Audience vs Community - What you Need to Know

There's a big difference between an audience and a community.

One of them can give your business visibility, yet be very temperamental and disengaged. The other one can build a strong foundation on which your business can flourish, yet takes time and effort. Which one do you want?

Let me rephrase that, which one do you want...more of. The thing is, you'll always have both. What you focus on will determine what you have more of. 

Let's take a closer look at the differences in audiences and communities, and how you grow them.

Audiences are strangers to you, and each other(usually). The individuals may know you, or of you, but you do not know them. When was the last time you went to a movie? We just went to see Incredibles 2 (it was awesome, the kids LOVED it, and so did I... Spoiler, Mrs. Incredible stole the show!) We went to the theater to see the movie, not meet people. Other than my children, I didn't know anyone else there. 

Some people will always be part of your audience. They may watch your videos, read your post, download your content, and open your emails, yet never interact with you at all. They're not as much into engaging with you, as they are being engaged by you. Sometimes, people in your audience want more, that's when you have an opportunity to build a community.

  In a community, People know you and even get to know each other. People care about each other in a community, they help each other, support each other, they even become friends. When people like, comment, and share your content, they are trying to be part of your community. In communities, people care about engaging with you, because they are engaged by you.

 

Your Focus Determines What You Get More Of

You build more of an audience when you focus on you, you're the star of the show, people come to watch, be entertained, or educated. This satisfies them and they move on. 

You build more of a community when you focus on the audience, they are the stars. People feel the positive attention and respond in kind, not just to you, but to each other. They crave more, so they engage with you and each other.

 Which One Do You Want More Of? Audience or Community?

If you said audience, you can stop reading here...Not that there's anything wrong with wanting to build more of an audience and be the star of the show, that's just not what I focus on or teach. So this just isn't for you, and that's ok.

If you said community, keep reading and I'll walk you through some things you can do to foster community and build stronger relationships.

 

The value of building relationships in your business can not be understated! People value relationships, not businesses.

I can get insurance anywhere, yet I choose Caroline, why? Because she's my friend. Not only does she know me and my family, but I know her and her family too. Caroline would never lead me astray, she's honest about what I need and what I don't. I know her, I like her, and I trust her, I wouldn't get my insurance anywhere else. 

If you want to make a difference in the lives of the people you serve, they have to trust you. In order to trust you, they have to know you, and like you. That know, like, and trust (KLT), is a key factor in building stronger relationships that foster community.

 

Here are four powerful behaviors you can start using today to build that KLT and nurture a community.

  • Be sincere, authentic, heart centered, etc...Whatever the term you prefer, be you. Be honest with your people about who you are, why you care, and how you can help. The more open you are to sharing the real you, the stronger the relationships you build, as a result, will be. 

 

  •  Be a good listener. Whether you're talking with a client(s) or networking, listening attentively to others is a powerful way to build relationships. The person communicating to you will feel heard, understood, even accepted, as a result of you simply listening to them.

 

  • Commenting and replying is a great way to build relationships that create community. Blogs, social media posts, live video, these are all places conversations happen. Be ready to respond and reply in a thoughtful way, not just on your own content, but on others content too. Build a reputation for being engaging and thoughtful. Special thanks to my Friend Alice Elliott at Fairy Blog Mother for educating me on how important commenting is.

 

  •  Be consistent. Consistently show up and provide value and be the leader your community needs. The more you show up for them, the more they'll show up for you.

 

Tools That Help You Facilitate Your Interactions 

You can start using these 3 tools now to nurture and build your community. When used as a long term strategy, these tools become the foundation of your community.

  • Blogging is still a powerful tool for connecting and creating conversations. You don't have to be a professional writer to have success in blogging. You have a passion for what you do and the people you help, and that's all you need. Your blog can become a resource, full of checklists and tutorials that your community rely on...it's also great for you, when people ask questions, you might already have the answer in a blog post that you can direct them to. Blog posts can be edited and updated over time as you hone your blogging skills. Blog posts can be shared on most any social media platform making them easy for your community to discover.

  

  • Messaging. I am NOT talking about spamming a bunch of people to buy your product or sign up for your thing. NO. If you do this in any way, shape, or form, you, will not be successful. Instead, use messaging in an authentic, natural, and sincere way. Wish them a happy birthday and ask them if they have anything fabulous planned. Congratulations on "your good news" How excited are you right now? Always ask an open ended question...this gives them space to respond in a way that's comfortable to them, and creates conversation. You can make offers, you just can't lead with them, and it still needs to be an open ended question so they have space to respond in a way that's comfortable. Start slow and practice with this one, you'll find your groove in no time.

 

  •  Live-Streaming. You know the importance of knowing your ideal client, right? Well, it's equally as important that your ideal client knows you! How are you to build know, like, and trust if your ideal client doesn't know you? Live video adds context to everything you do. It adds the context of you into your blog, emails, social media posts, etc... If your community has seen and interacted with you live, even on a once a week basis, They know your voice, body language, personality, etc...When they open that email (which they are more likely to do because the know you) they'll read it and get you. They'll know when you're serious, sarcastic, funny, excited...they'll get it, and it will make ALL your content more powerful.

 

I've talked to and worked with many business owners who wanted nothing to do with live video. The most common reasons? "It's just not for me", I don't have the right personality for video", or "I don't have the right look for video".

I'll be honest, it really makes me sad to hear this. It's like saying you don't have the right look/personality to meet people. And not just any people, YOUR people.

According to Cisco, 82% of ALL internet traffic will be video by 2021 and live video will increase 15-fold in the same time frame. You don't have to change your mind about it right now, but as a business owner, I hope that you keep the option open as a possibility

Possible? Anything is possible, right?!

Stay fabulous,

Alice xo

P.S. Grab Your Copy of 12 Ways to Get Comfortable on Live Video.

 

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