Have you ever noticed, whether you’ve been blogging for a while or are just getting started, that there’s a pretty big difference between having an audience and having a community?
You see, your audience are the people visiting your website and reading your blog and listening to you. But your community are the people who are not only reading all of your content, but they’re also the ones taking action. They’re buying your products and commenting and sharing and then sharing some more.
And your community matters. A lot.
Believe me, I know. In fact, the secret to the success of Living Well Spending Less, EBA, and Do It Scared is just that–our tribe!! Our community of wonderful, engaged, and loyal people. I honestly can’t even think what we would be without our community.
You might not know this, but as a company, one of our core values is “we can change the world.” We believe this is possible partly because of the high-quality content we provide. But mainly, we believe that we can change the world because our community is so strong and supportive of us and each other.
So what’s the secret? How do you turn your current audience into a community who loves you and adores your blog and who literally (well, maybe not literally) shout from the rooftops about how great you are?Building a community takes time, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Below, we map out 7 concrete steps that you can take to turn your own audience into super fans.
START A CONVERSATION
Starting a conversation. It’s as simple as that. Starting a two-way dialogue is the most important thing you can do when engaging your audience and creating your community. This can be broken down into two pieces. The first is creating a conversation through the content you write and the second is creating a conversation through responsiveness.
Your goal for every single thing you put out there, whether it be a blog post or a quick Facebook update, is to craft content that makes your audience feel like you are speaking directly to them. This will make them feel like they are part of your tribe. You can accomplish this with inclusive language. You need to imagine that you are standing next to your readers and looking out at the same goal. Writing as a “we” and not just as a “me” is so important in creating a sense of camaraderie.
The second part of starting a conversation is listening and responding. Read what your audience posts and RESPOND. Talk to your readers the same way you’d talk to your friends and loved ones. Give solutions to their problems, take constructive feedback, and genuinely care about what they are doing in their lives. It’s only by engaging with your readers that you will get the same sense of engagement back. You will literally build your community person by person at first.
SELLING COMES SECOND
It can be hard to watch the traffic come in and the engagements uptick and just sit on that. You don’t want to ask for a sale too quickly or too often. You want your readers to feel comfortable, first and foremost. You create this level of comfort by providing high-quality content and giving back to your readers.
Once you’ve established a strong community, then you can make an ask. Only make an ask if you have a really valuable product to offer, one that you know would help alleviate pain points for your community.
MAKE CUSTOMER CARE A PRIORITY
Be hyper-aware of customer support in your company.
If you are short on time and your community is just expanding beyond your abilities to keep up with each and every person, then it is time to make a shift. Move away from communicating one on one with audience members/customers. And, open up the opportunity for discussion in a paid mastermind group with like-minded individuals including fellow readers and staff.
FIND A COMMON BOND
Many of us have different facets to our business and we have readers with varying interests. That is why we LOVE to segment our email lists. We first identify a common bond that our readers might have. EBA members have different buckets they fall into based on where they are at in their business ventures. For example, those just starting out are in one “bucket.” We use the buckets to write emails that are completely applicable to each and every group. This allows us to get specific and move away from vague and general emails. Getting specific and talking to each group within your community helps keep the dialogue open and keeps our readers engaged and interested in what we have to say.
What exactly does it mean to facilitate connections? We recommend creating a Facebook group that is complementary to your website or blog. It can even have the same name. The trick is to make the group “closed.” This way people have to request to join, which creates a feeling of exclusivity but also creates a sense of comfort. You know everyone in the group is there for the same reasons and are bound by the same Terms and Conditions.
We believe that creating Terms and Conditions your group is very important. They detail what to expect and determine your readers’ experience level or reasons for joining your group. We recommend asking potential members to accept the Terms and Conditions before joining to be sure they understand the purpose and goal of your group and what is appropriate. Establishing this first can help save lots of time and judgment calls in the future.
CELEBRATE YOUR SUPERFANS
Who are your amazing, totally engaged, constantly talking about you, superfans? These people are the ones raving about you and are the ones leaving positive reviews on Yelp, and Facebook and more.
Make sure to recognize these fans with shout-outs, special deals, or even create a brand ambassador program so that they can be part of your team!
SURPRISE AND DELIGHT
Successful companies with huge communities are the ones who never stop trying to please their customers. No matter how large your community is or how many super fans you have, don’t ever give up on community building! Continually provide high-quality, relevant products, services, posts, and emails. You might even notice your community help positively shift your business or helps you create the next most profitable course.
The thing is, you and your company are constantly evolving and growing. And, when you have a strong community cheering you on, it doesn’t just feel good, it is essential to your success!