Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business

 

Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business

 

Lesson Info

Choose Your Platform

So let's talk about what some of the common platforms are. Obviously you guys have seen Facebook groups out the wazoo. You've seen Facebook groups with literally millions of people in them, you've seen Facebook groups with 100 people in them. Some of them work really well, and some of them are dens on inequity, right? Facebook groups are absolutely a platform that communities are built on. Slack, you guys familiar with Slack? Slack, if you're not familiar with it, is a tool that was developed for workplace chat, whether it's a big, open workplace like here at CreativeLive, where you might have to walk very far across the building to talk to somebody that you need to do a project with. It was also built for teams like mine that are virtual teams, right? We don't have an actual water cooler at CoCommercial headquarters, because CoCommercial headquarters is my house, and I sit in my home office, and if I want water, I can go down to the kitchen, although we talked about putting a water co...

oler upstairs just for fun, so that Shaun and I could have conversations at the water cooler. But Shannon's 20 minutes away, Megan's up in Boston, Kristen's in Vancouver, Rosie's down in Virginia. We're all over the place, so we need some place centralized where we can talk, share gifs, tell each other what we're doing, and that's Slack, but there are communities being built on Slack channels as well, and so that is a viable solution. BuddyPress, you guys familiar with BuddyPress? BuddyPress is a plugin for WordPress, and its goal is to turn WordPress into more of a social network type function. There are some bulletin board features that you can use with that if you'd like, BBPress, but Buddy press has sort of that social network feel to it. There's another solution called vanilla forums. That's probably the one on this list that I'm least familiar with, but if you do like that more forum feel, less of the social network or the more modern web 2.0, web 3.0 feel, and you're more into the web 1.0. I mean, I have a soft spot for web 1.0, I'm not gonna lie. Vanilla Forums is a really, really modern approach to that style of communication, and that might be really effective for you, and they have some really cool features and possibilities for you. And then of course, Mighty Networks. In an earlier lesson we had Gina Bianchini, the founder and CEO of Mighty Networks here. She talked about really why she was inspired to create Mighty Networks, why she's so bullish about network effects and how network effects are really built into the Mighty Networks platform. If you didn't see that lesson, make sure you go back and watch that lesson, for sure, because one, it was super inspirational. I've heard that talk before and I was really inspired by it, and two, I think it really gives you a good idea of the ethos, and the vision, and the purpose behind Mighty Networks as a platform. So let's dive into three of these solutions that I think are probably the three most likely to be on your radar. So let's talk about Facebook groups pros and cons. First of all, which could be both a pro and a con, is that it's free. Any time something is free, there are going to be potential issues with that. On the other hand, it's free, which is really great. So that's a legitimate thing to think about, is if you don't have a lot of start up capital, maybe even $20 a month, $50 a month is too much right now. I would argue that that's not true, but it's possible that it literally is too much. Facebook groups are free, and that could work really well. Another pro, and also con of Facebook groups, is that people already have a habit of being there. When people already have a habit of being there, it means that there is already an established culture and an established habit. There's already an established protocol for what you do on that platform, and there's only so much you as a community leader and manager can do to influence the culture that is going to be in your Faebook group, but by the same token, because people are used to being there, they're way more likely to engage with that group, or so the thinking goes. I would argue that that can be not true as well, but that's another thing to think about. Notifications, we're really used to Facebook notifications. Nobody complains about Facebook notifications. Well, I won't say nobody, but most people don't complain about Facebook notifications. You love getting them, you love checking them, and so when your group creates a notification, which is changing a lot, that can be a positive thing. Now, an actual con for Facebook groups, or an only con, is that you have no control over distribution. You don't know from one day to the next whether a post you make in your group is going to go into someone's feed, and you don't know a month from now, six months from now, a year from now, how Facebook is going to view groups in light of their strategy. Right now community building is Zuckerburg's strategy, but his idea of what community building means, and your idea of what community building means, and his idea of how community happens on Facebook, and your idea of how you want to use Facebook to create community, very likely are different, and so that's really something to think about. The end game, the long game with Facebook groups is sketchy at best, okay? So that's something to consider. Do you want to put work, do you wanna put your users' work, your members' work, because that's really what we're talking about here, into building something that you don't know what it's gonna look like six months from now. Facebook is also really noisy, so as Gina mentioned, when you're in a Facebook group, or when you're building a Facebook group, those posts that