START BUILDING YOUR ONLINE COMMUNITY NOW
“How do I get more people to read my blog?”
“How do I tap into my online audience?”
“I like the idea of a Facebook group but I don’t want to have to be in there every day.”
Does this sound like you??
Content marketing is at an all-time high. People have access to articles, blog posts, videos, and infographics on every topic on the web.
While content marketing has a multitude of benefits, you’re going to be a content-producing machine without getting the results you’re looking for unless you have an engaged community consuming that content who are converting to students of your course.
Let’s first tackle the difference between an online audience and an online community.
Think of your online audience as viewers, and your online community as your biggest fans.
Your online audience reads your blog posts. Your online community reads your blog posts and leaves comments to join in the discussion.
Your online audience watches your Youtube videos. Your online community subscribes to your Youtube channel so they get notifications when you post new videos. They leave comments on the videos and share them with their network.
Your online audience catches you on live stream when it’s convenient for them. Your online community gets notifications when you’re going live so they don’t miss it, and engage with you and other viewers during (and after) the live stream.
Your online audience ‘likes’ your Facebook business page. Your online community joins your Facebook group. They post in the group and develop relationships with others within the group.
Your online community members are the ones who:
- Mention your name in conversations – online and offline
- Consume all (or most) of your content – blog posts, vlogs, videos, live streams
- Share your content with others in their network
- Follow your lead, advice, and suggestions
- Trust you
Your online community members are the ones purchasing your courses and services and acting as evangelists for you and your brand, helping you grow your online community faster.
8 Tips For Building a Strong, Online Community
Consistency = reliability in the minds of your online community.
Show up. Whether you’re joining in the conversation in your Facebook group or other Linkedin groups, recording regular video content and live streaming, commenting and repinning on Pinterest, or being a guest on podcasts in your niche, showing up consistently is important.
Delivering content inconsistently and only showing up a few times a month will erode your online community’s trust in you.
Your online community needs to be able to rely on you. That you’ll be there when they want access to you or need advice and suggestions.
If you’re trying to be someone you’re not – either on camera, in person, or in the content you deliver – it will show.
Your online community wants to get to know you. They want to know what makes you tick, what you do for fun, what your family is like. They want to know that the you that they meet online is the same you that they would meet at an in-person event.
Trying to be someone you’re not, in the online space, will show through. Be true to who you are and share yourself with your online audience.
What is unique about you? Part of building your personal brand is understanding what is unique about you – what sets you apart from others.
Do you have a throw-your-head-back laugh? Do you have a signature purple hair colour? Embrace your uniqueness!
Letting your uniqueness shine will attract your online audience. Those that resonate with you and your uniqueness will become your online community.
Creating shareable content is integral to building your online community.
As evangelists, your online community loves to share your content because it’s valuable and easily shareable.
When creating content, view it from the perspective of your online community. Does it educate, inform, or entertain? If so, you have shareable content.
If they have to hunt for a way to share your content, they’ll move on. Make it easy to share your content! Add plugins to your website or blog to easily allow your online community to share the content across their social channels.
CALL OTHERS OUT (IN A GOOD WAY)
Mentioning others and sharing their content is a great way to build your online community and connections.
Did you recently read a great article or watch a video on Youtube that would be valuable to your online community? Write a blog post about it or create your own video about it. Give credit to that person publicly. Not only does this allow you to build your connections and provide more valuable content to your online community. Drop them a line and call them out on social media. Let them know that you appreciate them and their content.
Do you have community ambassadors? You know, those hard-core fans who share, comment, and engage with you and your online audience regularly? Call them out! Let them know how much you appreciate their participation and being part of your community!
“No man is an island”. Building a strong online community is a joint effort.
Conduct some live stream interviews with others who have strong online communities. Bring more value to your online community by delivering new, interesting content via an interview. By your guest sharing the live stream with their community it will provide social proof and introduce a new audience to you – and vice versa.
Write some guest blog posts and guest on others podcasts. This content will be distributed to your hosts’ online community, creating new introductions and building your online community while providing them with content for their own community.
TAKE IT OFFLINE
Consider hosting a local tweetup, meetup, or event for your online audience.
Online connections and communities are amazing, but there’s really no replacement for human face-to-face interaction in getting to know your audience and community.
Bringing others together to connect can solidify relationships, enhance current relationships, and create new connections.
Encourage the people attending to share from the event – video, pictures, tweets, Facebook posts. This buzz around the event will encourage more people to be involved online – even if they can’t be there in person.
Rome was not built overnight, and neither will your online community be.
In this age of instant gratification, the expectation is that if you build it they will come. They will, but it takes time.
Once your online audience becomes your online community, there will be a snowball effect, but you have to put in the time initially to get you there.
With more entrepreneurs coming into the online space daily, waiting any longer to build your online community is not an option if you want to grow your business online.
Which of these tips are you currently using and which would you add?
Join in the discussion below!