There is nothing as interesting and heart-warming as having an engaged and active online community of raving fans.
It gives you a sense of belonging to something big and rewarding.
It makes you feel important and loved.
Of course, humans are by nature social beings who crave to be part of a community.
This is why we have things like, Women Association, Cultism, Youth Fellowship, etc. in our community.
Everybody wants to belong to one group or the other.
Have you ever looked at successful entrepreneurs, sportsmen, musicians, footballers, etc and admire the way people love and adore them?
Their words are taken like the gospel.
When they speak everybody halts and listens.
People talk about them happily as if it is their job.
Sometimes, they are literally worshiped like semi-gods.
People nod even when what they are saying doesn’t make sense.
That is the power of having an engaged community of raving fans.
It is human nature to desire to be in a community of people with one heart and purpose.
According to Seth Godins, “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader and connected to an idea. For a group to be a tribe, all you need do is have a shared interest and a way to communicate”.
When you have that group of dedicated and connected tribe, you won’t bother about getting huge traffic anymore or selling your products. Ever!
So, stop running after one traffic strategy or the other and start building a community around your blog and brand. That is what will matter five to ten years from now.
So, do yourself a favour and start building a community around your blog and brand.
That is what will matter five to ten years from now.
Note: Throughout this post, I will be using community and tribe interchangeably.
Your community/tribe doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t have to be an email list or social media followers of 10,000 people.
You just need a dedicated group of people who are genuinely interested in what you do.
Believe totally in you so much that they tell everybody they know about you.
In fact, sometimes, your community is much more important than your online business itself.
Even if your business fails today and you start again tomorrow, your community will be right there to support you all the way.
They are the people who will buy your products and services happily.
They are the ones that will sing your praise to their friends and family.
They are the ones who will defend you behind your back.
A lot of people focus so much on getting traffic to their blogs than building a community of raving fans.
Nothing can replace an active online community.
You will not get loyalty from your community if all you want is to rip them off to make quick bucks and disappear.
People want to be part of a movement that is compelling and powerful.
Once they feel that they belong to something bigger and higher than them, they become dedicated.
Passion is a really contagious thing. That’s why I preach a lot about starting a blog around your passion.
When you’re sincere, authentic and passionate about what you do, you’ll surely get a community around what you do.
The best way to get people interested in what you do is to be genuinely interested in others and also passionate about what you do.
Give them so much value that they feel guilty for not buying your product or service.
DO what you can to improve their lives in any way possible. The more help you give to your tribe, the more valuable you become to them.
Don’t see yourself as a mere blogger. See yourself as a leader who is leading and influencing a whole generation.
A lot of people depend on your words to act or succeed in life and so, you can’t afford to play it small and become an average entrepreneur that nobody notices.
The social media further made community building super easy that anybody with a SmartPhone and an internet connection could sit in the comfort of his bedroom to practically influence thousands of people all over the world.
The social media has made the world to be at our fingertips.
It doesn’t require special skills or certificates.
Anybody who can read and write can be a social media influencer and community leader.
All you need to do is to show up and be the hero, then, you’d see the world racing to your doorstep.
About three years ago, I was a total nobody in the online space but when I became intentional about community building, I started seeing amazing results in terms of engagement, loyalty, and followership.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you, how you as an online business owner or personal brand can build an online community of raving fans using the social media
#1. Know Your Audience
The first step to building an online community of raving fans is to know who your audience are.
You will struggle to communicate your value and passion with your community if you don’t really know who they are.
Every time you publish an article, video or podcast, you must have one person in mind.
Knowing your audience will keep you focused and consistent no matter what result you’re getting. When you have no idea about who your audience are, you will be confused.
Today you will post about animals, tomorrow you’d be talking about sports. Your audience will assume you don’t know what you’re doing and will not pay attention to you anymore.
To know and identify your audience, you should be able to effectively communicate your values, interest and passion with them.
If you want to attract football lovers, you should be talking about football.
If fashion is your thing, then share your love for fashion.
Your pictures, videos and articles should reflect your passion.
It is important that you categorically state on your profile the kind of people you want to have in your community.
“I help people start and build successful online businesses via Blogging and the Social Media.”
Anybody who visits your social media profile will have a glimpse of what you do.
Another way to know your audience is to pay attention to what content they engage with the most.
Do you get more engagement when you talk about sport, business, fashion or money?
For me, I get more engagement when I talk about online business, blogging and my personal story.
