Learn why community is the secret ingredient to creating a super successful business that fuels your passion with regular, consistent income.
If you’ve been hanging around these parts for a while, you would have heard me talk about the Maker Academy community, and how happy it makes me that you’re a part of it.
As a seller, maker or creative, your work is an extension of what you do.
Your heart and soul that goes into what you produce and it’s this heart and soul that helps you stand out from the crowd.
It’s this heart centered approach that connects with your potential customers. These customers become your community.
And community is everything. Especially when you’re building your business.
As a maker, it’s likely you’re working alone on your craft, spending time behind your laptop taking care of business and I know there have been countless times you’ve had to say no to friend dates because you’ve got work on.
And I know that saying no to friends, family or opportunities so you can work on building your business and dream life can feel kind of lonely.
Perhaps you’re like me and Elliot who, on more than one occasion, have found themselves in the kitchen having a serious conversation about walking away from it all.
Because the sales aren’t there. And the time it’s taking to grow is longer than you thought. And part of you is jealous of the people who are happy working a regular 9 - 5.
It’s in these moments when things get hard, or people don’t understand why you’re giving your all to something that may not actually work, that your community matters.
Your community isn’t just your peers either. While it’s great to get support and motivations from other folks in your niche, your community also includes the customers you currently have and the ones you’re trying to reach.
I might have a day where nothing is working and I’m stressed and tired when I get an email from someone who has enjoyed a podcast or just had their next 100 followers come effortlessly after doing our course.
It’s these small things that help me stay with it, that make it clear why I’m here and sacrificing a “normal” life for something greater.
It’s community which becomes the building blocks of a successful business.
Creating a genuinely connected community is makes the business side of things much easier. You have people engaging with your content, sharing your brand and spreading the word about your business without you having to try.
Focusing on building a community means you’ll develop a long standing relationship with customers who come back time and time again.
And this is what moves businesses forward. It’s not the quick sales but the ones who continue to come back that really take you to the next level.
The fact is, community is part of the reason why people buy from independent creators like you and me.
But if you need even more convincing, the more people that join your community, the greater your brand exposure and more opportunities you have to make sales.
I’m sharing 3 ways you can start cultivating your community and grow your business.
Be an active community member
Building a community around your brand means you are an active member in that community.
You start a conversation with your posts, answer questions and show a genuine interest in the people around you.
This last point is really important. The best way to grow your community is to show genuine interest in the people following you.
The simplest way to do this is to be human. Show that you’re interested in their opinions, their work, their lives.
You can do this by visiting their websites or blogs and commenting on their posts.
This gesture can help you build a long-lasting relationship and who knows, you might even find you biggest buyer, superfan or next business bestie.
Let people get to know the real you
Community is all about resonance.
People want to connect with the brains behind the brands.
And thanks to social media, you can effectively take down the curtain of the business and cultivate a personal connection with your community.
Instagram is especially excellent at developing this all-important personal connection.
Instagram is so great because discovering and connecting with people is the sole purpose of the platform.
It’s also the second most popular social media platform behind Facebook, and if you’re targeting people aged between 18 - 45, chances are most of your followers are on there.
The approach you take on your feed may be more promotional but features like Live and Stories allow you to speak directly with your community.
These features allow your audience to get to know you more intimately through short videos that either stay up for 24 hours if you’re using stories or disappears immediately once you stop filming if you’re going Live.
Content on these features would be different to what you post in your feed.
You can use stories or live for community connection by giving folks a glimpse into your creative process, insight into a day in your life, or you make a big announcement.
If Instagram isn’t your thing, Facebook has a Live option or could try it hosting a Twitter chat or doing a Q&A on SnapChat.
Share Content from Community Members
Sharing content from your community is a great way to strengthen relationships and grow your reach.
If you have a branded hashtag, or customers tag you in posts that feature your products, share this content on your social platforms.
At Maker Academy, we share items we love from community members who use #makeracademy in our stories.
Not only is it our way of high-fiving these makers, but it shows them we’re committed to their success and value them as members of our community.
It also has the added bonus of helping you finding fresh content for your social media posts.
That’s a wrap!