• Business, Creating Community

    6 Common Mistakes in Community Building

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    Are you committing these mistakes when it comes time to build your community, especially in another language?

    Do you feel like what you’re doing isn’t working – even when you “THINK” you’re doing the best you can?

    How can you build a community in another language, especially when it’s not your first?

    Everyone wants a community that makes them feel like they belong. People want to feel like they made a connection, can build relationships, and learn something from a community. If your clients and customers are international – how can you build an inclusive community in various languages?

    Looking for community

    When I arrived in Madrid, my big goal was (and still is) to create a community. A community in English, a community in Spanish, and a bilingual community.

    I joined ALL the Facebook groups I could find relating to expats, entrepreneurship, business, networking, creativity, etc. I’ve gone to networking events in English and Spanish – pushing myself to meet new people and get to know my adopted city. I met others online, who are also location independent, online business owners, or creatives who work from home or coworking spaces.

    And still, I feel like I’m not finding what I’m looking for.

    After attending SO many groups and networking or “friendworking” meetings – these are common mistakes I’ve found that really deter me from returning to a community.

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    It’s not inclusive

    Inclusivity is a HUGE factor. This means the group sets CLEAR rules for what is tolerated and NOT tolerated.

    While I’ve joined groups that have stated inclusivity in all shapes, forms, sizes, etc. – it’s not always the case. There seems to be “one” idea of what a group wants and if I don’t fit that idea than I feel, many of the times, isolated. The last thing that a member of a community should feel is isolated and made to feel like the “other”.

    How can you make sure that your community is ACTUALLY inclusive?

    • Be open to all types of people
    • Keep an open mind
    • Allow members of a group to speak about subjects that they experience daily (do NOT silence their voices)
    • Create a set of rules for what’s tolerated and not tolerated (do not “bend the rules” for any instance – and be sure to address those who break these rules)

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    Your team doesn’t take the initiative

    In a community dynamic, there will be a plethora of extroverts who love to meet others and will go out of their way to do it. At the same time, there are a lot of introverts who need more of a push to reach out and make a connection. There are shy community members, lurkers, and people who never come because they don’t feel like they can go alone.

    Although I am an extrovert and love the idea of showing up to a networking event or conference alone – there are A LOT of people who cringe at the idea. Something I’ve noticed is that more successful communities and groups make sure that their team takes the initiative to move around the room, meet people, and make others feel welcome.

    I’ve been to a few networking events (professionally or personally) where I left feeling as though it made no difference that I was there. The host (and the team) did not take the initiative to greet me, introduce themselves, or make me feel comfortable in a setting.

    PRO TIP: Train your team to ALWAYS take the initiative to introduce themselves, first. As the business owner or host, you should constantly be reaching out and finding people who may look uncomfortable or a bit “lost”. Be the first to make contact and make sure they’re feeling taken care of.

    You’re copying what everyone else is doing

    There are plenty of communities to join all over the world – communities for female entrepreneurs, digital nomads, travel bloggers, creatives, yogis, adventure enthusiasts, etc. In each city, there will be groups dedicated to certain activities. If you’re not location independent, the Internet is a great resource to find groups to connect with people from anywhere!

    One thing I’ve noticed, however, is a lot of the groups start to be very similar. They have similar questions, activities, etc. I start getting confused with what the groups offer because they don’t have any unique factor.

    PRO TIP: Although there are other groups that offer the “same thing” – your business leading this movement means that it is unique. Do it YOUR way. Listen to your clients, what do they want? Take that and put your own twist on it.

    The group offers too much to too many people

    Niching down is not ONLY applicable to your business but to any group or community that you make.

    For example – I’ve joined various groups online and in-person, in different languages that were so disorganized, unclear, and confusing that I had no idea what to expect when attending an event. The more the company wanted to create offers for a large group of people, I noticed I received less value.

    The company didn’t create events or a “community” based on what their clients or future clients wanted – they created ideas off of what they thought was cool. Although that is tempting – how does that help your community? What type of value does that give to people if they’re joining?

    PRO TIP: When creating a group (or community), in any language, think about what you want your community members to receive from your group. How will THEY benefit from it, FIRST, before you do?

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    Your business model doesn’t understand how culture impacts buying power

    When I lived abroad during 2014-2016, I was not part of the buying culture of Spain. I lived in my own expat bubble, thinking that those two years abroad were for adventure and experience. I didn’t understand how a culture affects someone’s buying tendencies and how they need to be marketed to.

    Now that I’m back in Spain, more permanently, and with my own business – I’m quickly learning that culture DEFINITELY impacts buying power and tendencies. An American consumer thinks much differently than a Spanish consumer and a French consumer. This not only affects how you can utilize your group to grow your business – this also means that every person is looking for something “different”.

    How can you offer “something different” to each of your clients in your group – when you don’t want to offer too much and lose the purpose of your community?

    • Survey your community members to see what they want
    • Find the underlying factor that makes their wants/needs similar (ie: meeting people; belonging somewhere; growing their business; etc.)
    • Create content or events that allow for this type of interaction
    • Understand what holds them back from reaching their goals
    • Give them the resources and tools to achieve their ideas!

    There’s no real value or connection

    Ah – this one is HUGE. Although it can be argued that this is more the responsibility of each community member to find their own value and connection from each group – I also think it’s the company/business’s responsibility to create an atmosphere that fosters value and/or connection. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable to reach out within a group setting – that is the fault of the hosts.

    Some ideas for fostering value and connection:

    • Take initiative and do it first
    • Introduce people who may find value in each other
    • Create connections
    • Make your members feel like they provide value, too
    • Understand that this community isn’t about you anymore

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    Now that you know the 6 common mistakes when building a community – are you committing any of them?

    In review, to create a successful community, start here first:

    1. Be inclusive
    2. Take initiative
    3. Provide unique value (“your signature something”)
    4. Niche down
    5. Understand international/cultural buying tendencies
    6. Foster connection first

    A strong community not only provides a “safe space” for others, but it creates a unique loyalty to your brand and business. This type of brand loyalty doesn’t only foster higher conversions but it brings in the RIGHT type of clients for your business. That’s what we want, right? The IDEAL clients that give us great insight, appreciate our services, and talks about us to their friends and family – that’s a great client!

    What else do you think creates a strong community? Are there any big mistakes you see other companies or brand make? Share with us in the comments below!

    Enjoyed this post? You might like these, too:
    Attracting Your Ideal Clients Through Experiences
    Building An Audience of Clients and Fans Using Quizzes
    What’s the Best Way to Build a Community?
    5 Ways to Define Your Brand Personality

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    Community building is NOT easy as creating a group and throwing a bunch of people together. There's a strategy behind it, a sense of hospitality that must be met, and other things. Are you committing these 6 common mistakes in community building? -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio

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    6 Common Mistakes in Community Building | Business and Branding Tips for Entrepreneurs | How To Build A Community | How To Connect With Your Audience | How To Build Better Business Relationships | The Quirky Pineapple Studio
    Here are the 6 most common mistakes businesses and entrepreneurs make with building a community. Learn how to build better relationships with your community and ideal clients. These branding and business tips apply to all kinds of businesses and brands.