In this next instalment, I’ll be talking about how to build yourself a community online. As the term implies, this isn’t about finding you a throne and giving the internet a love potion. It’s a two-way process: to bring like-minded people closer to you, you need to be a giver first.
Some basic questions you should ask yourself:
- Who is your ideal audience?
- What do they need, and can you provide it?
Your core ideal audience is the one you want to reach for monetary reasons (we all have to eat, after all). Maybe they’re a customer, or a future employer. It might be a very specific audience or a vague concept of one.
Pick someone you feel fits the criteria of your ideal audience and research their interests:
- Who are they retweeting?
- Who are they following on Linkedin?
- Who or what do they trust?
- Which publications are they reading?
In doing so, you are identifying those that have an influence on your ideal audience. These are the ones you want to befriend: publish on those trusted sites, retweet influencers, and find the means to build a connection in a way that makes sense for you and your brand.
Essentially, what I am suggesting here is that you contribute in a considered way. Rather than just blogging on your personal website, you might offer to guest blog for a relevant publication for instance. Rather than just tweeting your own successes, be supportive of other people’s success.
Slowly but surely, you’ll be shaping your own community.
A Community Will Sustain You
In the short term you might find this process a little frustrating, but creating a personal brand is a long-term project. Being part of a community of like-minded individuals and organizations has countless benefits including finding out about opportunities faster, having a support network, engaging the right people, collaboration, etc…
The alternative, of course, is to keep shouting in the void.