Events, Marketing your business, Social media
5 Projects To Build Your Community
Creating Intellectual Property (IP) in a business is incredibly important. Your IP helps to both stand out in your market, and result in making money. But making money is generally an outcome of first building community and trust.
So how do you go from having an idea – creating the IP – to selling that idea and bringing money in?
What’s more, if your market is flooded with similar solutions and there’s lots of messaging about your topic, where do you start?
Start with building your community. A community can exist in different ways: online or offline, geographical, industry-based, have broad demographics or a refined private or niche identity.
Initially building a community from clients, networking and industry connections, contractors and suppliers, friends, referrers and collaborators makes sense. It’s also easier as these connections will already know your capabilities and trust you.
What they all have in common, is that they collectively make up your community already. You don’t need to seek them out – but you do need to formalise how you communicate with them. That might be digital communications like email, or as simple as posting regularly on social media.
Importantly if something happens to a part of your existing community, and engagement or support seems low, it’s likely you’ll maintain the others and they’ll pick up engagement according to your activity.
A communication strategy is key for you to sell in the future. It’s also an excellent way to mass-communicate information, education, support, offers and awareness. Adding names to a “list” is a portion of the marketing mix that is generally put in the too hard basket, and therefore becomes an untapped resource to many businesses.
Here’s five small projects to launch to help build your community further. They all offer a way to formalise and grow the “list” of contacts, let you create mini strategies to practice communication, and build on (and expand) your supporter-base outside of those you know.
Each one of these ideas can introduce simple technology to capture information from your community if you haven’t done so before. This can turn any of these projects into a new community group to connect with as a smaller group, or move them to your wider, broader community.
If you used all five of these projects, you’ll have impactful outcomes and cater to a variety of interests.
- Create a freebie
- Start a pop-up Facebook group
- Run a short-term challenge
- Host a low-priced ticket masterclass or workshop (online or in person)
- Run a private bespoke event offering membership
Create a Freebie
Creating freebies are perhaps the easiest of the lot! Sending your freebie out via a sign-up scenario means you capture an email address as a minimum.
Popular freebies include E-Books, webinars, podcasts, tools like calculators, discounts, printables or mini versions of a service/product like an audit or consult.
Save your work in easily accessible formats e.g. PDF files, downloadable Zip folders or links to hidden pages. Creating hidden pages on your website, giving access to a reader after they submit contact information allows you to communicate with them in the future. It’s also preferable to users wanting to download your freebie.
If your item is designed for at-home printing, consider what countries the user may live in. For example the USA still uses Letter page sizing. You may want to provide freebies in multiple sizes for this purpose.
Start a pop-up Facebook group
Pop up Facebooks are a great idea to contain a small group to WOW new people to your community, service them with some education or access to freebies and a supportive community. It also allows you to entertain them, provide great service from you or your team.
It also provides a closed area for you to market directly to them.
The key to success with Facebook groups is brand-relevant visually appealing and professionally structured content. Your time and effort needs to go into the group before it’s populated, allowing you to turn up Live instead of the stress of daily content creation. This is never fun!
Don’t delete your Pop Up group once the original purpose has run its course. Reuse the group repetitively, as you’ll find those who valued it the first time (plus those who may not have given their full attention, or needed better timing), won’t leave of their own accord. That allows you to add to your group quarterly or half-yearly with a membership number that impresses the viewer.
Run a short-term challenge
Short-term challenges can be great fun and you can pick up new fans or followers with savvy social campaigns when you run them.
In terms of building community online, challenges or short term activities draw fast interest and allow new fans to learn new and interesting details about you/business.
Just like any other campaign you run, lead-in time is everything! Promote it for a few weeks organically before day 1 to maximise numbers. Your email communication should be short, sharp and clear across the time of the challenge with your own example included each day.
Having people sign up to your challenge means you can communicate with them each day of the challenge and really expand details about what everyone needs to do. It also lets you add key information that participants need to know – as well as giving you cross-promotional opportunities.
Think hashtags for engagement, cross-platform participation with Instagram posts and Stories/Reels, and entertainment all the way.
Remind participants with scheduled email campaigns. Create these elements in advance so participants are reminded daily. This is really important as they may have signed up to your challenge some time back so will need reminders before it starts.
Selecting daily winners from participants is a great draw card, as is a collaborative challenge.
You can also run a short-term challenge in a Facebook group – or create a Pop Up Facebook group for this purpose.
Host a low-priced ticket masterclass or workshop
We run small but low-priced workshops regularly. The feedback we receive from clients is that they enjoy and appreciate an intimate gathering of like-minded people.
It allows for a personalised approach, but also allows you to maintain a low budget in areas including venue, catering and print/marketing collateral requirements.
To secure the number of guests you need, follow an event plan rolling out over a 10-12 week period.
This is an ideal time frame to rollow out and publish a variety of events marketing information. Start immediately after you launch ticket sales and continue through to the date of the event.
This allows you to run one per quarter as part of a regular onboarding process. And don’t forget, this event could be a digital event with video conferencing or Live video in a private group setting.
Run a private bespoke event offering membership
If your event charges premium options only, then a bespoke private event is more likely to hit your target.
Along with allowing a higher price point, bespoke events generally offer an impressive location, experiential features, and membership options as part of the bonus package and are a big hit with women in particular.
Think retreats – spiritual or corporate in nature – providing elements that may be perceived as difficult to organise in a day to day circumstance, or that may be considered luxurious.
Include ticketing add-ons and offer varied pricing structures. Snagging guests early means you could sell out quicker with “early bird” options. And providing higher price tags for a distinct purpose are attractive and could include things like a VIP gift bag, meet the speakers or special access to additional experiences on the day.
The activity of community building can be a quick flash in the pan experience, that doesn’t take long for the audience to decide that you’re worth hanging around. But as part of a strong content marketing strategy it’s inevitably a long game and requires patience.
However, delivering on engaging activities that show reward or results to your community members are marketing activities a company can undertake for longevity. Yes it takes a long time to build a huge list. But once you’re in the hang of it and you include it in your activities, and regularly include your database, you’ll see the results.
It’s important to note these ideas are based on social media or events activities. These are areas of specialty at Social Ocean, and we get excited about helping clients create unique events, allowing them to start or continue building community. Check out our event services for more details about that.
Combine online activities with face-to-face events for a highly successful mix, that will assist in building your list and create raving fans!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR KIRSTY FIELDS
Armed with over 20 years’ experience in the event management business, Kirsty Fields has co-ordinated everything from kids’ events to national sports games. After a successful career in sports, she embraced modern marketing and promotional techniques.
Her passion for training clients in social media, digital marketing and branding has been combined to present her multi-award winning business Social Ocean a bespoke events marketing agency.
Kirsty’s experience in event management and coordination, and the small business space, backed by her passion for marketing, makes her an ideal source for all things related to events, small business, marketing, social media and branding.
You can find a list of podcasts Kirsty has been featured on, on our About page.
This article was originally posted to the Words of Bek blog as a Guest Blog in 2019 by Kirsty Fields. Words of Bek is the namesake website by Writer/Author Becky Paroz for her book by the same name. The article has since been updated for currency to this publication.
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