There’s a few things you must intentionally build into your online community if you want engagement, interaction, and people who love what you do for them. Things like giving them boundaries, making it feel safe, let them have some sort of personal investment into the community, giving them influence, and more. I’ll show you how to create a strong community from your online audience in this video.
So before we get into some of the basic elements that your community needs to have, let’s talk about what a community is, because a lot of people use words like audience and community and viewers and subscribers. They use like all these words interchangeably, and to me, there’s very distinct differences for each of these.
Audience Vs. Community
An audience is– the way I think about it is if you were on a stage, and everyone is in seats looking at you up on stage, that is an audience. They are looking at you.
But a community is when you, as the leader of that audience, can get those people to stop just focusing on you, but instead get them to turn and look at each other and start interacting with each other. And you as the leader become a facilitator to people who are interacting and supporting and standing together like this rather than them all just looking at you.
So how do you go about creating that type of dynamic around your content with you as the leader or the facilitator of that community? Well, there’s a great article at moz.com. I’ll put a link to it in the description below this video. You can go check it out. It’ll go into far more in-depth about all this, but there’s a few key points in there that I’m pulling out that I think makes sense, especially for those of us who are developing communities around our YouTube channels.
#1 – Define Boundaries
People need to feel like they’re included into a little group, but the only way that happens is if there’s actually another set of people that they are not – the set of people that are not a part of this group that they do not identify with. So it’s like Republicans versus Democrats.
It’s like PC versus Apple.
And as creators, I know a lot of times we actually look at like the haters on the outside, and we just want everyone to be a part of our community and to be a part of what we’re doing. But that’s actually the quickest way to kill community instead of a really good way to grow it.
#2 – Create Emotional Safety
A growing and thriving community also needs to have an element of emotional safety. That is if I share something here that is personal or maybe even intimate, will it be accepted? Will people understand it? Will they get it, because we’re all kind of coming from a similar perspective of something, or we’re coming from a similar, like, point in life or whatever? Like is this a safe place for me? And that has to be really key in order for your community to grow.
#3 – Provide a Chance for Personal Involvement
The community has to feel like they have some sort of personal investment, some sort of personal involvement in the content, in the community itself. So I think it’s really important as creators for you to come up with ideas of how can you get your community involved. Rather than it just being you on a stage talking to your audience, how can you get the audience to become involved with each other, become involved with you, to become a part of your content? And some really easy ways are just to start featuring them in your videos, talking about the community’s accomplishments of what you’re doing together.
#4 – Provide a Chance to Influence the Community
And that kind of goes along with number four, and that is influence. Your people who are watching you need to feel like they have an influence on the community, not just that they’re a passive part of it and, like, OK, like they’re going off and doing this thing. But like that’s not me, or like there’s nothing that I really have to contribute or anything.
They have to feel like not only are they a part of it, but they actually have influence on the direction that this community goes and how this community shapes and what it looks like in the future. And so it’s really important for you as the creator to create opportunities for your viewers to have some influence over the community and what you’re working on.
#5 – Find Your Shared Values
The next one is, perhaps, the most important one that ties a lot of these things together, and that is you need to have some sort of shared values, because the strongest communities, both online and offline– it applies to both places– they form around shared beliefs, not common interests. A lot of people think, like, oh, we both like fishing, right? So if we both like fishing, we’ll have something to talk about for a little while.
But if we realize that we both believe the same thing about fishing, on why it’s important, whether it’s from like a childhood belief or value that something we did with grandparents that really established like multi-generational relationships or something like that– I just made that up off the top of my head– then we now have something to talk about, but we have something that’s going to bond us and really pull us together. And those shared beliefs is what’s really going to make any community strong.
#6 – Share Emotional Connections
There has to be meaningful emotional connections with the community, with the members with each other, with the creator, with the content, with the story that the channel represents, with the history of the channel. There has to be some really emotional connections there. So a lot of this is easier said than done, and a lot of this does take time to develop. But I recommend you go down there and read that article at moz.com. I think you’ll learn a lot more from that as you dig into it.
And also, read the book called “Primal Branding.” Not a sponsor or anything, but this book, guys, is really good in helping you set up a brand that makes it really easy for people to connect to, to have the emotional connection to, and like all the things we just talked, like this will give you some really practical examples of how other brands have done.
I would love to hear from you guys in the comments below about what other things you have learned from the communities that you’re building online. Thank you so much for being a part of this community of creators, who are spreading messages and reaching people and changing their lives. That’s really what this channel is all about, about helping you guys grow your channel so that you can do that.
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