people are seeing in their feed are right next to cat pictures, and political articles, and your crazy uncle who's outraged about something. It's all in there together. It's really noisy and there's a lack of purpose when you land on Facebook. The purpose of Facebook is distraction. It's curing boredom, or it's creating boredom, and that's where you're putting your content. I would say that's really dangerous, and it's something that you should really consider. You're also gonna get a lot of value engagement on Facebook. What is the value of a like? How is the value of a like changed from this year, to last year, to the year before that, to the year before that? The value of a like has changed dramatically. How people interact with posts has changed dramatically. More people than ever before will like something they've never read. More people than ever before will share something they haven't read. Is that the kind of engagement you want on you community? And then finally, it's hard to arrange content. There are no categories as of yet in Facebook groups. There are some cool things where you can pin documents and add documents to Facebook. I was really glad to see when they rolled that out and that's made a couple of the groups that I do participate in easier to use. Really, it's just one group that I participate in on Facebook. It's definitely made them easier to use, so there's some pluses there, but mostly when it comes to arranging content, it's a lot of minuses, and the search on Facebook groups is gnarly. It is not good, so that's a problem too if you do have kind of a depth of content that people wanna go back and access. If it's more of the moment, you're just constantly talking about new stuff, that probably doesn't matter to you so much, but if you're the kind of person who likes to build more lengthy posts, have more lengthy conversations, those things get buried and have a hard time getting resurfaced, okay? So that's Facebook groups pros and cons. The next one up is Slack. Let's talk about Slack pros and cons. Slack is also free. Yes, there is a way you can pay Slack. I have a team of six, we have hundreds of thousands of messages. We do not pay Slack. We don't need to pay Slack. Maybe if you're building a community, that might be something that you wanna think about paying for, but you can get started absolutely free, for sure. There's also lots of really cool integrations with Slack. So if you use other tools, maybe you use Google Drive, maybe you use Zoom, maybe you use... I'm trying to think of other integrations that we use. Those are the two main ones that we use. Slack integrates with all sorts of things, and that can help you build some really cool features for your community. Not gonna lie, there's some really cool stuff you can do with that, including sharing gifs, which is fun. So Giphy is another integration that we use a lot. Yeah, so there's lots of great integrations there. There's a fun chat format. If you grew up in chatrooms as I did, as I shared yesterday, chatting is fun. I love chatting. I love that I can just dive in there and talk to a group of people and I love keeping up with it. Not everyone likes keeping up with chat, so this can be a pro and a con. For me, it's very much a pro. Absolutely love it. I don't care what happened five minutes ago. I only care about what happened right now. I'm good with that. A lot of people get very overwhelmed by that, so if you're thinking about that rich versus overwhelming, chat format can be dangerous. It's also a new tool for a lot of people. You guys might all be familiar with Slack, at least in the idea of it, but there are a lot of people out there, corporate America, retail America, everything America, that have never heard of Slack. You and I might think it's ubiquitous. It is absolutely not, so if you run a community that's gonna be full of people who are not familiar with that tool, that can be dangerous. You're asking people to learn something new, and as familiar as I might think it feels, there's a good chance your membership is not going to think that it feels familiar. Again, Slack is very difficult to organize content on. It is a very of the moment, here's what we're talking about right now. The best you can do in terms of organizing content with Slack that I've seen is just having really smart channels. Think of channels like categories, so if you wanna have a marketing channel where you only talk about marketing, or you wanna have a three year old channel where you only talk about three year olds, that's great, but you're still not gonna have a library of that content. It's still gonna be a chat type format, so it doesn't help people find things. It just helps them find people to chat with, okay? Slack, I have... I'm very aware of a number of Slack groups that have been incredible communities for people, but that's in spite of a bunch of these cons. It's probably not one that I would recommend for most communities, but it will work for some communities. Is that enough of a disclaimer? Okay. And then finally, let's dive a little bit further into Mighty Networks. You can give this a try for free, too, but it is not free. Most of the features that you're gonna wanna use are on paid plans. It's not expensive. I really need to have a talk with Gina about how much she's charging for it. It's not expensive, but it's not free. It has a social network format, so it feels very familiar. The onboarding to Mighty Networks is very similar to onboarding to Facebook. You fill out a profile, you follow some topics, you add some... Well, you don't add friends, but you can follow members. It feels pretty familiar, again, at least from my perspective, not from everyone's perspective. You can customize the landing page, so you can really turn it into a website for yourself, and they have a couple of different varieties of landing pages at this