As an entrepreneur of any kind, one of the things that you have accomplished is creating a virtual community. You have brought together a bunch of strangers that never would have met otherwise. While this is great, there are so many things that you can do to bring your online family closer. Just like in real life, you will struggle with some relationships and there will be some ups and downs. The important thing to remember is that you are the leader of this pack. You’re here to bring your community of amazing people to a place they’ve been dying to reach. No pressure…no seriously, no pressure! Take this as an opportunity to embrace who you are and what you do best. Making your virtual community feel more connected doesn’t entail a lot, so let’s break it down.
Give it a Name
Have you noticed any online influencers or entrepreneurs refer to their followers or online community as a specific group? People with an established online presence will sometimes group their followers together and give this group a name. This happens a lot with celebrities, but also with coaches, entrepreneurs, and business people who have realized that creating a name (and identity) for their community has made such a difference in the way that community feels about itself. Everybody wants to be a part of something and feel connected to people who share their beliefs. Chances are, the people following you on social media are there because they resonate with the message you put out to the world.
Your group should not be exclusive, but inclusive to anyone willing to align themselves with your purpose. Portraying the message to the internet that you are responsible for a group of people who radiate positivity is one of the easiest ways to make sure your virtual community feels connected with each other. Being able to identify as a member of your group will give these members a chance to embrace what you have to offer in a way even deeper than before. Yes, this is sort of a psychological trick, but think about how you feel when you’re a member of a group. You feel included and you feel accounted for. Accountability, whether it be in business, health, or any other aspect of life, is one of the most impactful factors in success. Connecting your group with its own identity allows for your virtual community to feel more close-knit and you will see the conversation spark between them all.
The number one reason your online community is there in the first place is because they are relying on you for information. The simplest thing you can do as a leader of a virtual community is to consistently engage with the people who are following you. It is important to engage with people you have not yet connected with in order to branch out. However, focusing on the people that you have already connected with online can make those connections last a lifetime. Taking time every day to engage in quick conversations that have meaning and purpose can really take your social media game up a notch. Whether you have your own Facebook group or you are running an Instagram page for your business, you hold a responsibility to keep the conversation going. You are the one who started this mission to help people in whatever way you do, so stick to your word! Make engagement with your virtual community a priority to show loyalty, dedication, and to also grow into a more communicative entrepreneur.
Host Live Events
Everybody loves real conversation. Raw conversation is what drives people to achieve their goals. If you're looking for ways to have meaningful exchanges with your audience, think about hosting virtual live events. Some people get intimidated by this, as they think they need to stay online for long periods of time to reach a lot of people. While this can be true sometimes, it's not always the case. Live streams are designed for you to engage with your online community in real-time for however long you want. You can bring guests onto your live video stream to chat with you, or you can just have your followers type questions in the comments for you to answer. If you feel intimidated by a long session, start with a live stream for 15 minutes once a week. Your followers don't need much to feel engaged with you, just be consistent.
The great thing about live videos is that they will still be available after you have ended your live session. Facebook and Instagram both allow you to share and repost your life videos for other people to see. This is a great feature because you can then show the people who did not attend what they were missing out on. This is a great way to get them to join in your next session. Live events will help your followers feel heard and understood, as they can communicate directly to you and see your reactions in real-time. They’ll even talk to one another in the comments section, a great way to create a more close-knit community.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but the only way that you can make a real connection with your followers is to be yourself. Your virtual community needs to understand what it is that you stand for so that they can decide if they align with that. If they do, they will follow you, like your posts, comment, and stay for a while. It is so necessary to take some extra time to make sure that you are really being your true self. Imposter syndrome is so common in the online community, but you don't have to fall subject to it. Practice daily affirmations and gratitude to bring yourself back to the reason you began this journey. Share what makes you happy, tell your followers your favorite hacks, and get vulnerable with them, too. Stay true to your voice and values and you will see that your online community will naturally build itself full of people just like you.
Reaching your entrepreneurial goals can be much easier with a friendly group of people both supporting you and looking to you for guidance. By focusing on who you are and what your business stands for, you can bring your followers closer together. Speaking your truth and making your virtual community feel inclusive and exciting will enable growth from all angles.
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