Building a COMMUNITY around your brand
It is SO important for your business to put your face out there (as you’ve heard me say 10,000 times before). In addition to that, building a community around your brand is probably the biggest key to growth, sales, and everything else. Community is so freaking powerful, and we don’t give it enough credit. Let’s talk about why it’s important, how to go about building a community around your brand, and where you can build it.
Building a COMMUNITY around your brand
Want to listen to the podcast version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
I am SO excited to chat with you about this!
First off – if you’re reading this in real time (on March 8, 2021), then I’m about to announce another pop-up Facebook group that I’m hosting that TOTALLY aligns with this topic. Head on over and follow me on Instagram to hear more about that.
Why is it important to build a community around your brand?
Let’s say you have four really close friends, and one of those friends has their own makeup line. You’re sitting at your house one night and you realize that you need more makeup. So, who are you more likely to buy it from: a random person or brand that you’ve never interacted with, OR your friend that has her own makeup line? Probably your friend.
Even when we’re only interacting with each other online, we get to the point when we feel like we’re friends. And we ARE friends, because we’ve created a community surrounding a particular brand.
If you can create a welcoming and personal environment that makes people feel like they’re friends with you (or that you’d be friends in real life), then CONNECTION happens. People trust you and they’re loyal to you.
Building a community around your brand is MASSIVE, because that’s the group of people who are going to support you. And, it’s going to be easier to sell to a group of people who already support you in a free capacity.
I follow some people on social media who have done SUCH a great job of building a community that their account becomes a place you want to hang out on the internet. That’s really the goal for all of us!
How do you start building a community around your brand?
First and foremost, you have to remember that the things you put out on the internet are meant to ATTRACT people. For example, the posts you put up on Facebook, the videos on YouTube, the reels on Instagram, or the podcast episodes you share are all meant to attract people to hang out with you.
People come for the content that was the reason they found you, but they STAY for YOU. Just being YOU is going to be a really great place to start when building a community.
I share a lot of personal things on my Instagram and on my YouTube channel. One, because I don’t know another way to be (I’m a VERY open book). But two, because we have to connect with each other in some way. We have to show our true personality for people to want to be part of your community.
Being you will be the biggest way you can start building your community! Create the content you want to for your ideal audience, and once they find you, let them see the real you.
Create a Common Denominator
Secondarily to that, you want to create a common denominator that makes someone go, “yes, this is me, these are my people, and this is where I want to be!”
Are you all trying to achieve a similar goal, do the same thing, achieve a certain lifestyle, or something else? What is the thing that you can constantly reiterate as your common denominator for the people in your community?
Your common denominator should relate back to the reason that you want people to join your community. Do you want them there because they’re all trying to build a business, organize their home, or they’re looking for colleges for their children?
You should already know the common denominator that you’re looking for, because that’s part of your niche. If you aren’t positive about it, definitely evaluate your niche. (I have some great niche content you can check out right here!)
Niche down to the point where you KNOW what the common denominator between you and your community is. But remember – even though you know what it is doesn’t mean your community knows! So it’s your job to put out content that will cause them to say “oh my gosh, yeah, we’re all in this together!”
You want to create a sense of coming together and working toward a certain thing.
After you figure it out and attract certain people to your community, you still need to bring it back up and remind your community what that goal is.
Make the people who follow you feel like you GET them.
To build a community, you need to make the people who follow you feel like you understand them. This is one that I have seen really prominently when I’ve been doing Reels on Instagram.
I did an experiment in February where I posted a Reel to my account every single day. The goal was to figure out which hashtags worked best, which times worked best, and what would actually happen with consistency. I’m using that to revamp my course Insta Sales School. And, I’m hosting a free webinar ALL about Instagram Reels this week (which you can sign up to join right here)!
The Reels that do the best for me are NOT the ones that are the most creative or took me the longest to record. Instead, they’re the ones that make my ideal audience go, “oh, she GETS me!”
Those reels perform the best and attract the most followers for me. So, when it comes to building a community, you need to give someone the feeling that you UNDERSTAND them.
Imagine that you’re hiring a coach and you’re looking at multiple people. Are you more likely to hire a person who you feel like is totally disconnected from your lifestyle, or someone who understands it?
