Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business

 

Lesson Info

Craft the Right Message (Hot Seat with Nadia Santiago)

Tell us who you are, what you do, and where we can find you online. My name is Nadia, and I'm a digital media specialist in the area of fitness. You can find me on, well I have a website, nadiasantiago.com. I'm actually in the middle of a blogging challenge, which is super cool, for fitness. Awesome! Excellent, all right, great. So, tell us about the community that you're building. So, I'm building up. Right now, I have a Facebook group, for fitness nutrition and wellness bloggers, and I would like to expand that even more, to bring in more wellness professionals, so that we can help support one another in creating content to put out into the world. Fantastic, okay, great. So, what kind of situations then are gonna trigger people using this community that you're building? I would say that, a lot of times, people max out in terms of the amount of hours they can train or teach fitness classes. So a lot of people are seeking to go put their services online, but they don't have t...

he authority to do that. So blogging and creating digital content can help create that authority. Okay, got it, got it, got it. So, I kind of understand the broader reason people are going to use the community, but I think we need to narrow it down a little bit more, so that it's more of a trigger. So what is the trigger where they're going to go to the community, instead of writing on their blog, or posting to Instagram? Does that make more sense? Yes, it does, actually. Okay, good. Yeah. So, a lot of coaches and helping professionals have a hard time making time to create content. And they'll join the group specifically for accountability. Okay. So, that's a really tough one, I'm just gonna tell you. And I'll tell all of you, too, if the problem is not enough time, community generally is not the answer people seek out. Okay. Because community feels like, or we have a story in our heads, that community takes a long time. So, if I'm gonna be part of an online community, then I have to invest a lot of time in it. Now you and I and everyone here can be like, no, community saves you time, it's great! No one will listen to you. (laughs) Trust me. So, I would not use save time as a trigger for joining. Because also then at that moment, when they're like, oh my god, I just don't have enough time, they also don't have enough time to post about it in the community, or to share about it in the community. What I mean is not save time as the trigger, but rather the need for accountability. Maybe that's not the right wording. I'm also gonna tell you that accountability is a tricky one. I'll tell you all that too. People love to say they want a place for accountability. (audience laughing) They hate doing anything about accountability. Guess why, 'cause they have no accountability. (laughs) So, I'm gonna nix that one, too. This is good, this is a really good hot seat, because it's making me think really good. Or really hard, I should say. So, when they come to the community, what do you want them to be able to get out of it? I want them to want to, one, learn how to create each piece of content. So I did my bachelor's in communications and design. So for me, it's a no-brainer. Yeah, totally. It's really easy, but I tend to think that it's easy for everybody else, as well, to just pop out a blog in an hour, you know? I have that problem, too. (laughs) So they'll come to learn how to create the blog, but also how to increase their productivity, in terms of how to schedule time in their day, how to create a writing habit, and what programs to use, in order to create those digital products. All right, gotcha. Okay, so we're getting somewhere here. My concern is that those are all content-based needs, not community-based needs. Okay. So, if you wanna build community, and I think community makes tons of sense for you, you need to give people a reason, a benefit of actually communicating with, or connecting with other people, not connecting with your content. Because then, otherwise, you're building a different type of blog. Right, that makes sense. And as a blogger, that is a very real, I mean, it's very easy to fall into that. Thinking like, I create the content, people wanna consume it, then we can talk about it. You don't wanna do that, because that constantly ups your content needs then. It puts the burden on you, and you wanna put the burden on the member connection. Yes. So if they're coming because they want to create content, they need to create content, 'cause they want to expand their business, they wanna be, they wanna build authority online as a wellness coach, a nutritionist, a personal trainer. What can they, how will they benefit from connecting with other people who are doing the same thing? Well, my vision for that was to, you know, you were saying I shouldn't fall into the trap of being the expert. Actually, my vision did not include me being the expert. Good, tell me more about this. Yeah, so, when I realized that I was the only one posting, and people didn't seem to know exactly how to do things, I started becoming the person who was talking at them, versus the engagement piece. So there were very few people who were engaging with the posts. And my vision for it, really, was for it to be a support community, for coaches and wellness professionals, to share their ideas, to talk about how they create their posts, or digital content as well, and then also to challenge one another, instead of me creating the challenges on my own. Okay, so how about this then, for a trigger, a trigger for using your community might be, I just created this post on Instagram. Here's how I did it, here's why I did it. Let me know what you think. Yes. Okay? Yeah. Or, I just created this YouTube video, it's gotten a lot of views, but it hasn't gotten any comments. Why do you think that might be? Mm, okay. All right? So, then you can use the content that they're creating as the trigger. Now, you might wanna tweak that, and I would highly recommend it, and