Grow A Community Around Your Brand

2015 until 2016 were the years of community-building in the world of online entrepreneurship. It’s like We all woke up and realized that blogging and sending newsletters wasn’t enough – We had to create Slack groups and Facebook communities, We had to reply to blog comments and continue the conversation, We had to jump on Skype and actually talk with our members!

Community building rocks. 

But a lot of you are still wondering why you should build a community and where to start.  What if you don’t even have your first 100 email subscribers? What if you only have 15? Can you still create your own community? Or what if you’re just a quiet freelancer who doesn’t sell products or doesn’t have a blog. Should you still create a community around your brand?

We say a big fat yes to all of the above.

It doesn’t matter if you have 15 people or 1500 people on your list right now – you’ve already began building your community. Even if you only have one person on your email list, you’ve began building your community. But beginning it isn’t enough. In order to grow a fully-fledged community around your brand, you need to take community-building deadly serious. Otherwise you just have an audience, not a community.

The difference between an audience and a community

An audience is a group of people who read your content and buy from you, but don’t interact with you directly.

A community is a group of people that not only read your content and buy your products and services, but also interact with you on social media, talk with you over the phone, ask you questions over email and in webinars and much more.

Why should you grow a community around your brand?

There are a million reasons why, but We’ll start with what We think are the five main reasons:

1. Your community will help you build better products.

We are always trying to build a community, community of learners. We’re in touch with them through various media, from official line account to e-mail newsletter. And one of the greatest things about it is that whenever We’re creating new products, We can hop in our group and asking for their feedback and suggestions!

We love asking for their feedback because they’re primarily the ones We create products for. Being able to ask them what THEY want, need, like and dislike is the best way for us to ensure We’re creating content that will truly benefit them.

2. Your community will stop you from feeling lonely.

When you work from home, it can sometimes make you feel lonely. But when you have your very own community to talk to, that loneliness goes away.

You can hop in your Facebook or Slack group and start up a conversation.

You can hop on Periscope and start talking with your tribe.

Or you can simply open up Instagram and start a conversation with your peeps in the comments of their photos.

3. A brand with an engaged community is usually more successful than a brand that simply has lots of followers and subscribers.

We know a blogger that has 20k subscribers and a blogger that has 1000, but the latter made more money last year than the former because her list was more engaged.

An engaged community always converts better than a large audience.

4. You’ll find that some of your community members will actually become your business besties!

This was truly happening. Some of our creative community are becoming our business besties, beta tester, or anything you want to call a person that you can count on. They are our voice, our soul, our values. They helped us to shape our business and the community itself. This connection is working both ways and We’re so grateful to met them.

7 ways to grow a community around your brand

1. Start a Facebook group.

Facebook groups are a great way to meet your followers and have real conversations with them. Since We started our Facebook group, We’ve made lots of new friends and We’ve gained insight into problems We never even knew our community had!

2. Start a Slack group.

If you’re not a fan of Facebook, try starting a Slack group. But word of warning: survey your audience first and see if they prefer Slack or Facebook, then go with the one they like best.

3. Scope every day.

Have you tried Periscope yet? It’s an amazing way to grow your community! Periscope allows you to stream live video to your followers and they can comment while you’re talking. It’s a great way to interact with the people buying from you and consuming your content. Or you can try other video streaming apps.

4. Give your community a name.

Giving your community a name makes your members feel like they’re more of a team, and it makes them an even bigger part of your brand. Lady Gaga calls her fans Little Monsters and Beyonce’s fans are known as the Bey Hive. Do you have something you could call you followers? Get creative and have fun with it! It will make your brand and community even stronger.

5. Always reply to people’s emails and blog comments.

Do your readers reply to your newsletters or email you for advice? We’ve heard some bloggers and brands say they don’t reply because these people are trying to squeeze free advice from them… but that’s the point! You SHOULD give away free advice. Emailing your followers back shows you care and it makes them more likely to buy from you in the future.

6. Ask your subscribers to reply to your newsletters.

Welcome people to get in touch with you. We like to do this by telling our email subscribers to hit reply on our newsletters and tell us what they’re struggling with in relation to our email. It helps us get to know our subscribers and really get into their minds. After all, We don’t want to create content that isn’t useful to them. We want to create content they desperately need, and We can’t do that without really getting to know them.

7. Share your community member’s blog posts on your social accounts.

Another great way to foster a community is by sharing your follower’s blog posts on your social accounts. You could even start featuring one follower a week on your Instagram account! Sharing your community member’s blog posts and featuring their work on your social accounts makes them see just how much you care about them.

In order to build most efficiently, relationships must be the keystone – a community the foundation – of a successful business.

   – John Lee Dumas

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