Some people assume that building an online community is a walk in the park. You choose a platform, sign up for an account, maybe design some pretty images on Canva with your brand colors and fonts… sounds simple enough, right?
But once you get past these hurdles, you’re suddenly faced with the reality of finding people who want to join your community and even more importantly–and often bafflingly–you discover that getting them to engage with the rest of the community is hard work.
Here’s an important tip: Before you begin actively attracting and bringing new people into your community, create a strategy for how you’ll get people engaged. Is this a matter of putting the cart before the horse? No, and here’s why…
Why Engagement Matters
There are people who have built an impressive list of social media followers or even an email list, but can’t get those people to click a link, make a post, or purchase a product. Why aren’t they able to get people to take action? The list owners have missed an important truth:
At the core of any community is a 2-way conversation between you and your audience.
Once you embrace this principle, you’ll quickly realize two more important things:
1 – The number of “followers” you have doesn’t correlate to your engagement level (or your income). Why? Followers follow. And until they’re trained to engage with you, they can’t be part of the 2-way conversation you’d like to have.
2 – A small engaged group is mightier than a large uninterested one. The more engaged group you have, the more value you can all get out of the community.
3 Simple Ways to Inspire Engagement
When it boils down to it, building a community online is no different from building one IRL (in real life). If people are following you, you need to take interest and foster those relationships.
Here are some simple ways to do so:
1 – Add value. Ask yourself: What can you bring to the table that your audience might not have in their day-to-day lives? What can they learn from you? How can you establish yourself as the go-to on the topic of your community?
2 – Be responsive. No one likes the feeling of being ghosted, so don’t do that to those who take interest in you. If someone posts a comment, respond to them! Take the time to interact with community members who reach out to you.
3 – Ask people to share stories. People love telling stories and sharing their opinions. Become a conduit for this type of communication between people. Not only will you engage more people within your community, but you’ll get to know one another on a more significant level.
These 3 simple methods that inspire engagement will bring a different energy to your community. Before you start reaching out to people to join, you need to show your prospects why your community is worth their time. Engage with your audiences, both warm and cold. If your community is an enjoyable place for people to be, they’ll spend more time in it.