point that you can use to customize that. You can actually take payment and manage subscriptions from Mighty Networks. It's not perfect, but it's great, and it makes things really centralized. It is a separate website and app to go to, and I know that that can be problematic for some people. Everyone's on Facebook. It can feel difficult to ask people to sign into a different place, so that's something to consider. And another pro is member connections. If you want to help members meet other members, whether they have the same age kids, whether they have the same specialty in the work that they do, whether they just happen to be in the same city or the same geographical region, Mighty Networks does that really well. One of the things I love about Mighty Networks most is when I'm traveling, I can actually check my CoCommercial app and see who's nearby me right now. So when I'm here, I can see that Melissa, and Maya, and Alice are right here, right? It says it on my app, they're right here, along with everybody else in the bay. When I'm down in Virginia, I can see that my mom is right here. It's the only people on the eastern charts, my mom and my brother. But whether I'm in Portland or I'm in Montana, I can look on my app and see who's near me, which is pretty cool. If I wanna have an impromptu meetup, I can chat those people and say, hey, meet me at the brewery at three o'clock, let's chat. That's rad, what else does that? I don't know. Anyhow, Gina's really big into that, and I can see why. It's a really, really cool feature, and it helps me see new members, too, as I travel around, and you can do the same thing. So those are some of the pros and cons between three of the main apps that people choose to build communities on. What questions do you guys have about apps, platforms, services that you can use to build communities? Denise, did you have... 'Cause we can start here and move that way. Okay, for example, I use Infusionsoft as my ecommerce, lists, et cetera, it's all in one. So how would that integrate with Mighty Networks. For example, can I take my payment through that, or do I have to have two different payments systems then? Great question. So Mighty Networks is working on a Zapier integration that will be available really soon. I don't wanna put a date on it, because it's so close. They're in Zapier limbo right now. As soon as the Zapier integration becomes live, you will be able to integrate just about any email, payment system that also integrates with Zapier with it. We have been waiting for it for a year now and I'm so glad that it is just about here, because that pretty much answers that question. That would be a key thing for me, because I don't want another system. Totally agree, absolutely, I am on the same page as you. Yeah, and the same thing with Slack. You could create some Slack integrations between Infusionsoft and Zapier with Slack as well, yeah. Oh yeah, hi. I'm thinking of using Slack 'cause I do have an idea for a Mighty Network size network, but right now I'm thinking of using Slack as part of my writing program, so I'd just love your take on what you think the pros and cons might be to use Slack to facilitate a writing program. The program content is on another tool. Okay, talk to me about the kind of member interactions you wanna have. I'd like them to be able to share links to things they've written. I'd like them to give feedback to each other. I'd like them to have discussions around what the piece of writing made them feel, how they responded to a piece of writing, that kind of thing. Yeah, so here's where my concern with Slack comes in is there are threaded conversations in Slack, but it's kind of a buried, more advanced feature, and so when you're talking about giving feedback, unless you're saying, alright guys, we're all meeting in Slack at this time to chat about this thing, and I'm gonna tag people, and we're gonna go, Maya goes first, Melissa goes next, Alice goes next. You're gonna run into things being really confusing as people chat through stuff, unless you're really explicit about them using the threaded comments, and I'm gonna tell you right now, they're not gonna use the threaded comments. So the benefit of Facebook, or Mighty Networks, or BuddyPress, or Vanilla forums, over something like Slack is that you're gonna have that ability to organize a conversation better, so if you wanna have somebody get feedback on a piece of writing, they can start a new post with that piece of writing or a link, and then there can be a threaded conversation below that or within that, and so the one conversation is contained. You don't get that with Slack, okay? Like I said, you can do it, so I don't want anyone to email me and be like, Tara, you can do that. Yeah, I know you can do it. No one does it. It always catches me off guard when one of my very advanced Slack-user team members is threading something to me, and if it catches me off guard, it's gonna catch your other members off guard, 'cause I'm pretty good at this stuff. So that's my biggest concern there, and I've seen that really backfire on people. I have used Slack for small group coaching things. I would not use it again. Now that we have Mighty Networks, we set up everything as a group in Mighty Networks for that very reason. Each conversation becomes contained, okay? And to me, that's really important when we're talking about going for depth and going for organization, because again, with feedback, you're gonna wanna come back and reference that again, so anything you wanna come back and reference again, I don't think is a good use of Slack. Just as a completely different use case but similar idea, we have a communication policy internally on our team that Slack is only for brainstorming and here's what I need right now kinds of things. Once a decision is made or an action item is created, it has to go to a sauna, alright? So that's the same thing, because a sauna is some place we can go back and reference again. That's why it needs to go there. I assume that any comment I make in Slack is gone as soon as I've made it and that people are not going back and reviewing, here are all... 