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A community can be formed in many ways. This can be done, for example, via social media, offline events or by creating an online forum. To create a community on social media, you need to post content that attracts people who share the same interests as you. You also need to make sure that the content is interesting enough to keep them coming back for more. But actually you need to do four main things to go in the right direction:
Define the core values of yourself and your community.
Go live regularly (at least once a week).
Use the common language of your target audience (through qualitative studies and conversations you identify pain points and needs of your audience).
Content co-creation (e.g. integrating and tagging people you’ve interviewed in your podcast and Q&A sessions).
Here’s how I took these four steps to build my community, and it will work for your brand too if you’re willing to run and answer a few questions:
Related: 3 Examples of How to Build a Strong Brand Community
Define yourself and your community’s core values
This first step was already hard for me, because I wasn’t really sure of my core values. “What exactly is a value?” I asked myself. I am from Germany and being on time is also a value for many people. I thought about my existing customers and what they think about artificial intelligence. They are all fascinated by AI and use it almost daily. A common thought I heard during my live shows was that AI is a powerful tool and is here to help people. So I wrote that down, “AI is a tool, not a human replacement.”
The other thing I thought about a lot is that I’m very focused on these tools, and I could do this all day – testing new tools and giving regular feedback – but most people don’t like testing new tools. So this is a big pain point for many companies, and CEOs struggle to convince their teams because they are afraid of being replaced. So I wrote down, “People and training first. AI second.” It made sense for me to define this approach and make sure it’s our responsibility to educate people so they can use AI properly and ethically.
It’s important to find your people and build a community with core values. That could be a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. The idea is that you build an audience of people who are interested in the same things as you. However, a community is not just a group of people who share the same interests. It’s more than that – it’s a group of people who share the same values and beliefs, which creates an emotional bond between them.
Values can be a powerful tool to drive change in your business, but they must be authentic. Values can be used to influence behavior, create meaning for employees and customers, attract talent, build trust with customers, set standards for service or product quality, and achieve business goals. A company’s values must align with its mission statement and create an emotional bond between the company and its customers. Core values should be a clear expression of who you are as a company or organization, but also what you stand for.
The clearer you are about your core values, the easier it is for you to build trust with customers. So be sure to ask yourself these questions:
What do you want to stand for as a company?
What do you want to represent?
What are the beliefs that drive your decisions?
Once you have the answers to these questions, make sure they are communicated internally and externally so that they guide every decision and action taken by everyone in the company.
Related: A Successful Online Community Needs These Key Elements
Go live regularly (at least once a week)
Going live regularly is one of the core components of community building. You just have to make sure that it’s not just about your products and services. It has to go deeper than that and have real value to the people you want in your community – which builds trust. This is a very iterative process! When I started out, I spoke to my interview guests about broader topics such as content marketing and sales. Then I was introduced to the world of AI-generated content and thought, “That’s really cool! I want to learn more about all these tools and the founders,” so I launched a new concept and started interviewing CEOs of software companies.
By going live and interviewing those people, I have built strong relationships with them and have also started to work more closely with them. Some became customers, some became cooperation partners and we support each other. The key point here is that going live and creating content together is a very strong approach to building trust online.
Use your target audience’s common language
This sounds like a big step, but it’s very easy to do with a survey you run. I did a simple Google survey and sent it to all my interview guests within the AI niche. They responded with quotes, concerns, and struggles they have in their heads. One common thing was that they didn’t have time to create content for themselves. Even if they are CEOs of AI-generating software, they couldn’t sit down for 60 minutes to go live or write a blog article. This was fascinating to me because I didn’t have that on my radar, but through this survey I got into the conversation in their head and used their own words for my own content campaigns.
Related: Building an Online Community People Will Love
This is really where the magic happens. Content co-creation is still under the radar of many entrepreneurs. The idea is simple: people support what they create. This means that if you have questions from the chat or live interaction, for example, you can create additional content from their questions. You reuse the content they produce. Always mention these people and tag those who have appeared on your show. You can upload your live show and create micro-content pieces from the larger video. People who are tagged are likely to share and like it because their name appears in this content. Doing this all the time makes people feel appreciated when they ask questions and show up – that’s how you build a strong community.
The important thing to remember is that this is an iterative process. A good starting point is to get in touch with potential customers or cooperation partners and to talk to them. As marketers, we need to stop being too much in our own heads and be empathetic and get inside the minds of our customers and partners. Follow these steps to start your own community. and run them. The journey may not be easy, but it will be worth it.