Many entrepreneurs start by focusing solely on the product or service they want to offer, rather than also considering how to build a community of customers and fans that will serve as the backbone of their business. This is because many people believe that their family and friends will support their business by purchasing from them and spreading the word. Unfortunately, this is not the reality they face. The battle then begins to build a community of people who love, support, and invest in the brand (by purchasing products or paying for services).

You see a lot of business owners getting frustrated because they’re trying to build a community in a hurry. This is because a solid plan was not put in place from the beginning. Whether you’re just starting your business from the ground up or have already started your business, here are some steps shared by Amanda Goetz (Businesswoman and founder of House of Wise) that we have elaborated on and would help you create a solid and loyal community for your business on and off social media.

Start Small

Don’t try to be everything to everyone in the beginning. When starting, it is critical to prioritize quality over quantity. As you spend time with your audience, it will help you determine your brand voice or adjust the brand voice that you have set. It will also help you determine who you will be for your audience and how you should relate to them.

Be a Human, Even as a Brand!

Having real conversations with your audience (both in the DMs and IRL) will take your brand to the next level. Some entrepreneurs automate their DMs too early on. This removes the human factor and limits their ability to bond with their audience and customers. 

Capture Emotions

All great brands make you feel something. If you haven’t figured out what you want someone to feel as a result of yours, you’re passing up a huge opportunity. Figure it out and then re-enforce it at every touchpoint.

Give your community an Identity

Almost every ex-Big Brother Nigeria housemate has a fanbase name for their fans. You can do the same for your community. Giving your community an identifiable brand will help you build programs, incentives, plans and more to make this group feel special and spoken to. Do note that this usually comes much later, so do not try to force it. However, when your community has grown considerably, you can suggest some community names and see which one they lean towards.

Offer high-quality goods or services or emotions won’t matter

Yes, you can build a community on sentiment, but, over time, poor product quality will erode trust and connection to your brand. It’s not a choice of one or the other; you need both for your business to thrive.

Trust is Key

Communities are built upon the unwritten understanding that they can trust you as a brand, your company, your mission, and your products. Poor customer service will destroy this quickly. Not aligning on social issues will destroy it even quicker. Customer service is so important that it’s one of the key things that keeps people coming back. Your community also wants to know that you regard social issues as seriously as they do. 

Give people a mission to align with

Communities can now pick and choose who they want to support with their money. What does it take to make you less of a commodity? A mission they can rally behind that is consistent with your brand’s sentiment.

Push and pull key stakeholders.

Identify influential people that can reinforce your mission and sentiments and bring them in. When someone shows an active interest in your community, always retweeting or answering questions for you, bring them in ASAP. One way in which you can do this is through Instagram. Add them to your close friend’s list and let them get in on new product launches, discounts, and promotions.

Be Thankful

Find ways to surprise and delight your loyalists. Swag always works, be it behind-the-scenes updates, early access, or just sending a thank you message every once in a while. A little goes a long way.

Don’t try to force it

You’ll never be able to force a community to develop. People congregate over shared beliefs, ideas, hopes, and desires. If you haven’t been able to unlock this yet, go back to the drawing board.

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