Lately I’ve been trying to shed my hermit ways and become more of a social person. Part of the reason for that is that it gets a little lonely when you write a blog, or run a Facebook group and no one shows up.
Since we’re a social species, most people love being part of a group. If we didn’t, we’d all still be living in our cabins in the woods instead of congregating in cities. That sense of sociability is also what makes creating a community feeling on your blog so important. It’s not just about finding people to buy your products and services… It’s about feeling like you’re part of something and sharing that something with other like-minded people.
Here are a few ways you can cultivate that feeling of community on your blog. Get it right, and you’ll have a tribe of loyal fans and followers because you’ve created a place that makes them feel special, and more importantly, feel heard.
Show Your Unique Self
The last thing you want is for your blog to look and sound like a robot created it. To make a successful blog you have to put a lot of yourself into it. People might find your site because of the information you provide, but they will only keep coming back if they feel a connection to you.
Don’t be afraid to be your own unique self and share your unique voice. That’s what makes your blog community worthy.
Related article: 8 Ways To Make It Easier to Share Your Unique Voice
Start a Facebook Group
Although a Facebook group isn’t exactly on your blog, you can make it an extension of your blog. You can invite readers to discuss your blog posts in the group, and you can invite group members back to your blog to read posts, etc.
Creating a vibrant, thriving group takes time but when you do it successfully, there’s nothing quite like it. And since Facebook is the biggest and most popular social media site online, it’s almost imperative that you take advantage of it.
Use Live Video
Nothing increases your “know, like and trust” factor like using live video. And now there are many excellent places where you can host live video chats and presentations. Facebook Live (another reason to have a Facebook group), Google Hangouts, webinars and even teleconference calls (if you haven’t taken the plunge into video yet) that give your readers another way interact directly with you.
Not only can they see and/or hear you in real time, they also get to share their thoughts, ask questions, and feel like they have a voice and are being heard. That’s huge when you’re trying to create a lasting community.
Host a Challenge
I love challenges. Do you?
Most people love challenges. And they work especially well as a community-building tool. For example, a 15 day challenge to build your email list would work great if your market is online entrepreneurs. A 30 day weight loss challenge would work well on a fitness or health site.
Challenges can be related to anything in your market, as long as it involves taking action. You can do daily challenges if you prefer those. One group I am a part of does daily step challenges where you set a daily goal of how many steps you will walk or run at the beginning of each month, and then record your results in the group each day.
The whole point of a challenge as it relates to community-building is to get your members talking to and supporting each other even as they’re learning something new.
Always be Asking Questions
As much as you might like it to be, your blog is about meeting your audience’s needs, not your own. By paying attention to what your readers want and need from you, you show them that you care and that they can trust you to listen to them. The result is that your needs are met as well through meeting theirs.
Always be asking your readers what’s on their mind and what you can help them with. Use your blog and your email list both to keep in touch with what your audience wants and expects from you. Don’t forget to ask on social media as well. When you do, you’ll find that your prospects and followers end up talking to each other, building a community through their conversations.
Create a Forum
I put this last, not because I think forums are a bad idea, but because even though there is software and plugins that make it easy to set up, forums do take a lot of time to run properly.
I have run forums on my own sites in the past, and I’ve worked as a moderator for other forums, and while I think they are a great idea, I think they’re a great idea only when you have the time and the team in place to do it right.
The upside is that if you do put a forum on your blog, you’re giving your prospects something your competitors are not, and you can build a huge community without sending them to another site to be part of it.
When you focus on building your “know, like and trust” factor with your readers, you go a long ways to building a community at the same time. People love to talk to each other and if you give them a safe space on your blog or in your groups to do it, you’ll develop relationships with your followers and customers that lead to their success, and ultimately to yours as well.
What’s your favorite way to build community on your blog? Share your answer in the comments.