I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – when you are working hard to build the life of your dreams or have decided that you just want to learn something new, finding a community within your niche is an important step to obtaining your goal.
If you don’t think you need to build a community while starting your own journey, check out my other post – Why you need to find your community ASAP, no matter what niche you’re in.
If you want to build your community online, or even in-person, but you’re unsure of where to start, here are 5 tips (plus one bonus tip!) to get started today.
Tip #1: Choose a platform to host your community
The first thing you need to decide on is how your community will come together. Whether you want to gather in-person or online, you need to decide on a place and time that will work best.
For my online community, for example, I reviewed platforms such as Facebook Groups, Reddit, and Discord. These options are free and easy to use, and there are many people that are already familiar with the apps, so chances are, there won’t be a big learning curve to pick them up.
However, there are also various paid options out there, if you prefer building a community on one of those. I’ve never used them, so I can’t comment on how well they work, but I’m sure a Google search will help you find one.
If you’re trying to create an in-person community, you’ll still need a platform for communicating events and keeping members engaged. The free apps I mentioned above work great for this, or there are other options like group chats, Messenger, Meetup, and more!
Tip #2: Start posting relevant content
To attract members into your community, you need to start posting content, whether on your website or social media, to attract others with the same interests. For example, if you’re niche is writing, and you want to build a writing community, then you need to start talking about writing for other writers to find you.
If you’re wanting to build a local community, make sure you make it relevant to locals. Maybe you can post about your favourite local places to write, or where to find your favourite local coffee. There are many relevant posts you can add to your socials and website, or even to forum sites like Reddit, to meet new people with the same interests.
Don’t forget the importance of hashtags!
Tip #3: Join discussions that are relevant on other platforms
While you’re busy posting to your website and social media, as well as your platform of choice, make sure that you’re paying attention to others that are posting about the same thing!
Reach out to others that are relevant in your community, either through commenting on their posts or trying to interact with them in another way. They may not check their messages on socials, so it’s better to reply to their posts and comments so that they are notified about them right away.
Other ways to meet others and join discussions is to go out to events! Whether in-person or virtual events – there will be options out there!
If you’re looking to build a community of fitness gurus, then going to exercise classes or joining on online fitness group may help you meet others that may be interested in your community. They might even be willing to help you build your community by inviting others they have met along their own personal journeys!
Tip #4: Define a strategy for engaging your community members
Now you’ve started to build your community – it may be only one or two members, but that is a great start! Next, you need to figure out a way to keep them engaged so that your community continues to build without losing members along the way.
What you do to keep them engaged will depend on the type of community and platform you’re building. Some examples that I’ve tried, however, include:
- Regular challenges, such a monthly writing challenges, weekly writing sprints (from a writing perspective);
- Regular events, such as meeting for brunch once a month, creating a monthly book club, or planning to attend an event together, such as an online webinar or an in-person event, like a concert, convention, etc.
- Check in on a regular basis – even if it’s just a simple “Hi, how are you?”
- Ask your members what they would like to see the community do – they might have some great ideas that you haven’t thought of to keep them engaged.
Once you have a strategy, follow it, and see how the community members respond. Keep open dialogue with them and be prepared to change your strategy as the community evolves or new members join.
Tip #5: Give your community a name
To help build camaraderie within your community, it needs to have a name! You can wait until after a small group of members has joined and then come up with the name together. Or, if you have a specific niche, you could try to come up with a name that might entice more members to join – assuming you can make it intriguing enough for those in the same niche as you.
Either way, you need to find a name! There are always name generators online if you feel really stuck. Just choose something that relates to your niche so that it’s easier to tell what your community is about.
Now for the bonus tip!!
Bonus tip: Support your members!
You’ve done all this work to build your community, including building a strategy that keeps them engaged and giving it a name that every member relates to. Now comes an important next step – don’t forget that these members are supporting you, but they will leave if they don’t feel supported back.
You don’t want to build this community and assume they’ll stick around. They’re also on their own personal journeys and have their own personal goals. A community is a two-way street – it will only give back to you how much you have put into it.
So, lend a hand, be a supportive friend, and help out your members if the opportunity comes up. Of course, this doesn’t mean sending money or doing things for free that you would typically charge for – you don’t want to be taken advantage of. However, maybe you can offer to guest post on their blog or support a post that you agree with by liking and commenting on it. You can even just be someone that listens when they’re going through a tough time.
Your community is important, so make sure that once you grow it, you don’t forget to keep it going by being the supportive leader that you are.
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These are the tips that I followed when starting to build my community. My community continues to evolve and grow as new members join and our needs shift, but I’ll always be grateful for my communities – both virtually and in-person.
Do you have any other tips or advice for growing (and maintaining) your community in your niche?