In this article we’ll go through how you can start laying the foundations to build, engage and grow your community.
The word community has become a commonly used term in many conversations.
Whether heard in a business pitch, seen through the places we live in, felt through connections we foster, or bound through the experiences we share, we as humans have navigated the world through the social interactions and sharing of learning that has made room for growth and opportunity.
A creative community can come in a vast variety of shapes, sizes, people or assets. But they do all present themselves as an open door to enriching your craft.
This is your camaraderie, your Batman toolbelt, or your text book.
And the best creative communities are what power your aspirations.
These can be a brand, creative company, agency or creative freelancers. Building strong relationships with clients is what helps you achieve the longer-term goals of your creative business.
And that’s why we shift our thinking to community.
Here are the key principles and habits which will help you build stronger relationships through community engagement that will open new room for opportunities and growth.
Educate – Inform your customers instead of marketing to them.
An ‘organic’ approach is the only pursuit towards attaining a true community. So think about building that long-term relationship.
Approach the right customer with more insightful material rather than a marketing/sales focus.
The more informed and empowered customers are, the more satisfied and confident they are with their choices. You can start providing more insight to your customers with examples such as:
- Clubhouse & Twitter Chat Rooms – These help you build more of a vocal appearance with your audience and members. You can check out this article to help you with Clubhouse.
- Slack channels – Building a slack channel community can provide you and your business with many benefits. You can update your members on latest news, your members can ask questions (acts exactly like a forum).
Celebrate – How can you make your customer feel appreciated?
Making your customers feel valued and appreciated goes without saying, but we often don’t engage in the bestest of ways. Shifting your thinking to how you can massively boost collective community engagement can be done through celebrating your customers!
Take a look at how communities like Airbnb and Wishu have followed this similar strategic approach and think about what transferable qualities you can take from these:
- Airbnb & their community of hosts: The company focused on fostering belonging within their hosts community. They provide their hosts a solution to earning an additional source of income or in many cases, the only source of income. The company focuses on educating and celebrating their hosts and fostering those relationships in different ways by celebrating Community Badges which can allow you to become a paid ambassador or Superhost. These are powerful ways to award hosts whilst leveraging your value as the product or service to them. Check out this SNL video here.
- Wishu with their community of Top Talents. We knew precisely that in order to create an app that works for both hiring companies and creative freelancers, we needed to listen to our community and their experiences. Wishu introduced a curated system that focused on top creatives in the UK and then awarding them a Top Talent badge, recognising a group of creatives for their experience and excellence in creativity.
AAAND, Listen – Feedback makes a huge difference.
You should continuously be soliciting questions, comments, and encouraging your customers to tell you what they dislike as well as what they love. Openness and transparency is of the utmost to feel safe and free to discuss with your clients.. Listening also means knowing when to sit on your hands and wait to respond. When customers do have negative comments, it is exponentially more powerful to have their peers come to the defence of your brand rather than your customer service team. If you’ve followed the steps to build stronger relationships through community engagement above, your customers will become your greatest brand advocates.