Create a customer avatar or Ideal Customer Profile to know who your audience are.
I’ll give you a glimpse of who my Ideal Customer Profile is, and then you can create yours from mine.
Income level: #10,000-#100,000
Marital status: single
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Life goals: To build a successful online business
Biggest challenges: Starting a business, getting clients, creating quality contents, etc
Greatest fears: Failing, poverty, etc
With the ICP above I can know who I should expect to have in my tribe.
#2. Show up and be Visible
If you don’t show up, nobody will notice you.
Don’t wait until you’re good enough or ready enough.
At first, you won’t get lots of attention and engagement. Just keep showing up and giving value.
You have to show up because someone somewhere is waiting for the manifestation of your gift and talent.
You have to show up because in doing so, you are unconsciously giving others permission to do same.
A lot of people depend on your voice to start their life journey or to rise above where they are.
Showing up is not always fun at first but the result is usually huge.
By showing up, I mean you should start where you are and use what you have to reach out to your tribe and lead them.
Showing up means taking action right away and being intentional about building an engaged online community of raving fans.
Show up with all that you are – passion, pain, failure, success, quirkiness and all.
Don’t worry about the little engagement you’d be getting at first. Just be committed to giving out your very best.
#3. Be Yourself
When building a tribe around your brand, being YOU is the best gift you can give to them.
Don’t try to be the next Beyonce or Rihana because those women are already taken.
Don’t fake a British accent on your video or podcast. People will notice your fakeness and turn away.
Don’t pose with a car or a very big and nice house with the intention of making them believe that you’re super rich.
I know of guys on Facebook who live a fake life.
Their posts irritate me because they’re always talking about money and every irrelevant thing under the sun.
One is either ranting about how he lost $1,000 to a scammer or the other is asking people to buy his Paypal funds worth $2,000.
However, when you look at the lives of these guys, you’d realize that they have nothing. In fact, they’re totally broke.
As someone who is building a community, this should not be you.
When you are real, you know who you’re truly are.
People like people who are real.
When you’re being real, you attract a tribe that values you for who you are.
But when you live a fake life, you place a barrier on the real you.
When people discover that you’ve been fooling them all along, they will leave you and never come back.
Never be afraid to show the real you because there will always be people out there who will share in your awkwardness and appreciate all that you are.
#4. Be Genuinely Interested in Others
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people that you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you” – Dale Carnegie
If you desire to have an engaged online community of raving fans, you must first show that you care about them.
When you show genuine interest in others and in what they do, you create a bond with them and also earn their respect and loyalty.
There are many ways you can show genuine interest in others.
You can start by openly asking what they are struggling with presently.
When I asked the question above on facebook, I got 63 responses. I was surprised at the number of people who wanted to learn new skills.
Urge them to ask questions at the end of every post you publish. Look out for questions in the comment box and answer to the best of your ability.
When you come across an opportunity that will benefit your tribe, inform them.
Just like the Holy Bible says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn”
Whenever a member of your community has something to celebrate like birthday, wedding, matriculation, convocation, and so on, be sure to celebrate with them.
Sometimes, go out of your way to find out what challenges some of them are facing.
Doing all these things make people feel indebted to you and will reciprocate whenever they have the chance to.
#5. Be Consistent
Consistency is very important if you desire to build an engaged online community.
People will not take you seriously if they see your content once in a blue moon.
Every successful individual you see today attained that height because they stayed longer enough than everyone.
You may never know the power of consistency until you practice it.
Before a million Youtube video views, there were days of zero view.
Before a thousand Facebook “like”, there were days of two “like”.
You may not have the most engaged online community today, but what will happen in 5 or 10 years from now.
Will you still be there when your tribe finally shows up to celebrate you?
Will you be there when eyeballs have started noticing your work?
Will you get upset and quit social media because you think it’s a waste of time?
It is not always fun to keep doing stuff when people don’t appreciate it yet. But there’s power in consistency.
When you’re consistent, you have the chance to try what works and what does not.
You can’t build an engaged online community if you are constantly going off and on.
No matter how long it takes, consistency usually pays off.
It takes twenty years to become an overnight success. – Eddie Cantor
Make sure you’re doing the right thing and are targeting the right audience. Don’t give up too soon on your effort.
After all the hard work you’ve put in to be visible online, you deserve some pat on the back.
But lemme tell you something.
People are watching…
You may not realize it, you are changing someone’s life somewhere.
