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Conversations are going on around your brand and market, whether you are participating or not. A great way to jump into the social mix is to create communities around those conversations. When you build a community, you can lead the conversation, and create a platform where individuals can solve problems.
By identifying and working with passionate individuals and experts you can create strong communities of loyal fans. Influencers play a special role within online communities. They produce a majority of the content and tend to be the most active participants. Finding ways to support the influencers in your community gives them more opportunities to produce relevant content and share their experiences with the rest of the group.
But getting started can be the hardest part. I caught up with one of my favorite (and the best) community builders, Christin Kardos, to ask how she creates such awesome communities. Among many communities in which she participates and leads, Christin manages the weekly #SbizHour (Mondays at 1 pm PST on Google Hangout and Twitter). Here’s her advice on building communities of advocates:
"When starting a community, I tap into the enthusiasm of the people who want to see the community exist in the first place. These people might be social connections, business partners, clients, team members, friends or family. But if a community is to be born, it's because there's a need or an interest. So, the first thing I want to do is to communicate with interested parties and encourage them to be part of the launching efforts. These folks will help to promote the new community and will likely be active participants as well. They'll share on their social profiles, tell their connections and sometimes even discuss the community on their own websites, podcasts, etc."
"The biggest benefit of building an online community is that, as they say in the Marine Corps, it's a "force multiplier." In the simplest terms, people are stronger and better informed when they are connected to others that they find valuable. So, a successful community is not only supporting a cause, business initiative or interest, but it is also empowering individuals through connections and information. This builds more credibility for the community itself and the underlying cause, which then attracts more people to the community - and the cycle of positive growth continues."
"I think Paper.Li is doing a great job of building, sustaining and growing a community with #BizHeroes. Their cornerstones, Kelly Hungerford (@KDHungerford) and Magda Torres (MagdaATQ) truly understand how to use social media in a way that is fun, interesting and above all, human. Their weekly chat covers a range of topics that celebrate "Business Heroes" as they shine in the everyday Twitter space."
There are about a million influencer marketing use cases, along with community building. To check out a few... 15 to be exact... download our Influencer Marketing Flashcards.