'Cause we've got a bunch of part-time employees. No one's going in after they've been gone for 12 hours or 24 hours and looking through all the Slack conversations. I don't do that and obviously I work full-time in my business, okay? Does that make sense? Yes. Cool, Alice. How do you feel about interacting with several platforms? One of the things that I love about, just from my own experience as a CoCommercial member, I have conversations on Facebook and private messages with some members, and then I have a couple of Slack groups with other members, so I feel like there's a lot of stuff that I do around CoCommercial that's not actually on the platform. We should talk to you about that. And that's the interesting thing that I'm just noticing now. If I want to have a community, I'm thinking very strongly, Mighty Networks, just because for what I wanna create, I want that contained, I want that customized look, sharing images, et cetera. But I also really like Slack, and I really like how that kind of feels, and I really like how we can share with each other on Facebook messenger, but it would be really cool to bring that into CoCommercial, of course, because clearly the things we talk about is also really valuable for the community as a whole. I mean, now I get it as somebody who's gonna make that community, so I just wanted to sort of hear your take. Yeah, so I would say communication's going to happen, and it's gonna happen where people are, right? I don't only talk to Shaun on text message. Sometimes we text message, sometimes... I'm trying to think of other places that I... We know. We talk to each other in the living room sometimes. Very rarely do we talk to each other on the phone, right? Communication happens where you're at. That's not something I want to control or could control. I think that if you wanna facilitate more realtime conversation, that's a great thing to do, so we try and create, I wouldn't say a balance, but we have a mind toward balance when it comes to synchronis and asynchronis conversation, so online communities tend to be asynchronis. One person shows up and posts something at 8:00 a.m., someone comments at 9:00 a.m. when they show up, someone comments at 11 o'clock at night because they're in Australia, and that conversation happens asynchronisly as the day goes on, as members come and go. Synchronis events are things like our coworking hours, our flash masterminds, the chat that's happening in CoCommercial right now alongside this class, Q&A calls, virtual conferences, those things are all synchronis, where we're all saying let's get together and talk about this thing, and so I would encourage you to think about how you wanna approach that piece as well. Some communities do really well on just asynchronis communication. Again, if you're the kind of person who grew up with modem internet like I am, you're really used to having to wait for a response, because maybe your brother needed to make a phone call, or your mom need to do business or something, and you couldn't be on the internet all day. Oh my god, how did I live? But a lot of people really appreciate synchronis communication, obviously. It's why a lot of the tools that are moving away from text messaging and moving into that next generation of more synchronis, more millennial, I guess, digital tools. Those people tend to really appreciate synchronis communication, and extroverts tend to appreciate synchronis communication when it comes to only communities as well, and so that's one way that we've been able to actually pull a lot of our extrovert lurkers into a more active role. They'll show up when they can actually talk to someone. It's this talking into the void that really messes with their brains, and I understand it. I like talking into the void, personally. Can you actually... I'm just curious, I don't know if this is a thing, 'cause we have these chats. I was part of the chats in every other CreativeLive course, and I really, really appreciate that 'cause I'm an extrovert. Is there a way to just have an ongoing chat? Yes, yeah, we turned that feature off because, me, as an introvert, that would drive me nuts. But can it be somewhere? We turn it off, but it's something you turn on and off as you go, or when we set up an event like this, we can say it's an online chat and the system turns it on automatically. Well, it's not quite automatic, but it's close. It makes it easy for us to have a contained chat. One of the cool things Mighty Networks does with that, as you guys know, is with the push of a button, you can turn the chat into a transcript that is a post that posts to your network, which is really sweet for people who do wanna kind of go back and review that synchronis communication. So sort of like taking a Slack chat, but actually making a post out of it, so for an expert, ask me anything, that's a really good thing. Our coworking hours, we do that with. Is it unwieldy? Yes, but some people know there's enough value in there that they'll go through and just kind of review what's going on. I just read the chat from yesterday. Oh, did you really? I did, yeah. That's awesome, good to know. Wow. You broke the rings. We're gonna be following up with all of you to learn more. Nadia. I've been following Access Ally for a while, and I know I heard somebody else, somebody in here was actually using it. I've been kind of dreaming of using it. Does that have the capability of community building as well? So that, I actually don't know, which is sad, because I really like Natalie, and I really like her products, and I use a bunch of them. Did you say you've