Whatever your business, whatever the marketing gurus and their swipe files tell you, there’s nothing more vital to your business than building a tribe

IWANT to talk about community. No, I don’t mean people gathering at the village hall, street parties, or reinvigorating that ‘blitz spirit’ so many people harp on about here in Blighty. I mean the community you’re building around your business.

Tribe. Audience. Community. It’s all kind of the same thing but, regardless of semantics, if you don’t get this right, you’re building castles on cardboard foundations.

I hear it time and time again. People are being suckered into the impossible dreams the snake oil salespeople are pedalling.

Too many of you think you can just build an online programme, or create some sales funnels, or shout about your latest venture on social and the sales will start pouring in.

Sorry. It doesn’t work that way.

Ooh! Shiny!

Before buying into any of the shiny marketing gizmos on offer, you need to build your community. You need to put the legwork into showing that a) you’re good at whatever it is you claim to be good at and b) you care.

Did point feel a bit fluffy for you? Let me put it into sharper language for you then: you need to give a shit.

If you don’t care, if you’re in this just for the cold, hard cash, people will sense that and give you a wide berth.

If you don’t care, if you’re in this just for the cold, hard cash, people will sense that and give you a wide berth. Or, at least, anyone you attract will be interested in exactly the same — money — which means they’ll be looking to drive you down on price and squeeze blood out of your proverbial stone.

If you’re a ‘solopreneur’ (I’m really not big on sticking ‘preneur’ onto the ends of words, but it seems to be what you’re all calling yourselves these days) and you’re trying to compete purely on price, you’ve already lost.

If you’re pedalling products, you can’t compete on volume against the big boys, and if you’re service-led, there will always be someone willing to do it cheaper until your base rate is sweet F A.

Back to the point

Whatever your business is, if you don’t have followers, if you haven’t built your network, there’ll be nobody to buy from you.

You cannot be a secret and a success at the same time, and you’ll win harder and stronger if you take the route of actually showing why you care, why this business of yours is your passion and why people should work with you. Place as many ads as you like, but it’s the networking that will generate your success.

Think about it… the ads might buy you eyeballs, but then what? That’s where the networking comes in.

Show up on relevant social channels and in the right groups regularly. Engage with other people. Show your expertise. Help people without expecting a sale. Give people a reason to follow you, to learn to trust you, like you and want to buy from you.

Trust me on this, you will become far more visible, far more quickly, if you give people that feelgood factor, lend a hand and give them a reason to tell all their pals about you!

Search and ye shall find

Use searches on social channels to find people talking about your area of expertise and start chipping into those conversations. Yes — even Twitter. Especially Twitter… this is where that particular channel lights up. Treat it like a virtual cocktail party.

What about Insta? Who are the influencers worth knowing, those that are relevant to your offering? If you’re a local business needing local visibility, which are the popular accounts in your neck of the woods? Who runs them?Are they relevant to your audience? Start those conversations, or chip in on the comment streams and tag them in.

What about Facebook? Are you working your pages? Are you being of service in the relevant groups? Have you joined all the right ones? You need the groups your potential clients hang out in, not the ones for people in the same line of work as you (though that’s not to rule out collaborations — they can rock too).

LinkedIn? Please don’t tell me it’s ‘too businessy’ for you. You are running a business. Get busy there. Post regularly — every day if you can, or at least three times a week. Spent time connecting with and talking to the people you’d love to have as your customers. Don’t schmooze and pitch — just get to know them. Comment on their posts. Add value.

If you’re doing email marketing, make sure it’s of use. Don’t just spam people with your products. Give for the sake of giving. Aim for trust before shooting for sales.

If you’re doing email marketing, make sure it’s of use. Don’t just spam people with your products. Give for the sake of giving. Aim for trust before shooting for sales.

Network in person too. There’s a big ol’ life and business world beyond Facebook. I promise.

You need to be realistic. If you’ve grown an audience of 500, that’s awesome, but they won’t all turn up when you run your first event. You need to grow your audience into the thousands, and keep delivering really good stuff, before filling your events starts to feel a bit easier.

I know it feels really tough but, honestly, your reputation — and community — will take time to build. It’ll be worth it in the long run though.

One more thing… don’t expect to become an overnight success. That’s another reason it’s so important to have a real passion for your business… it’s far easier to survive on Aldi baked beans in the early years if you’re doing something you love!

Now, stop reading this and go make some new contacts — remember to keep in touch with your existing pals too!

#UnleashYourAwesome,

Taz

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Taz Thornton is the author of Awesome Sauce — a free, weekly positive life and business round-up, with good news stories, positivity tips and visibility hacks for your brand. In a few minutes each week, you get a dose of optimism and some awesome advice to get seen and stay happy.

Taz is also a best-selling author, inspirational business speaker and consultant on confidence, personal brand and visibility, award-winning coach (UK’s Best Female Coach 2018 — Best Business Woman Awards), consultant and creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome and #BrandMastery personal and business development programmes, as well as #UNLEASHED — an affordable confidence, content and cashflow building programme for coaches, healers and therapists.

She has been featured on BBC, ITV, in HuffPost, Diva and countless other newspapers, magazines and podcasts. Taz is also a regular columnist for the America Out Loud talkshow network.

Find her on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Insta.