Building a community of relevant and loyal followers is quite a challenge.
In the past six years, however, Gini Dietrich has successfully built and sustained an active professional community of over 40,000 followers.
Gini is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, lead blogger at Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of the Inside PR podcast.
Today, she discusses how she built her community, what worked, and what didn’t.
Avenues for Developing an Online Community
Social media has drastically changed communication over the past decade.
The way we interact and develop professional relationships has changed, too.
One-on-one interactions, sharing, and reaching out to key people of interest are all excellent tactics for startups working from scratch.
However, this strategy isn’t necessarily sustainable in the long run. The process can become tedious and time-consuming.
What works for you at 500 followers might not work once you reach 30,000 followers and beyond. Therefore, be dynamic: keep adapting your tactics to fit your audience.
In the beginning, Gini would respond to every single comment she got.
It definitely helped get her to where she’s at today, but that process just isn’t efficient any longer.
Don’t become discouraged when you make mistakes (because you will). Instead, learn from them and move on.
Provide Value to Real People
The most important thing to remember is that your community is filled with real-life people with real intereginists, wants, and needs.
Once you remember that, you can organize your community building strategy to fit the needs of your audience.
Just because you have an active community doesn’t mean they’ll buy things from you.
Gini encourages her listeners to reach out to their audience and ask them what they want upfront through surveys and other methods. Make sure you provide them with valuable content and they’ll keep coming back.
Rewards go a long way. Gini loves to reward one special reader with a popcorn basket each month. Not only can something like this help form a relationship, but it might even get you some referrals, too!
Think Outside the Box
It took Gini six years to develop the following she has today.
By engaging with interested people, sharing content, and offering her (sometimes controversial) opinion, she was able to build her “rabid” audience.
They stick around because they love the content and value she provides to their lives, both online and off.
Each business and niche has potential for developing an active community.
Just make sure you’re reaching out to the right people – the right way – and don’t stop!