After quitting my full-time job in advertising in October 2015, I dedicated all of that time to building a strong community of focused + hungry girlbosses. With my lens zoomed in on talking about the power of social media + personal growth as a business owner, I started to notice not only the growth of my brand, but also the quality interactions I was having on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. To be completely honest, I knew that I wanted to build a decent following, but I was not obsessed with the numbers. Like most online business owners, I wanted to have an extremely engaged community who felt comfortable asking me any and everything. With that idea in mind, I started to create a fairly simple strategy that would help me reach this goal.
If you've done the math, I've been community building since early 2009, but as of 2016 my community building strategy has become more purposeful and targeted. Before the social media engagement nerd takes over, let's get into how I've managed to create a highly engaged and actionable online community.
1. Network with a Purpose
"Networking," is a common term that comes up quite often in the social media world. Yes, you may be tired of hearing it and reading it, but it is something you just cannot ignore. But today, I am challenging you to take your networking skills to the next level by actually ...
- Suggesting a 15-minute phone conversation to learn about each others brands.
- Requesting quick Google Hangout interviews.
- Sending thank you notes to former clients + new girlbosses you have become acquainted with.
- Introducing yourself to new followers.
- Actively initiating conversations by tagging your girlboss friends + community members doing amazing things!
Networking does not have to be the same ol social media interactions we've all been doing!
2. Joint Webinars
Joint webinars are a fantastic way to share your expertise and build your very own online tribe! When you take time to invest in those who invest time into reading your blog, signing up for a webinar or those who even take time to stay connected with you via social media, they will continue to participate in any venture you host.
After hosting an amazing 14-day challenge and webinar with Summer of Lady Boss League, this collaboration helped me realize quite a few things about online community building:
- Collaborations are more than just increasing your numbers, it is more about the new bonds you will create with new community members.
- Joints webinars (well joint anything) is a great way for you to learn your fellow girlboss' strengths and passions
- Be ready to learn, learn, learn and learn some more!
3. Don't Sleep on the Power of Twitter
Twitter is one of my current obsessions, right now! One of the many reasons why, is the fact that I can build my online community in real time. Unlike other social media channels, I can tweet an inspirational quote, share a piece of advice or retweet a relevant piece of content and instantly gain a new member who wants to learn about my brand.
Let me clarify, yes there is a ton of crap on Twitter ... if you are not following and engaging with folks who tweet + share content that is purposeful. To help you put this into action, read my past post about 22 ways you can stand out online and gain inspiration from my 4 magical steps to slaying Twitter:
- Participate in Twitter Chats! Yes, they are not old news, they are actually fantastic ways to gain more quality followers who have similar interests.
- Create purposeful and powerful content that can educate, inspire or entertain someone.
- Please be consistent! Don't expect to grow your community if you show up and show out once every other year ... come on now!
- Share content from other folks in your community!
4. Leave Thoughtful Comments
You should be networking as often as possible! No matter which social media networks you are currently focused on building, you should make it a priority to leave thoughtful comments on accounts you come across. You never know where a kind comment or genuine interaction will lead you. Interestingly enough, about 75% of girlboss connections have been created through a simple comment.
5. BE THE EXPERT
Don't be afraid to be the voice of reason on your social properties. When building an online community, folks will look to you for advice, reassurance and inspiration. In my role as a social media coach, consultant, homie + teacher, I build my authority by simply sharing free tips and advice to those who need assistance. Being the expert comes from a place of love and genuine goal of wanting to help women build beautiful brands that they can be proud of, NOT wanting to gain power. When you keep this in mind, this is what will separate you from just gaining followers and actually building a strong community of like-minded people who want to learn how to build dynamic brands.
In order to be the expert and cultivate an online community you will begin to love + appreciate, here are 5 ways how:
- Share actionable tips that will help your community members enhance their business or their daily life.
- Share useful resources that have helped you become successful.
- Be transparent ... simple.
- Don't be afraid to be vocal on who you are, what you do and who you do it for!
- Be there ... make yourself accessible to answer questions and give advice.
6. Be Vocal
One of my favorite lines my mother said to me often when I was a child was, "Chakayla, closed mouths don't get fed." Growing up, I had no idea what she meant but as I got older it hit me, like a brick! Basically, if you do not take the time to talk about who you are and what you do in the online space (and in real life), how are we suppose to know?
Okay, before you exit stage left ... being vocal is not synonymous with boasting (that's just gross). Being vocal simply means your are creating brand transparency for your business. Without transparency, it will be harder for you to connect with your ideal audiences. Right now this idea of closed mouths don't get fed may seem like a foreign idea, but let me help you make it more relevant and tangible for your brand:
- Figure out your elevator pitch and share it as often as possible! Yes, this idea may sound silly, but when you become a business owner you will find that folks will be wondering what you do ... so why stumble trying to find the words? For instance, here is my elevator pitch: Hi, I'm Chakayla of Chakayla J. Taylor Online and I help amazing women create loyal + profitable online communities by way of social media marketing and email marketing!
- Send newsletters with actionable steps for your online community that will inspire them to create a brand they are proud of!
7. Positive Energy
"Good vibes recognize good vibes," is a quote that my girlboss bestie Shea of Shea What's Real shared with me earlier this week and it could not be more relevant! When you reflect a positive and genuine energy to wanting to build, connect and engage with the folks in your online community, it will show others how dedicated you are to your brand and those who are apart of your brand. Please remember, your brand is managed by you but it belongs to your online community.
I N V E S T I N G in your online community means that you are taking time to ensure that they are well educated, informed and inspired by the content you share. Just think about it, who wants to interact with a grouchy, mean and over-worked girlboss? I'll answer that for you, absolutely no one! After you finish this post, I want to encourage you to share on your social channels why you are grateful for your online community. Get to work!
8. Be Yourself
How difficult could this be Chakayla? Well, for some this is very hard to do, especially in the online space. But one thing I've learned over these past seven years as a blogger is that pretending to be someone else is just exhausting. And let's be real, we can usually catch when someone is trying to sell us a false dream or when they are building a facade of who they really are. When I stopped pretending and conforming to what folks wanted me to be, that was the moment my breakthrough happened. There aren't any actionable steps that I could provide to you that will encourage you to be yourself, just embrace that it will take faith, conviction and patience.