When you get started using Social Media you will begin the exact same way as everyone else.
You focus on establishing your presence.
Most people do this by setting up their profile, filling out all the information about themselves, uploading a fancy photo, connecting with some people we know in real life and then learning all about the navigation or how things work.
This phase can be overwhelming or exciting depending on how easily you embrace technology. Regardless, your habits are all pretty much the same as everyone else when you get started.
After a bit the “comparison breeds misery” bug will set in. I am sure you can relate to what I am about to say: this is that phase where you start to compare with other people about how many friends, followers and connections you have. You start to notice how many people are interacting with others versus interacting with you.
You develop a heightened sense of awareness of how others are using Social Media for their business and suddenly you become acutely aware of your need to build an audience.
An audience is simply that — an audience. Your first step will be to collect some new friends, try some new approaches to getting people to comment on your posts. You will start to really hunt for people you know, and you might even try to connect with people you don’t know just to get your numbers to a certain level. You might even obsessively check to see how many people are commenting and liking your posts and steal the odd idea from a competitor.
This is the stage when you start to talk at your audience and you forget that they are people. People with feelings, thoughts, opinions and ideas of their own — just like you.
At some point (hopefully) this audience building phase will start to feel empty and not very rewarding. Counting friends can only stimulate you for so long!
Once this happens you will move into Community Building.
Community Building is by far the best thing you can do when it comes to Social Media.
You move from a place of comparison to a place of comfort. You realize that it is quality, not quantity that matters.
You realize relationships and connections are more important than the size of your audience.
Your orientation moves from trying to get comments and likes to really wanting to offer value for others and to stimulate real conversation.
This is when the magic happens.
This is when you no longer have to sell what you do because people who are part of your community who know, like and trust you will naturally self select your product or service when it makes sense.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone skipped the audience phase? None of us like to be talked “at”, and we certainly don’t like to be manipulated for a comment or a like!
This week ask yourself: who are you trying to serve when it comes to the people you are connected to on Social Media? What can you do to be a better community leader who can help others?
If you step back and take a careful look at your habits I am sure you will see ways to build stronger community. I’d love to hear some of your ideas on how to best do this.
One great example of community building for me was the Ultimate Kindness Project. We have raised over $12,000 to help one woman and her son. That is the strength and power of a community that cares and comes together.
It started with Rebecca Happy who noticed me asking for digital product donations to support this cause. She reached out with the idea for Chris Lang and I to collaborate on a full day event and we made that happen.
Then Roger and Sarah from Living at One reached out and offered to support the initiative by offering up their venue for us to use. The very same day, reaching out to their community, Roger and Sarah secured two TV spots for us to talk about our project.
Next, Chris Lang is turned away at the border and cannot get into the country for the event and Roger steps up and offers to help out.
Together we market the event and almost instantly ten people sign up and more continue to do so each day. All to support a community cause.
Doesn’t this just feel way better than having an audience?
Audience = one way communication. You listen, I talk.
Community = two way communication. We talk, we listen, we support.
Which do you prefer?