been using Access Ally. I am using it, and it's related to my question too, so maybe we could combine this into one super question that you can answer. Yeah, okay, so I'll say that the reason I didn't include it in this list is because I tried to get away from the content-oriented membership site tools. There's a lot of those, right? There's ClickFunnels, I think Infusionsoft has a membership gateway kind of thing built into it poorly, there's Kajabi, there's a whole bunch. That's not what we're talking about. We're not talking about content-driven membership sites, so I didn't include things that I would consider more in that vein, but I will let you ask the rest of your question. That was one of the things that attracted me to Access Ally was the fact that because I was trying to create content, that would take the overwhelm out and you can go through it step by step, so it's kind of like having an online course platform, and so my question was that, now that I have this in place and I've invest a lot of time into building that, I'm not eager to just switch over to Mighty Networks, but at the same time, because of Facebook's recent changes, I'm eager to get off of Facebook, so I'm wondering, even though I'm relatively locked into something like Access Ally or whatever other platform, is Mighty Networks something that I can also integrate for the social network aspect and the app aspect, even if I were to maybe use a different domain name, and then put Mighty Networks on that domain, and then integrate it with the membership site or something like that? Yes. Absolutely. So a few things there. One, Mighty Networks is working on a content management system, so you can think of it... They're thinking of it as courses, but it's gonna be really adaptable for all sorts of different kinds of content, so we don't courses, but we do do events, right? And so those events, we are gonna be able to better organize using that feature. Now, that's not ready yet and we don't have a date for that yet, but it's coming, and it's been coming, and they're very focused on it. I just can't tell you when it's gonna happen. So that was one thing I wanted to say. Another thing you can do is Mighty Networks allows you to have two kind of home button icons in your nav bar, so you can actually have your content library linked up in your nav bar, and you can have it in your drop down menu as well, so you can have a content library linked that's going to allow you to go back and forth. If you're on the pro plan, which is not super accessible in terms of cost at this point, but if you're on it, there's also a single sign on option that they can hook you up with, so if you sign into one or you sign into the other, you're signed into both, which makes it a lot more seamless. I'm trying to think if there was anything else I wanted to add to that. 'Cause on one hand, it would be kind of annoying to... Okay, I've just logged in to Real to Ideal Revolution using my Access Ally login, which they don't know what it is, but I've just logged into the website using that login, and now I have to log into Mighty Networks with a different login, but then again, it's not any different than Facebook. It is not any different than Facebook, and like Facebook, once you're logged in, it's kind of hard to log out of Mighty Networks. It's not like it's constantly kicking you out like a lot of sites do. So I could just treat Mighty Networks like Facebook. Exactly. So yes, you're gonna have a separate login, but you're gonna like it so much better than Facebook, and you have an app on your phone, just like Facebook. It's just that all of the content, if you want to use the DIY content, happens to be over here with a different login. Exactly, exactly. Big deal. Yep, that's it. I have a quick clarification. So did you say that Mighty Networks does currently have some sort of content platform or not yet? No, not yet. So there will be a way to organize content essentially into groups and give people sort of the step by step table of contents. Now, we've kind of gerryrigged that in the past where I've had a table of contents post and then here are the different posts within this particular group of content. We've done that to support some CreativeLive classes in the past, and so you can play with it, for sure. There are definitely ways that you can mess with it as it exists to make it easier for people to find the content that they're looking for. There's also a pinned features section, so you can feature this course, this course, and this course, have your table of contents, those go out to post. That's essentially, as I understand it, what the course feature is going to look like in the future anyhow, it's just you're gonna have even more flexibility. It'll be more directed and it'll be easier for your members to navigate that content than it would be right now. Okay, cool, thank you. Yeah, you're welcome. Yeah. One more question. Around the different membership levels. Yes. They're all in the same Mighty Network, but there's walls so that you can have the conversation with people at level-- Yes. --two and nobody from level one is aware of that, or something like that. So that exists? Yep, that absolutely exists already. They're working on adding support for paying at different levels. That does not exist yet, but that's coming with the course feature, so it's on the near horizon, in terms of features. Let's say you have a premium tier that you sell through an outside service like Infusionsoft. You have a group for them, you can have a specific chatroom for that group, you can have specific featured posts for that group. Trying to think if there's anything else, but yeah, it's totally quarantined off on the side, we totally do that. So they wouldn't pay through Mighty Networks, then? Right, which is-- That's separate, and then you put them into the group. Yes, so