Last summer at AdTech, a VP at huge corporate brand extended her arms completely — way out in front her — and used her hands to gesture as she said something close to this about her goal for building a community:
I want to build a community in which peers are talking to peers openly.
I’m sure she didn’t mean it the way it looked … Her hands were so far away from her. — or sounded … peers talking to peers?
I couldn’t help thinking … Where will YOU be? Studying me? Is that what you think of me? I’m not a peer. I’m a person. I only do well in places where people “get” me.
Users. Consumers. Buyers. Customers. Leads. Eyeballs. Peers. Those are faceless, flattening labels. They come from the time of one-size-fits-all.
People are individual human beings complete with aspirations, intentions, ideas, opinions, habits, behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.
Which community would you join?
More Communities and More Time for Them
Online social communities aren’t a new thing. People have been linking and sharing via blogs since the 20th century. Organized social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn have become a part of our lives.
Our communities are becoming more about communicating and being creative about what interests us. It’s all about making it relevant to the people we want to attract.
We’re participating more. We’re spending more time in communities. We’re building more of them. How do attract people to the communities we’re building that are perfect for them?
14 Keys to a Community that Builds Your Business for You
A building is not a business. A community is not a collection of profiles or a page on Facebook. People won’t visit our community because it’s pretty. People come because it offers them something they value.
If they value what you offer enough, those same customers will lend their heads, hearts, and hands to helping your business grow. They’ll not only help you build your business, but they’ll also protect it.
What attracts and creates a community that will do that?
From two people to more than plenty, a community is a social structure that shares personal values, cultural values, business goals, attitudes, or a world view. What binds it is a culture of social rules and group dynamics that identify members. In the most concise terms, an online social community is a group of like-minded individuals connected by relevant interactions and protected by a high-trust environment.
A high-trust community is an agreement, a pact or contract, like love or friendship. We can’t order, build, or wish our way to one. What we can do is attract people who want to join what we’re doing. The only way to do that is clear passionate commitment, obvious generosity, trustworthiness, and a touch of intentional serendipity … which looks something like this.
- Be a person (or people) who likes people. People work with, talk with, and relate to other people not a business.
- Articulate a clear and passionate vision worth investing in. Live your commitment. Get your hands dirty.
- Seek out people who would love what you’re doing. Find them where they are already gathering and talking. Join THEIR conversations. Get to know them.
- Be a beginner, but keep the vision. Learn from everyone who’s been anywhere near where you’re going. Learn to sort wrong from unexpected or different. Ideas that jar you could be the best ones.
- Invite everyone who “gets” the vision to help build this new thing. Look for ways to include their skills and their passions.
- Keep participation efficient and easy. Curb the urge to add cool things that get in the way of conversation and sharing.
- Let trust sort things. Model the standards of behavior. Keep rules to a minimum.
- Be visible authenticity. Lean toward full disclosure, but avoid over-exposure. Most of us look better with our clothes on.
- Protect everyone’s investment. Forgive mistakes. Ignore little missteps. Eradicate what is destructive. Know the difference by holding thing up to trust, values, and the community vision.
- Stop doing what isn’t working. Be lethal about keeping things easy, efficient, and meaningful.
- Promote your members … and honor your competition! Secure communities need both to thrive and get new ideas.
- Encourage mutation. Let the environment change to meet the changing needs of the people it serves.
- Celebrate contagion. Make it heroic to share what’s going on!
- Be grateful and always about the people. The community wouldn’t be a community without them.
An online community isn’t built or befriended, it’s connected by offering and accepting. Community is affinity, identity, and kinship that make room for ideas, thoughts, and solutions. What Is a Social Community?
It’s not “If You Build It, …”
It’s not if you build it, they will come. It’s if they build it, they’ll bring their friends.”
What attracts you to a community? What keeps you coming back again?
-ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!