Recently, YEC spoke with Daisy about her experiences building a community for customers and stakeholders in her business, and what others interested could learn about the process. Her best advice is below.
Surround Yourself With Other Entrepreneurs
Building a community for entrepreneurs is really important because entrepreneurs go through a lot of struggles that regular employees don’t experience. There’s a lot of mental exhaustion that comes with running a business. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are going through the same thing to know that you aren’t alone. Even in tough times, there’s always someone to encourage and inspire you. Celebrate the winning moments together. It’s a good feeling to have someone understand what you’re going through and how it feels every time a milestone is reached.
So be vulnerable – people don’t want to hear about your perfect life, they want to see who you really are. A lot of people can relate to that. It’s refreshing to know that someone else is experiencing the same thing that you’re struggling with. It’s a perfect way to bond over a certain topic and engage with people in the community. If they see that you are vulnerable, people in the community will share their vulnerability too. To connect with real people, be a real person!
Engage With the Community
Community is all about engagement. In a community, the users are people who interact with other people. Customers and subscribers aren’t just reading or subscribing to something, they’re actually sharing their responses with others. They’re following different forums and having a dialogue with people in the community.
I spend a lot of time working with content and engaging with our fans. There must be consistency: Post content daily and spend time answering questions. I connect with the customers. I implement most of their suggestions. I post their photos online and feature them on our social media accounts. I connect with my community, and on more than one social media platform. I cross communicate with my community consistently. In this way, they will always remember my brand and the need to use our products consistently.
If I could start my community from scratch, I would have stopped focusing on the numbers and really focused on engaging with every single member of our community. In the beginning, I wanted to get as many members as possible. You get a lot of followers this way, but not a lot of engaging moments. If given the chance, I would have focused on the “connected moments” and used that as a metric instead of only quantifying the number of followers.
Be Authentic and Relatable
My whole product line started with me. I built my community with YouTube while being authentic, real, vulnerable and available to my followers. I read their comments, connected with them, shared my problems and gave them honest reviews to build relationships. The only reason I was able to launch my product line is because I had a community of people who really trusted me. It’s great because I never had perfect skin and I’ve been true to my followers about that. Because of that, people can relate and trust me, knowing that we’re in the same boat. In the end, it led them to try my products because it had worked on me. My followers know my imperfections and because of that, my customers (who also aren’t perfect) are attracted to my products knowing that my story is something they can relate to.
Build a Community That Aligns With Your Mission
A lot of elbow grease is needed. Put in a lot of time to connect with your community by creating good content and responding to your customers. You have to do it right and give it your all because the starting phase is the hardest part. Before starting, distance yourself from the people who are part of the old community and bring in new people who are more aligned with the mission of your company. Reinforce the great members of the community and gradually push away the negative people. In this way, you’ll see better results for your new community.
Play to Your Team’s Strengths
I recognize the strengths of my team and allocate tasks based on who has skills with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogging, etc. I delegate tasks such as writing, Photoshopping, customer representation on our social media platforms and video editing. I use my team’s diversity as a big advantage to make sure that every task is completed by someone who is knowledgeable and experienced. I also delegate a task to have someone check our accounts, photos, posts and videos regularly. It’s like having a mini-me within our company.