I had a friend on Facebook who shared this a few years ago:
“I just had a revelation that I’ve been trying to do business at the speed of someone who doesn’t have kids in the family.”
Running a business is SO different when you have another commitment that is your priority. It isn’t always kids, but that’s an example relevant to me. My kids are currently getting school done while I’m recording this, and if I have to pause and go help them, then that’s my priority right now.
If I was hiring a business coach, I’d be way more likely to hire someone who understands what it’s like to try and build a business when you have kids who are in virtual school AND not a ton of help.
You read that right – leave breadcrumbs! Breadcrumbs are things that aren’t the primary reason that someone follows you, but will make you FEEL like you are their person.
We have a pet cow right now whose name is Earl Dean. We’re bottle feeding him, and I’ve been showing it on my stories! I’m not showing that because cows are the reason people follow me… I’m showing it because it’s part of my life. And people who see that cow might go, “OH my gosh I love baby cows!” and want to come back and watch my stories again.
The same thing goes for sharing my struggles with having kids home, or that I enjoy working out. You want to leave breadcrumbs that help you connect with your audience on an actual, human level.
When you do all of these things, the community just HAPPENS. It will feel totally organic! The people I follow on the internet who have the best communities are the people who haven’t TRIED super hard to do this. They just showed up as themselves, have a common denominator, left breadcrumbs, and their community loves them.
Now – where do you build a community?
There are two types of communities that exist in our businesses. One is our free PRESENCE of a community, and that can be done anywhere on any social platform. It can be on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. Wherever your people are, you can build your community there!
I feel like most of my community currently exists on Instagram. Which feels weird to say, because y’all don’t get to hang out with each other on Instagram. But, you get to interact with me on my Instagram dms every day. Back in the day, I built a free Facebook group where I housed my community.
None of those are right or wrong places to build your community. You can build a free community anywhere! It could even be that it resides on your email list, or Clubhouse, or Twitter. ANYWHERE!
I know we’ve all seen text communities, specifically for people with larger audiences, where you can opt-in to receive texts. The important thing isn’t the platform – it’s making a space where your people want to come and get in touch with you!
It drives me BANANAS when people build a community in a platform where they don’t regularly communicate with their community. I follow several “bigger” Instagrammers who have built a community on Instagram. They’re storying every single day, posting there, and it’s their place. But they don’t answer their dms.
Don’t get me wrong: I understand that when you have 1 million followers, it’s hard to answer your DMs. But I also understand that you can hire help for that and make sure people are still getting an answer.
All that to say, make sure your community has a pathway for one-on-one conversation.
I also understand that bigger communities mean you can’t have one-on-one conversations with everyone. If all 110,000 of my subscribers on YouTube sent me a message, there’s no way I could chat with all of them! BUT there are ways I can try really hard to open a public forum for my community and I to chat.
Make a bridge between you and your audience! We should NOT be untouchable.
I follow someone on Instagram who was having tech issues. She mentioned in the past that she isn’t able to check her dms, but that if you email her, she’ll definitely see it. I knew the solution to her tech problems, so I emailed her super quickly. And three weeks later, she STILL has never opened it (yes, I have read receipts on my email). So, I call bullcrap. You can’t have a community if you don’t participate in conversations with people.
You can build a free community ANYWHERE. It doesn't have to be rigid or traditional at all. It can even be in multiple places.
The second tier of community is a PAID one.
We have soooo many options nowadays to create paid communities that are close-knit and inexpensive. I have a lot of fellow YouTubers that have YouTube memberships on their channel. You can pay $5 per month and get an exclusive livestream. I also know people who do Patreon which is a similar concept.
There are also legit memberships where you pay a fee and get trainings from someone at a higher level. Paid communities are full of people who love you so much, they want to support you in any way they can. They may be the same group of people who buy into your larger offers.
Building a community around your brand is SO important!
Community is KEY, y’all. People tend to get hung up in thinking that the business advice they’re hearing isn’t for their specific type of business (I did a whole episode about that right here). I want to stop you right now if you’re thinking that.
No matter WHAT your business is, building a community should be top of mind for you. You could be a photographer, a service-based business, or even a brick and mortar store, and building community is still a TOP priority.
You HAVE to build a community around your brand. Leave those breadcrumbs, show up as yourself, make people feel like you understand them, and interact personally with your community.