Guest post by Rob Caldwell
I went to Tahiti a few months ago. I had a great time, and an experience I’ll never forget. Learning what it’s like to be locked-down in a hotel during a tsunami. (Not so fun; though the waves were really, really big!) Everyone on all the islands of French Polynesia were affected in some way or another; anything from extreme tragedy to cabin fever.
After two days of lock-down, everyone was itching to get out. Friday was the first day back to normalcy and that night it seemed like the whole island of Tahiti decided to go down to the center of Papeete to hang-out and eat from the Roulottes. As a foreigner (hanging out with some local friends) it was interesting to see all the people there and how everyone seemed to know everyone else in one way or another. It was a great vibe with all the different people interacting with each other in this fun, relaxed setting. It really felt like a community.
Building a community like this doesn’t happen overnight and, hopefully, doesn’t need a natural disaster to spark people into action. It takes time and effor. A desire to get to know your neighbor and keep relationships alive with old friends while building new friendships. I’d like to relate these same ideas to building a community online.
I think anyone reading this post knows quite a few people who have huge online followings and I’m sure whatever they do is more successful and easier to launch or promote when they can send it out to their communities.
More and more being part of a community and having fans of what you do is an important part of becoming successful. The question is: How? How does a person get to that point?
To me, building a successful community starts with your close family and friends. Next, Share your ideas, blog posts, products, etc., with those closest to you. However, you need to make sure it’s remarkable enough from the start so they will naturally want to tell their friends. Some people need encouraging to go out and tell others and sometimes it’s ok to ask them to tell a few other people. Finally, make it easy for them to share.
A couple things to remember along the way are:
- Be genuine.
- Ask others if you can help them and look for those opportunities.
- Twitter, Facebook and all the other social media tools are just that. Tools.
- Use what you like to get the word out and interact with your inner circle to pitch your ideas and then find that next circle of people to interact with.
- Follow Chris Brogan’s promote-yourself ratio. 1:10. That is: For every 10 times you interact with others, only promote your product once.
- Keep putting out interesting stuff (the hardest part in my book).
- Consistently use your tools to keep building.
I could go on, but those are some of the basic things that should get anyone going down the path to building a successful community. Just like I experienced in Tahiti, the community (if meaningful) is where everyone wants to be.