How to build a community around your brand

How to build a community around your brand. Do you want to grow your audience and community this year? I have some actionable tips for you + a FREE course! Click through for details.

2015 was the year of community-building in the world of online entrepreneurship. It's like we all woke up on January 1st 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 readers!

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? 

I 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

My friend + community-building expert Kayla Hollatz goes into this topic a lot deeper on her website but I'll give you the quick explanation:

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.

Find More Clients, the FREE 5-day podcast series!

Sign up to access the podcast series!

Powered by ConvertKit

Why should you grow a community around your brand?

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

1. Your community will help you build better products.

I have a private Facebook community for female freelancers as part of The Shelancers Club, and one of the greatest things about it is that whenever we're creating products, we can hop in Facebook and ask the other shelancers for their feedback!

I love asking for their feedback because they're primarily the ones I create products for. Being able to ask them what THEY want, need, like and dislike is the best way for me to ensure I'm 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.

I 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. {Tweet this}

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

In 2015, I can think of at least five shelancers that I became really good friends with. I would never have even known their existed if I didn't actively chat with them in The Shelancers Club. 

5 creative business owners who have created amazing communities

Need some examples of boss ladies that have grown beautiful communities? Heads up because these women know how to brand!

1. Sarah Hart.

Sarah is a brand and website designer with a natural, rustic edge to her style. She created a Facebook group called Campfire which is swiftly becoming one of my favorites.

Sarah always make an effort to comment on everyone's threads and answer people's questions.  Her and her Facebook group are a great examples of a strong community. 

2. The Rising Tide Society.

TRTS have a truly amazing Instagram community, which was evident in their recent Instagram challenge.

They did a week-long challenge where people had to sign up for their list and download the daily challenges. Then, each day, thousands of Instagram users posted on the topic of the day and used their hashtag: #risingtidechallenge.

It not only brought them closer to their community but it brought the community members closer to each other.

3. Kayla Hollatz.

Kayla did an amazing job of creating a community around her brand, and guess what? She did it before she even had anything to sell. That's the perfect time to foster a community, because they won't feel like you're trying to get them to buy from you.

Kayla has used her Create Lounge Twitter chat to build a community.

Do you think Twitter chats could work for your business?

4. Heather Crabtree.

Heather is another boss lady with an amazing Facebook group. It's actually one of the first Facebook groups I ever joined!

Heather has fostered a welcoming, friendly and beautiful group of women entrepreneurs. She always replies to people in her group, and posts videos in there too.

Her Facebook group, Savvy Business Owners, became such a hit that a conference sprung from it: The Savvy Business Owners Conference.

Find More Clients, the FREE 5-day podcast series!

Sign up to access the podcast series!

Powered by ConvertKit

5. Think Creative.

The girls behind Think Creative have managed to create a community over on Instagram by posting every day, starting conversations with their followers and really taking their followers behind the scenes of their business.

Instagram is a great place to create a community because you can unwind a bit and show your personality! Your audience wants that.

7 ways to build 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 I started my Facebook group, I've made lots of new friends and I've gained insight into problems I never even knew my 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.

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? I've heard some bloggers 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. I like to do this by telling my email subscribers to hit reply on my newsletters and tell me what they're struggling with in relation to my email.

It helps me get to know my subscribers and really get into their minds. After all, I don't want to create content that isn't useful to them. I want to create content they desperately need, and I 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. 

Grow your own social media community

You may have noticed that a lot of the communities I mentioned in this article are based on social media. If you're interested in growing your own social media community of potential clients and customers, join my FREE Find More Clients podcast series to learn how!

Find More Clients, the FREE 5-day podcast series!

Sign up to access the podcast series!

Powered by ConvertKit

Nesha Woolery

I build beautiful brands & websites for passionate entrepreneurs!