Many successful people I know have done this by writing and publishing a book and inviting readers to join their online community by means of an opt-in incentive inside the book. This would take you about three years, less if you self-publish.
I’ve done it by means of a website + blog + newsletter + social media. This has taken me about 14 years – and counting! Inspiring, sharing, helping, supporting, abundance, givers gain, a genuine interest in followers and friends and Likes.
With either of those routes, you can never regard it as “done” because those engaging with your content will lose interest over time, so you will have to write another book and another and another and another to refresh your community forever or, in my own example, keep on creating and sharing content and loving my clients and readers and friends and followers.
Building an Online Community on Facebook
I see some very interesting ideas going on all around me right now and, for my own business, I see how vital Facebook has become. People become clients directly from my personal profile, without every going anywhere near my newsletter list.
Consequently I am very active on Facebook and I thoroughly enjoy it. You couldn’t do what is required if you didn’t enjoy it. But what came first, the chicken or the egg? People think of social media as a chore and a time-suck, but it isn’t if you love it and if it brings you business and if it works for you and you know that, as I do. Beware of scheduling content of social media; where’s the engagement in that?
An online community is all about engagement. Loving them and giving, giving, giving. Love, really. For me, as ever, it’s all about loving your audience, sharing, being abundant and giving members lots of wonderful content to enjoy, consume and share. Adding value for the joy of it, creating rapport, sharing your gifts and talents and remembering it’s all about them, the members of your community, and finding ways to continue to engage them. Engagement is a two-way street. The one-way street is called Broadcasting, like standing on a virtual street corner with a bull horn.
Recently a client let me know she has the opportunity to take on a dormant Facebook group with 850 members and I felt a deep sense of envy. This is a readymade community just waiting to be reignited and an exciting proposition in the offing. Facebook, as I’ve said, is a great community tool. One thing to remember though is that you are building your house on real estate which doesn’t belong to you so do find ways to entice them over from your Facebook group to your list, and vice versa.
I do have a couple of free Facebook groups which might appeal to you, Gentle Reader. All you have to do is request permission to join. All comers welcome.
Engagement From Scratch
Own It! The Podcast
Together with my former business partner from The Money Gym, Nicola Cairncross and I have created an online community around our podcast which is called Own It! If you enjoy audio, give us a listen. New episodes are published every Friday. You might also join our Facebook Group where we debate matters arising from each episode, and/or Like our Facebook Page where we publish each episode as it goes live each week. You can also subscribe at iTunes.