that's a con. As a compt thing, let's say. Yes, exactly, that's what we do, yeah. Okay. It certainly adds a level of management that I would prefer not to be there, but it is what it is. There is no perfect platform, as with everything, Your email provider, your social media manager, whatever it might be, there is no perfect thing. You find the one that works best for you. Yeah. I would also think, but you haven't really mentioned, the implementation process and the support that platform can provide you. Ahh, yes, well, I could talk about that. We could really turn this into a commercial for Mighty Networks. So, do you guys get any support from Facebook? No! If you spend money with Facebook, they're very happy to help you, and actually, I've had great support from their ads team before, but running a group is not having an ads account, and they will not help you with that. I shouldn't say that I don't know they won't help you, but my guess is that there's really no help with that, just like you don't have help with being just a person on Facebook. Slack, I've not dealt with their customer service department at all before, but they've got super robust FAQs, and here's how you do everything, and there's a community of Slack users so that if you Google, how do I do this thing on Slack? There's gonna be an answer. Someone will have already figured it out. And same kind of thing with Facebook as well, there's lot of workarounds there. Mighty Networks may be the most responsive tool in terms of customer service I have ever used. ConvertKit is up there with it as well. I love the team at ConvertKit, I love how responsive they are. Mighty Networks... I don't know if this is still true, but last year, as we were getting started in implementing things and really just diving into it full force, we would send a support email, and we would get a response from Gina. Rosie would be like, how do we do this? She'd write the support box, how do we do this thing? And one time we just got an email straight back from Gina. Here's how you do it, here's the documentation, let us know if you need more help. Brian is one of their main support people. Brian is a god of customer support. He knows how to do everything and he is so kind, and friendly, and just... They are an incredibly supportive team, and they also have a really good library of FAQs, and you can kind of bounce your members back and forth between your own FAQs and using their FAQs to make it easy as well, so that gives you a little bit more support in that documentation, and policies, and procedures piece of things. Okay, any other questions about platforms before we move on? Yeah, Jen. Can you speak to if Mighty Networks has any sort of triggers for sales forces triggers, like, oh, this person was asking a question about this. Maybe we should upsell them that. No, it does not have that. That is certainly something that would be absolutely amazing. I think, possibly into the future, looking at where the Zap integration could go, there could be things that you could build in that way. We do track new member use. This was maybe a really nerdy thing that I was not going to get into, but we tend to track things like that, so we have a spreadsheet where all the members go, and our member experience specialists are tracking, did this person upload a profile picture? Did they fill out their bio? Did they ask this about this? Did they ask about that? And we just track that manually at this point. Yeah, I know. That is maybe a little more advanced that you need to do. What? It's great data. Yeah, it is great data, and it just helps us track who we think is going to churn and who we think isn't going to churn. Churn isn't a word we've used yet, but churn just simply means when people leave. Retention is the opposite of churn, right? And so that helps us get a better feel for are we actually engaging with people? What actions cause someone to stay and what actions don't really make any difference? Yeah, so before we wrap up this lesson on platforms, I just wanna kind of talk again about the fear of not building your thing on Facebook, okay? So whatever platform you decide to choose, I am going to recommend that it is not Facebook. My experience, what I have seen, is that for all the benefits there are of being on Facebook, the cons outweigh the pros. I would challenge you to build something that's good enough, valuable enough, useful enough, engaging enough, that you don't have to rely on people's bad habits with Facebook to get people to use it. That's my challenge to you as community builders. It is not worth building something this valuable, this incredible, this tied to your mission, based on a platform that a lot of people want to quit. Why would you do that? More people than ever before a just saying, no, I'm done with this, or I'm going on sabbatical, or I'm doing a digital detox. I wanna have the platform that people don't wanna detox from, and have none of those negative associations. Guys, I quit the Facebook feed back in August, and my Mighty Network, CoCommercial, is one of the core reasons I felt able to do that. I still had that great interaction with people. I had great conversations. I still got the fix from my notifications, right? I knew that I could keep track of the people that I really wanted to serve and create for, and it didn't have to be on Facebook anymore. Do I still post on my page? Yes, do I still post to my profile? Yes, I actually started, about a month ago, going back in and checking my notifications again, but I was for months completely off of Facebook personally, and building a platform, building a community, that gave me what I wanted out of social media, gave me what I wanted out of online community, with none of the negatives, is what allowed me to do that. So it is possible. There is freedom from Facebook, and I challenge you to make it a reality.

