So you or your business have a ton of followers. But you keep hearing about the importance of building “Community”.
Community is where you create a space for your followers to connect and support each other.
Building a community can help you sell MORE products or services by developing much deeper relationships with people in your network.
And you’ll have more control if the social platform you are on pulls the plug.
You don’t want to lose all those followers you have worked so hard to get in the first place!
But having your followers read each other’s reply comments to your posts isn’t a community…. Or inviting them to a live space to listen to you talk isn’t a community either.
So how do you go from having followers to building a community?
Here are some actionable tips to get started:
Tip 1: Find the common threads
Take note of your most popular posts – why are they popular?
What is the common thread when you’re answering questions from your audience?
Are there questions from your followers that keep on repeating over and over again? Those are your common threads.
Take note of these as it will help you structure the foundations of your community.
You also want to clearly identify the purpose of your community, and finding common threads can help you do this.
For example: perhaps you have an Instagram account and share your love for coffee. A lot of your followers ask you questions like:
Which coffee machine are you using to brew your coffee?
Is organic coffee actually worth the money?
Your coffee machine looks so easy! Do you recommend it?
I wish I had the time to brew my own coffee like you do! Any tips when I barely have any time to myself?
How did you know which machine to get? I’m overwhelmed with choices”.
I love flat whites but my friends all drink filter coffee. I really enjoy making coffee for others. What should I have at home?
The common thread is obviously coffee, but it’s also about educating your followers on how to brew coffee themselves (and even for others). So the purpose of your community could be:
Helping people brew the perfect cup of coffee (for themselves and for others… )
You can dive even deeper into niches here, but some of your sub categories (i.e. “channels” for your community) could be:
Brewing techniques (filter etc)
Home equipment (machines etc)
Coffee chats (connecting members over coffee to discuss what they have learned, sharing techniques, bean suppliers etc etc)
Tip 2: Ask questions
These are the questions you want to start asking to your audience:
I’m thinking of starting a group so we can connect and support each other whilst we “provide value statement here of whatever you do for your audience”.
Would you be interested in joining?
This will help you understand how many of your followers actually want to connect with you and/or like minded people on a deeper level.
“Where else do you hang out?”
Poll can include Facebook groups, Discord, Twitter spaces, in person meetups etc
The above will help you determine where you should start your community (it’s easiest to start where people are already spending their time, but if you have a big enough following you can consider hosting your community on your own website or a community platform that you can customise with your own branding.
“Are you part of any communities that I should know about?”
This will help you conduct some more research – what kind of community experiences are your followers already experiencing, and are there any potential gaps that you believe you could do better with starting your own community?
Tip 3: How to choose a suitable community platform?
There are tons of options, and although this may feel overwhelming I’m here to tell you that finding the platform with all the right features isn’t as important as you think.
Choose a simple platform and if you know where your followers already hang out and there’s a group function on that platform, use that. It’s the easiest way to gain traction. Facebook Groups is an underrated community building platform with a lot of great functionality (but if your followers don’t use Facebook, then forget it and find something else).
You should also consider where your followers will be most active and how you want your community to interact with each other.
Is the nature for them to interact on the go via their mobile? Is it mostly to have real time chats?
Review back to what the purpose of the community is, and work from there.
If you need to set up chat based community, here’s a quick guide:
- Web2 chats → Whatsapp
- Web3 chats (crypto/NFT) → Telegram
- Youtubers → Discord
- Tiktokers → Geneva Chat
Circle.so and Podia are two stand alone platforms that are aimed at creators, you can create channels for different topics, embed YouTube videos, simple interface. Youtuber Ali Abdaal uses Circle for his PTYA community.
If you have a coaching business, can look at Mighty Networks.
Buddy Boss is great if you have your own WordPress website already.
Facebook groups – if your audience is using FB still and active, then this is a free option and decent enough to get started
Discord – if your audience already uses discord, go with discord. I know creators that use Circle and Discord as Circle is great for managing longer in depth conversations whereas discord is good for real time chat.
Bonus tip 4: Have an engagement plan that adds tons of value to the community
I cannot stress how important this tip is! Choosing the right platform is half the battle.
The most important part is delivering value to your community.
Go above and beyond. Give them free access to you like Gary Vee does in his discord server!
- Tip 1: Find the common threads.
- Tip 2: Ask your followers questions
- Tip 3: Select a community platform (don’t get overwhelmed)
- Tip 4: Deliver as much value to your new community as possible