Grow Forward: Creating a Thriving Community
Updated: Feb 7, 2020
During 1915, CJ Galpin coined the term “community” with the hope of reviving the closer, warmer, more harmonious type of relationships between people. Very quickly, Community became a term used within trade, public life, education and politics, it has infused our day to day lives.
With the rise of Social Media, the opportunity to create a community within our own space has never been so prominent. With billions of people across the world using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, our desire for human connection has never been so strong.
There are 3 area which Community can fall into:
Place - A Location where people can meet. In the past this used to be the local community club. Now, it is the space we carve out for ourselves online.
Interest - Where a group of people come together and share something they have in common
Belonging - The sense of belonging and feeling that your voice is being heard amongst like minded people.
As a business, how can you use Community to “Grow Forward” ?
It always surprises me how many times I hear the words “I want somebody to help me post on my Instagram twice a week” or “I want my community to go viral” Why are you treating your community as an after thought, as something to remember to do if you have time?
It fascinates me that businesses struggle to reach to their customers, whilst expecting more sales, yet delegate the very thing that can earn the trust of the very people they want to reach.
Friendships take time to build, conversations develop overtime, mutual respect is an evolution of a relationship. If we know this, why do we do we throw away these principles, simply because the person we are trying to reach with our product or services isn standing in front of us?
Let me ask you a question: Would you delegate a friendship to a colleague?
It is very unlikely that you would. Friendships are personal, they are based on mutual trust, something you work hard at. The same will apply to your colleagues and your family.
A Community works in very much the same way. Time needs to be invested to gain the trust of your customer. A relationship needs to be built, based on credibility and authenticity.
Our feeds are full of somebody trying to sell us something everyday. Sometimes its hard to distinguish who is genuine and so you use the tools in front of you.
You review the comments to see what others have to say (Social Proof)
You may google to see if there is any other content out there which will support what you are seeing (Credibility)
You may scroll through the respective Facebook page to see what other things are being posted?
Is the content upto date?
Is the content authentic?
Is the content relatable?
Communities mature over time, they are dependable and if nurtured correctly, they will continue to grow as your business grows forward
Take the time to:
Place Community at the heart of your business and fold it into your marketing strategy.
Understand the different touch points you have running through your business and assess if everything is joined up?
Engage - Never leave a comment unanswered - and try to use more than 4 words, rather than a strong of emoji’s :)
Post regularly, share whats going on behind the scenes or valuable information your customer want to know about.
Your customer has decided to spend their precious time with you, thank them by providing value Treat the name behind the screen as a person and remember that you are nurturing a real relationship. If nurtured correctly they will likely stay with you for a long time.
Every single piece joins up together to provide a picture of both you and your business. Community sits at the heart of your business.
Every touchpoint created which enables a potential customer to learn something about your company or helps them to engage with you, forms a part of your community.
Your voice, your brand, the messages you consistently share, all form part of your community. The amazing website you spent months building, the high converting funnel you might have in place, the emails you may remember every now and then - All form part of your community.
Effie Moss is a Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur, a Small Business Cheerleader and a Marketing and Community Strategist. Having grown communities with a conversational reach of 7 million a week, across many different industries, she spends her day helping people realise their business potential.