You are influencing an entire generation.
Most people make some decisions based on your opinions.
People are observing from the corners of their rooms.
They nod their heads when they see your stuff online.
You may get few likes and comments on your posts but people are watching.
It is not the size of the audience that matters but the authenticity of your message.
Will you be there when the size of your audience increases?
Getting hundreds of likes and comments is cool but never base the amount of impact and influence you have on those metrics.
You may not get huge results immediately but people are watching.
Will you be there 5-10 years to come when we look for you?
Or will you be busy chasing every shiny object? Running pillar to post.
I’ve been active online for over a year now and I can say that the results have been overwhelming.
I get 80% of my clients from social media.
I get speaking gigs (which I decline most times because of my schedule), writing gigs, interview opportunities and a lot of other things.
Whenever I meet a former classmate, what they tell me is, “I’m following your work on Facebook”
I just smile.
I’ve had people contact me from UK, Florida, Ghana etc to appreciate me or work with me because of me simply showing up.
Oh no! I don’t have special talent and skill.
I’m just your normal Nigerian guy with a Will to bless the world with my gift.
When you post things online be strategic about it.
Let your posts be the light that brightens people’s lives.
Don’t just post random things, sit and hope that people like it.
Be known for something online so that when someone needs your service or skill, you’re the first person that comes into their mind.
Whether you like it or not, you’re a brand. Every article, picture, and video you share sends a message about you to others.
People are watching everything you do.
I will end with this quote by Israelmore:
“Sow the seeds of hard work and you will reap the fruits of success. Find something to do, do it with all your concentration. You will excel.
Show the world you are not here to just pass through. Leave great footprints wherever you pass and be remembered for the change you initiated.
Flow wherever you go. You can’t be limited. Dare to rise above all limitations and become better than you were. Strive to arrive at the top.” –Israelmore Ayivore
People are watching!
#6. Be A Leader
You may not know it, one of the reasons people identify with tribes and communities is that they want to be lead.
They want someone who will hold them in the hand and show them the way.
People want to be part of a movement that is clear, compelling and invites them to be part of the story.
Once they feel that they are being led by a hero, they will passionately follow and become loyal members of your community.
You should display your expertise and knowledge to your community so that whenever they need your service, you’d be the go-to-guy.
If you display the features of a good leader your tribe will gladly follow you.
7 Leadership Qualities and Attributes of Great Leaders – An infographic by the team at Brian Tracy International
#7. Give Immense Value
One of the reasons people follow others is because of the value they think they could get from them.
If all you do is share pictures of nice cloths and expensive watch, people will keep off from you.
Provide such massive value to your community that they’ll feel guilty about it if they don’t tell their friends and family about you. It’s not every time you ask your customers to buy buy buy, most of the time you give give give.
As a community leader, your content should be thought-provoking, inspiring or educating.
Whatever your audience regard as value, give it to them.
Build an online community is more about giving than receiving.
Sometimes, things you would have sold for a huge amount of money, you could decide to give it out for free.
And boy! Who doesn’t like free things?
Giving value does not always have to be giving out free stuff.
You could give out your premium stuff at a discounted price for the first 10-20 persons.
It could also mean, giving out cash gift, airtime, fairly used stuff, domain name, etc. Don’t just throw out free stuff to them, make sure they earn it.
Whatever you’re giving out should be what your tribe will have an interest in.
#8. Be Sincere and Authentic
At all time, your content must be authentic. Don’t be fast to spread rumors.
Verify every information before sharing it.
For no reason should you mislead your audience.
Don’t tell them you bought something for #30,000 when you bought it for #5,000. When they find out, they will find it difficult trusting next time.
One lie could nullify a thousand truth.
People are naturally drawn to sincere and authentic people.
Do not lie about anything about you.
Check your profile to correct every misinformation about you.
You should not have something like: “lives in Texas” in your profile meanwhile you live in Abakiliki, Nigeria.
When people discover any faulty information about you, they will stop listening to whatever you have to say.
Be true to yourself and community and you will have an active community of raving fans forever.
#9. Share your story
Story is as old as human existence. Right from the time of our fore-fathers important messages and lessons have been shared via stories.
Storytelling is one of our favorite communication tools and gives us all a better experience of life.
We all love stories – both old and young.
That’s why entertainment industries like Zee World, Telemundo, Nollywood, Hollywood have capitalized on this fact to build million-dollar businesses around storytelling alone.