Class Description

When you have a small business, you’re always on the lookout for your next customer. They might pop up at a networking event, they could subscribe to your email list, they might fill out the contact form on your website.

Too often, knowing where your next customer is going to come from seems unpredictable at best and, at worst, like a huge gamble.

Luckily, there’s a way to ensure you always know where your next customer is coming from—and that your existing customers purchase from you more often—and that’s by building a community.

All sorts of businesses can benefit from making community-building part of their growth strategy and many can benefit from making it part of their business model, too. Whether it’s an informal community (like an email list or Instagram hashtag), a brand-driven community (like a free Facebook group that brings together people in love with the same brand and values), or a dedicated community (like a local group, interest-based social network, or a support group, your business can cultivate deeper connections with existing and potential customers.

Of course, an engaged community doesn’t just happen. If you want to reap the benefits of community-building for your business, you need a plan.

In Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business, Tara Gentile, the founder of the small business support & social network CoCommercial, will share the must-dos, nice-to-haves, and compelling extras you need to make the most of the community you build around your business. By the end of this class, you’ll have a plan for making community-building an integral part of your marketing strategy—and always knowing where your next customer will come from.

Tara will cover:

  • Simple ways to generate community without a group or forum
  • Why and how to level up into a dedicated space for your business’s community
  • How to create a clear reason Why for joining or participating in your community
  • The systems and procedures you’ll need to manage the workload
  • How to avoid community management burnout
  • How to plan to earn more through your community—whether that’s through charging for membership, selling add-on offers, or generating more word of mouth marketing

Stop waiting for your next customer to come to you and start building a community that brings new business your way every day.