When I think about the topic of how to create community, I get REALLLLYYYYYY excited.
I think creating online and in person community is a non-negotiable in business in todays world.
I also think that one of my superpowers in this world is building community so I’m excited to explain!
From the time I was a kid, I was always the girl who was making friends and connecting people to one another.
Then, as I grew up, I realized that the way we grow in business and in life is through the communities that we cultivate.
When I worked as an attorney in the corporate world, connection and community was key to finding allies in my places of business & also a way to bring in new business.
Now, as a business coach, community has given me a place to find the people who I really want to collaborate with, create with and eventually work with and serve.
I’m calling this article “how to create community online & in person”.
Some of you might think to yourself “why would I want to put such an emphasis creating community in person? We live in a digital world. And BTW Regina, you are writing this blog during COVID-19 AKA a global pandemic AKA we are stuck in our houses.”
Okay so yes, right now, we are stuck at home. But this is a moment in time and this moment will too pass, sooner than later.
And when this moment passes, people are going to be craving human connection, in person, in a big way.
So let’s start to think about it now so when the world opens back up, you have a plan of action on how to serve and grow, both in person & online.
I am a firm believer that for people to know us, to trust and to eventually work with us or buy from us, they have to have a connection with us.
And often, that connection comes from the community we are able to cultivate for them.
For me, community means bringing people together for a common goals or mission. And once you bring them together, you serve them massively from a place of providing massive value and holding space for them.
Then from that place of true community, people know you, love you, trust you, admire you, connect with you and your mission and want to work with you or buy from you.
If you think you are going to show up in this world or on the online space and just start selling shit to strangers, you are wrong my friend.
Especially if you are a coach.
Especially if you offer a service that involves people getting vulnerable and sharing intimate parts of their life.
That means if you are a life, relationship, business, sex, fitness, [fill in type of coach here] coach, your people are getting vulnerable on some level and must trust you in order to work with you.
And so creating a community is a beautiful way to create a space for people to gather so you can show up, hold space for them, & provide them with a lot of value and love.
Before you start a community online, there has to be a reason why you are bringing people together into this community space.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is “What is the common goal or mission for me to bring these people together?”
If you want to create a community around what you coach on or around your business, then get inside the head of the person you want to serve or are working with.
What kind of community or support are they seeking regularly?
If you are a business coach, you might want to create a community that centers around business tips & tricks for people who are hosting online businesses.
If you are a sex coach, you might want to create a community around sex & relationships advice and host live 1:1 coaching days for people in the group.
In that community, you might offer daily tips & videos that offer support or encouragement for the community.
Whatever you create, ask yourself how do I serve them where they are at and what do they truly need?
I think the easiest & free way to host an online community is in a Facebook group.
You can check out my free Facebook group here!
In Facebook, you can make a group private or secret.
If it’s private, people can find it through the Facebook search function and asked to be invited.
If it’s secret, you have to invite people to the group. If you don’t invite them, they won’t be able to find it.
Another great thing about a group on Facebook is that you can ask prerequisite questions for entry to the group.
For example: You can ask for people’s email addresses. Why would you want to do that? Because it is an easy way to build your email list.
You could also create a private Instagram account for people in your group. Then you can follow people you want to invite & when someone asks to follow, you have to approve them. If you want to, you can automatically DM anyone asking to join and ask for their email address to join.
There are a few different ways you can find people online to join your community.
First – look through topically relevant hashtags to find people who are posting. The people who are posting or responding to those hashtagged posts may be people who you want to connect with.
Second – start to use topically relevant hashtags on your posts. That way when people are looking for someone who does what you do, they can find you.
For example, if you are a sex coach, you might do #sexcoach or if you are a sex coach in Phoenix, you might do #phoenixsexcoach and/or #sexcoachinginphoenix and /or #AZsexcoach.
Think of people searching through hashtags like they would search through Google.
Ask yourself this question – What would your ideal community member and prospective client be searching for through hashtags to solve their particular problems? Create hashtags or choose hashtags based on how you answer this question.
Third – think about social media famous people who have a followings like the one you are trying to cultivate. See who is following them and start to organically connect with the people who seem like your people (ie comment, like, post, re-share content, DM, respond to stories… just don’t be creepy).
This is a great start to start to proactively find people who might be interested in your community.
Creating in person community is my favorite thing to do.
I moved to Phoenix from Philadelphia almost a year ago and I have spent this past year very intentionally creating an in-person community.
Creating this in-person community allowed me to host my first in-person, day long seminar with almost 100 people filling the room.
If I hadn’t taken the time to cultivate community, that never would have happened.
The purpose behind creating your in-person community is the same for starting an online community.
It is a space for you to nurture your people. And when you have an online community & group, you can invite your in-person people to that space.
For me, there is something about being to have that true in person connection.
To see someone in real life.
Feel their energy in person.
Be able to give them a hug and actually see them and acknowledge them.
For me as someone who loves to hold in person space, this is everything.
And on the flip side, I love for others to do that for me.
I don’t think anything can or ever will be able to replace that true person to person, human connection.
And I know that I am not alone in that sentiment.
First – create live events for people to come to come to.
This doesn’t have to be anything crazy. If can be an in-person workshop where you are teaching or offering value.
You can create a Facebook event, or an Eventbright event, or a Meetup group that you invite to your in-person event.
It could be a weekly coffee chat or meet-up, where each week you hold space & there is a different topic of conversation.
Second – show up to other people’s events and Meetup groups and connect with the community. Look for events that speak to you and go in person to meet people. This is a great opportunity to connect and meet people you can invite to events and meet ups you are hosting.
Third – tell people you are looking to create a certain kind of community and ask if they know anyone who would be interested. You will be surprised by how many people are interested in what you have to offer. But you have to open up and tell people.
It doesn’t have to be difficult.
It requires you taking a little action and then inviting people into the container you are creating.
Want another way to create community? Create a podcast! Click here to learn about how I launched mine!