If you want your community to connect with you in a deeper level, then you must be willing and ready to share your personal story.
Stories make you appear human. It shows that you’re not perfect that you make mistakes too.
I have to come realize that the posts that talk about my personal experiences get the most engagement.
People are drawn to stories.
The good thing about sharing your stories is that, it is authentic. Nobody can own your story and experience. Your story is unique to you.
No matter how perfect our lives seems, everybody has got a story to tell.
But you must make your story compelling and inviting. Note that everybody can tell a story but not everybody can tell a compelling story.
Let your story be one that moves people to tears or action.
Let it be one that challenges them to take the bull by the horn. It doesn’t have to be perfect and all good.
Share the stories of your loss, pains, mistakes and failures. Also share your joy, victory, and success.
Your story is as valid as your dream, share it.
Don’t be afraid or ashamed that people will judge and misunderstand you. That’s natural and you should be expecting it.
However, your focus should be on helping your tribe with your story.
It’s ok not to share personal stories you don’t feel comfortable sharing. It’s your life and so you alone should decide what you want to share or not.
Remember that whatever you share online cannot be taken back, even though you delete it. So, you have to be really careful of what you share.
And again, your story should not only be compelling it should be relevant to your audience.
If you’re targeting football lovers, you should be sharing stories about your bad or good days in the football field.
It should be stories they want to hear.
In the case where your story is not directly relevant to your audience, make sure that you share moral lessons and principles from the story you’re sharing.
Read my story of how I started blogging here that got over 60 comments and 10,000 views since I published it.
That’s the power of telling stories your tribe could relate to.
#10. Challenge Them
There are times in our lives when we are sluggish in achieving our goals or pursuing our dreams and what could help us is a little push.
A little motivation
Share thought-provoking content from time to time.
Share stories of someone who is still chasing their dreams despite their difficulties.
It could be a story of a blind web developer or the CEO of a company without a university degree.
Challenge them at all time to go beyond their limitations and reach out for the stars.
Articles like this could serve as a great challenge for many: 15 Most Successful People With Disabilities.
#11. Ask Questions
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.” He knows that if you keep asking questions you can keep finding better answers.
When you ask your audience the right question, in most cases depending on the level of connection, they will pour out their hearts to tell you their challenges.
Ask questions from time to time. It could be when you want to take an important decision in your life or business. Show them that they are important and are part of your life.
Ask questions if you want to make a major change in your product, service or anything.
Ask them if the price of your product is affordable or not.
Ask them what other topics they would like you to talk about in the future.
Asking questions does not in anyway suggest weakness or ignorance.
According to Innovation Management, “In fact asking questions is a sign of strength and intelligence – not a sign of weakness or uncertainty. Great leaders constantly ask questions and are well aware that they do not have all the answers.”
Intelligent questions provoke, inspire and inform your audience. It compels them to speak out their mind.
#12. Ask For favours (sometimes)
From the subtitle above, I said you should ask for favours sometimes.
Not always. Not every day.
They are your tribe, your family. You’ve been giving them value without holding anything back, it is only right they support you when you need them most.
Assuming you were nominated for an award, politely ask your community to vote you.
This is the time to test their loyalty.
If you’ve been of help to them, they will gladly vote you. After all, what are family for?
#13. Be Human
People follow people and not companies.
So, show that human part of you.
Share pictures of you eating or chilling out with your family.
Share pictures of your kids, spouse, parents or childhood memory. Share only those things you are comfortable with.
Show that quirky part of you. Don’t hide it.
There are plenty of people who will resonate with your particular brand of quirkiness.
But only if you let it show.
Weirdness stands out. Weirdness is remembered. And weirdness — as long as you’re not insulting, degrading, or a train wreck — can make your brand seriously unforgettable and your community insanely in love with you.
There’s this particular lady on Facebook (Chioma Madueke) I love so much. She’s everything social media should be like.
She shares everything without holding back. And of course, she has a very engaged community.
I am one of her fans.
Don’t say what will people think of me when I share this or that. Most times, people don’t really care.
Just share your humanness and breathe peace of mind.
You may be wondering why guys with silly and funny posts get the most engagement. It is because we relate to people with weirdness in some way.
Being human does not mean you have to be funny, it means that you should be real and be yourself.
It is not every time you will be serious. Crack some jokes too.
Share funny posts that entertain your community and make them laugh.
