Also published in Belong Magazine.
Where to start when building a community is one thing. How to go about building the “right” community that converts can feel paralyzing. Who do I reach out to? What is the right community for me and my business, and how do I find them?
Whether you’re a budding brand or wanting to get more out of your marketing, building the right community with confidence begins with three simple steps.
Why do you do what you do? Yes - It sounds so basic and a little clichéd, but I find myself regularly revisiting our purpose with my team. Our purpose is central to everything we do, including our marketing, product development, HR, and branding.
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO REVISIT YOUR PURPOSE, EVEN IF YOU’RE AN ESTABLISHED BRAND.
One of our favorite brands, Airbnb, weaves its purpose of “creating a sense of belonging around the world” in all they do. From their “Belong Anywhere” campaign, the stories shared from their community of hosts and guests, to allowing fans to create their own symbol of belonging, their purpose is central to their brand.
Think about your personal story or experience that inspired you to create your business. What is your why? Is your story easy for your fans to share with their friends?
What are the things you aren't willing to compromise? Your values and beliefs define who you are and what your brand stands for. They become the core of your community.
When you think about your own personal friends, they most likely share similar values as you. When building the right community for your brand, seek out partners, audiences, collaborators, and influencers that share your same values.
WHEN YOUR COMMUNITY ALIGNS WITH YOUR MINDSET, WORLD VIEWS, AND ASPIRATIONS, THEY BECOME LOYAL AND ENGAGED FANS.
For example, Patagonia’s values reflect those of a business started by a group of climbers and surfers – silent sports. Their definition of silent sports? “None require a motor; none deliver the cheers of a crowd.” Their values come from the connection between the individual and nature. What is Patagonia not willing to compromise? The simplicity and utility in product design, and their significant efforts in saving the health of our planet.
What does your community look like: What is on their to-do list? What do they read? What are their aspirations? Who are they following on Instagram? Go with your gut feeling, and start seeking out your community in the groups and places they most likely converge. You may find them in online communities, meet-up groups, community events, or conferences that reflect your own values.
How are you demonstrating your values and beliefs to the world and your fans? The first step is to write them down and share them. Think of your manifesto as your matchmaking profile and a way to connect with a community that believes in what you stand for. We were surprised to find how many people have come across our manifesto and reached out to us because they believe in our values.
Next time you’re meeting with someone or attending an event, instead of sharing what you do, try sharing your why and your brand’s values. When you see their faces light up and they connect with you emotionally, you’ve found your community.