Build Your Community and Embrace It!

Over the past week, thoughts of “community” have been racing around my head.  This started when I heard a podcast with Dave Murray (@davemurr) and Sarah Worsham (@sazbean) talking about the social web and community.  It’s well worth the time and I highly recommend you listen HERE.  I’m a big fan of takeaways and there were 8 that resonated with me after hearing Dave speak.

  1. Don’t build community around your product
  2. Communities are based off of needs and passions
  3. Communities are wrapped around people and communication…product is secondary
  4. True community is allowed to grow through its own organic process
  5. The Social Web is a long term strategy…word of mouth and action happening off line
  6. Introductions are made online but meaningful connections happen in real life (confirmed by Scott Stratten, @unmarketing, today)
  7. Communities cultivate brand loyalty (see Joseph Jaffe, @jaffejuice)
  8. Putting a face / personality to a company allows for a deeper connection

What does this all mean?  To me, if you can develop and embrace a community, you’ll be able to mobilize a group of people around a common interest and take action.  Tools like Google Alerts (thanks Gini Dietrich), Facebook and Twitter allow this conversation to happen immediately.  Why not leverage them to listen to your audience and provide a value to your growing community?  If companies and organizations saw the social web as a long term investment instead of another platform for one-way communication, I’m confident they would ultimately see the ever popular ROI they long for.

I was fortunate enough to meet Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver) last week, founder of the 140 Conference Series.  His visit to Detroit was to kick off the planning for the conference to make its way to the Motor City on October 20th.  I’m honored to be part of the team to help bring it here and put Detroit on the national stage for 2 days.  Since then, Jeff has mentioned on many occasions that he believes this conference will be special because of the people and the spirit he’s encountered in his brief visit.  I think if you asked any of us that got to hang out with him, this is another extension of the energy we felt after the Future Midwest Conference earlier this year.  There is a community of people that live in metro Detroit that want to help turn this region around and make it a national destination.  The opening video from Future Midwest still gives me chills.  Watch it below to see what I mean.

The final thought I’ll leave you with is this.  The social web is about one thing and one thing only…people.  There is not magic tool or “trick” to be successful at it.  As long as you have a personality and value the people you’re CONVERSING  WITH, you’ll have success.

Your turn.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  Have a great week!


8 thoughts on “Build Your Community and Embrace It!

  1. I look forward to meeting Jeff on his second visit in July. I have been helping with some things on my own with the conference. Learning a lot too! It should be a great event.

  2. Companies not using social media to communicate is like them having a ban on the phone or email (shut it – I know I banned email). But the point is that this is about TALKING with your customers, your prospects, your employees, and your stakeholders. We used to do market research in the hopes of figuring out how to market to the mass customer. Now we have the customer in the room. Let’s take advantage!

    • Too funny, Gini. Would I call you out on something like that? Yes, I would.

      To your point, this is about a conversation and knowing where our customers are. You and I both know with Facebook (as an example), the people are there. It’s up to us to get to know them and figure out the value we can provide them.

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  4. Thanks for the mention and the kind words Patrick. It is becoming more and more important that online communities reflect our offline relationships. The humanization factor comes into play big time, and this will only continue to be a requisite of any online dialogue.

  5. this is so true and great stuff!!

    the community that began & continues through FutureMidwest has been great… its been about getting to know others and not about just the conference…

  6. Pingback: Have you seen this person? « Salt and Light

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