#14. Be Passionate
Before you ever build an active online community of raving fans, command any kind of respect and be noticed, people have to see you live and breathe your passion.
There’s nothing as contagious as passion. It can move an army of ten thousand soldiers to war. Passion can dry the sea, swallow the mountains and darken the sun.
Be passionate about what you do and people can’t help but notice your brand and all it’s worth.
When people see the passion that reflects in what you say and do, they’d have no choice but to key into it.
Passion motivates people. It drives them to go beyond their limits.
It moves people to do what they thought was impossible.
It makes people practically obsessed by your content and message.
#15. Do something That is Unique to Your tribe
There are some special friends in your life that you greet in a special way when you meet them.
Most social groups wear some kind of uniform to stand out when they attend special functions.
This is typical of women associations in Nigeria.
Same thing wit the church choir.
As a community leader, you can do something that is only unique to your community.
It could be the way you write, a logo on all your pictures or something special that your community members could identify from afar.
For me, my social media posts are usually conversational, lengthy and sprinkled with lots of jokes.
I also use hashtags that are unique to me alone.
#MaverickCelebrate: I use it when I am talking about something worth celebrating.
#MaverickPromote: I use it when I am promoting an event, product, etc for my community members
#MaverickStory: I use it when I am sharing personal stories or experience
#MaverickBirthday: I use it when I am celebrating other people’s birthday
#MaverickPodcast: For my podcast show
#MaverickBlogTips: I use it when I am sharing blog tips with my community.
When you do these things, you create a kind of cult following. People become obsessed with you.
#16. Sell to them
Let me guess: you didn’t see this coming.
What is the point of having an engaged online community if you can’t make money from them?
It’s like marrying a beautiful wife that can’t bear you children. No matter how beautiful she is, you will never be satisfied.
From time to time, sell something to your community.
Again, this is another test of their loyalty to you.
If they only enjoy your free stuff and are not willing to buy your premium content, then you should look closely if you’re in the midst of the right people.
Stop thinking if they will buy from you or not. The only way to find out is to sell something to them.
It could be your own product or affiliate products (promoting other company’s product for a commission).
You only need to know how to package your skill, knowledge or experience into an irresistible offer and sell them.
I can tell you that 80% of my products and services are bought by my online community on Facebook.
When packaging your premium offer, you should consider things like pricing. Let your offer be affordable to your audience. Your pricing should depend on your type of audience – are they students, entrepreneurs, business owners, employees etc.
Forget about what people will say. If you don’t sell something to your community, you will remain broke.
Don’t listen to people who will say you’re salesy and desperate.
If there’s no money to fuel your passion, sooner or later, you’d feel discouraged and will want to give up.
So, it is ok to sell your stuff to your tribe.
How To Package Your Products/Services To Sell
- Video Tutorials
- Live Workshop/training
- online courses
- Content creation
- web development/design
- Graphic Design
- Podcast Editing
Look at that thing you know very well and your audience will be interested in learning, package and sell it.
In the case where you don’t have anything to sell, register as an affiliate in some online companies and promote their products through your unique affiliate link to your community.
You can also become a brand ambassador to brands and promote their products to your audience.
These tips on How To Attract Advertisers To Your Blog That Pay You For Your Traffic will also help you monetize your audience.
Some Rules That Should Guide You As A Community Leader
- Be careful of talking about sensitive issues (like religion, politics, etc) you don’t have good knowledge of.
- Not every issue should be solved in public, take them private.
- Never be caught in useless argument and exchange of words. It doesn’t speak well of your brand.
- Answer every question asked by your community members. Ignoring people is frustrating.
- You have the right to delete or keep any negative comment that is meant to degrade, defame or insult you.
- Don’t reply to any comment when you are angry.
- Ignore some comments from social media trolls.
- For no reason should you insult anybody openly.
- Let all your content be to either inform, entertain, inspire or educate. You should never share anything that ignites hate, anger or that cause disunity and quarrel. There are times, these things happen beyond your control. Make sure you handle it maturely.
- Respect other people’s opinions no matter how contradicting it is to yours.
Building an online community is not as difficult as it seems.
You just have to show up and share your stuff with the world.
Even if you cannot afford to get a website or blog to start your online business yet, you can start from the social media to have a feel of the online world.
Do you have any question, suggestion or contribution to building an engaged online community of raving fans?
Be sure to share it in the comment box below.
Share this post with your friends who are struggling with dominating and leveraging the social media. They will be glad you did