission and the values surrounding your project or new business is a vital first step towards creating alignment with those people who share the same passions.
I’m a HUGE believing in heart centred business planning. Creating heart centred business goals lets you focus in on some of the other things that you want to achieve in your business. Things that are not the obvious… like great revenue, lots of customers, awesome brand recognition!
Heart centred goals are more like…
- How do you want to feel?
- What is it that you want to change in your life?
- How do you want to spend your days?
- How does success look in terms of your health? Your relationships? Your mental wellbeing?
Are you wanting to build your biz for financial gain or something else? Maybe so you can create a sense of freedom for yourself and your family?
Your vision is a bit different… your vision should be BIG and GRAND. It’s your what. What do you want to achieve?
You might be a fitness instructor.. And your vision might be to be the h=number one go to health and fitness coach in Australia.
Your vision needs to be BIG. and it needs to be concrete.
Your mission is the thing that holds all this together – your mission is the GRAND SCHEME.
Taking the example above. Your vision is to be the #1 Health and fitness coach in Australia… BUT… your MISSION is to educate Australians on the benefits of regular movement to improve the wellbeing of generations.
Get your values, your vision and your mission straight before you start building your community. This way you’re more likely to attract the right people to your cause and having the right people in your funnel is half the battle.
2. Be yourself
It’s so easy to look around and see so many entrepreneurs and influencers doing their thing and thinking… ugh… I could never do that! …eeekkk! How on earth am I going to compete in THAT arena!???
Nah… you don’t NEED to compete! You simply need to be the beautifully unique and authentic YOU.
You have something inside that no other human on this entire planet has. You are a culmination of a myriad of awesomeness that you probably dont even realise you hold.
Own it. Own who you are. There is someone out there who needs what you have right now. And there is no better person on this earth to deliver this thing than you.
Trust your own path and be the real you.
Be generous. Be giving. Add value in every interaction.
People love a genuine soul and can relate much better to someone who is being authentic and vulnerable as themselves.
3. Create your own community spaces or join others
You can find a whole heap of amazing groups online for any sort of interest! …. Jump in and start connecting on a genuine level with those people in your niche.
Remember to be generous… be authentic and add value… do not try to sell anything! You are creating community here, not doing a sales pitch!
Try searching for hashtags in your niche on Twitter or Instagram. Take some cues from our list of hashtags by niche for bloggers.
Find awesome groups to join on Facebook. The entrepreneurial community and blogging community on Facebook is STRONG! … lots of amazing people ready and willing to help you on your journey.
I love the Women helping Women Entrepreneurs group on Facebook. A really generous and smart bunch of women!
And, Global Women Entrepreneurs is also one of my fave groups. (Sorry guys!)
You can jump into conversations and add value on both Reddit and on Quora… be careful on these platforms to not drop links and run! You want to start SLOWLY… build a great reputation… answer the questions first… then IF and only IF its totally appropriate and highly relevant ADD a link to your response.
This takes time to build credibility. But start now.
Finally – Build your own Group!
So, Facebook is the obvious choice here! And Facebook makes it super easy to build a community around interests.
In my bloggers group I create a daily post where members have the option to share what they are working on and get help with promotion and engagement.
You can also create groups around your products. Offer an exclusive membership to your group as part of the incentive to buy your product or service. For instance – as a graphic designer you might sell Pinterest templates and your customers get exclusive access to you in their own private group!
Your group, if valuable, will grow organically. There is nothing worse than you growing a group of 1000’s of members who are either:
1. Not closely aligned to your vision and mission… or
2. Not engaged! …
So think small… and think quality over quantity.
Tips for building your Facebook Group
- Start small – don’t worry about growing slowly
- Invite ONLY highly relevant people
- Give massive value
- Use the invite to group function on your Facebook business page to grow your group
- Go live – be the face of the group
- Make rules. Keep a tight reign on group behaviour
- Make your group private
- Do not sell in your group
- Ask sign up questions to filter members
- Add an opt in to your sign up to collect emails
- Be active – but let others do the talking
- Create daily opportunities for engagement
- Make new members feel appreciated with new member welcome posts
- Promote your group in your email newsletters, on your website and on your email signatures
4. Create community through content
An online group is one thing… But there are other ways to build your community and by far the strongest of these is by creating exceptional content around a particular niche.
Of course, blogging is by far the easiest way to deliver your content to your readers. But you can also create content (and micro-content) for newsletters, social platforms like Instagram, or upload video content to YouTube.
Creating community with content at the core of your strategy means positioning yourself as the expert in your field.
Create content that has high value for your audience and also content that has a high shareability score.
You WANT your audience to do the work for you in sharing and distributing your awesome content. This grows your community and helps establish brand credibility.
Ways to grow your community through content
- Create op-tins or lead magnets (freebies) on your content that offer freebies that your readers can’t resist to collect emails
- Create guides or ebooks around your content
- Create quizzes to learn more about your readers and capture them as leads
- Add promos or other incentives in your emails for people to click or share your email links
- Make it super easy for your audience to share your content with Share buttons – I use GROW by Mediavine
- Create Pins for your content that are visually appealing so people will Pin your content
- Create 10x content – content that is 10x better than what is currently out there
- Be consistent with your content creation so your community has a regular stream of inspiration or information
You can easily create graphics like pins for your content in Canva and then download them directly to your social channels through their new content scheduler!
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Building your community should never be forced. There is real value in a community that has grown organically because YOU created something that was highly valuable to others.
People will naturally flock to you and your brand if you remember these three things.
- Be consistent
- Add value
- Be yourself
It truly is as simple as that!