figure it out, you know, what is the best thing, what behavior do I want to trigger when they create a piece of content? But fitness professionals especially are so great at sharing snapshots and sharing stories, and sharing these little itty bitty pieces of content, that that's actually a really frequent trigger, if you can use that to your advantage. Okay. So, yeah. Or it could be like, I created this post on Instagram, what else can I do with it? I wrote this blog post, what else can I do with it? So, there's all sorts of different things you could approach there, but I would use the trigger as actually creating the content itself. And then that way, you also have a community of people who are doing the work, who, Angie was talking about that earlier, as opposed to a whole bunch of people who are stuck, or in this mindset of like, well, I wanna do this, but I can't. Yes, yes, that's what I want to avoid. Yeah! So then, I think, using content creation itself as the trigger is an awesome way forward. I actually had this idea while you were talking earlier. So, I have this other group which is, it's called That Fit Life Social, and it has much more members than the other group, and that's for the general community to learn about health and fitness. And what I would just love is for the fitness professionals in the one group to be the administrators of the other group. There you go. Sharing their content and going live, and having chats with everybody, just so that they can share their knowledge as well. Fantastic! Yeah, no that sounds great. And then you can create multiple triggers with that, but yeah, then another trigger could be, okay, you've just created a piece of content on Instagram, share it to our group, and give us one more tip on top of what you've just created, or give us the behind the scenes here. Or, tell us a challenge that you overcome making that thing happen, or whatever it might be. In doing so, you're actually training your fitness professionals, your wellness professionals, to be better communicators, to be better marketers. That sounds awesome. Do you think it would make sense to, I don't know how you would do this, but have some sort of agreement as if they join the group, then you would have to do, let's say once a month, you'd have to do a live chat, or something like that. Or is that too much for like a free-- Yes, tell me about your business model behind this. We're gonna jump a few lessons here. I wanna learn more. Tell me about your business model behind this. How are you getting paid? Are you getting paid at all for this? No, this is all free. All free, okay. At this point, yeah. So I'm not, this is not advice, this is where my brain is going. I would need like a lot more time to think through the product development on this, but it sounds like you have an opportunity to have sort of a two-fold focus, where you're building a lifestyle brand that is a general wellness brand, and then where you have a content marketing training component for professionals, where they get access to your lifestyle brand as their training ground, and you get to use their content to build the lifestyle brand. Woah. (everyone laughing) That's like, mind-blowing. Yeah, so that would be, like a free lifestyle brand community, that you are getting people to pay you to create the content that fuels the lifestyle brand, because it's actually a training ground. So I would say, the community of professionals is potentially less a community. There was a community aspect to it, but I think it's probably more of a training program. Okay, yeah. Thanks for that. And it's okay that you're the expert in that, there's nothing wrong with that. And in doing so, in creating sort of that practice environment, and introducing people, introducing them to an audience, you are creating immense value that people will absolutely pay for that experience. And that can be sort of the revenue engine that drives the whole thing. And if you're building a lifestyle brand, there's absolutely an opportunity for sponsored content, and things like that, too. So you can kind of have that two-fold business model, two-fold revenue generation aspect to it. Wow. That sounds amazing, right, y'all? (laughing) Worth the price of admission. Yeah, that's for sure. (applauding) All right, well yeah so. Okay, so that kind of answers our last question then, too, which is what is the specific frustration, problem, obstacle that would cause people to join? Yes, you're gonna wanna answer that on your sort of lifestyle brand side of things, but on the professional side of things, it's, I want to create a personal brand, as a trainer, as a wellness coach, as a nutritionist, but I don't know how, I don't know how to establish authority, I don't know how to get started with all this content marketing that I see everyone else doing, and then, here comes Nadia, I know how to do that, I know how to do it for your exact industry, and not only that, but I've created the perfect training ground for you to share things and practice with things with this highly-engaged community of fitness enthusiasts. Yes, yes. All right? Awesome. Yeah, so now you have a reason to join, too. And that brings me to the vision slide, too. You have a new vision for your community. Thank you. You're welcome. (laughing) Keep thinking on that. It's not fully formed. But I think there's some opportunity there. Thankfully, I'll be able to rewatch. Yeah, doin' your thing. (laughing) Awesome, thank you Nadia. Thank you so much. (applauding) All right, so I mean that really is a good plug for the second half of the class. Because there is a lot of different ways that you can incorporate community into your business, just as there are a lot of different ways that you can create angles for the marketing of your community, as well. And it really all does come back to the vision that you're creating. It took us a little bit, with Nadia, to get to a place where we could say, here's a message that really makes sense. Here's a use case that really makes sense, that is incredibly compelling, that has urgency behind it, that has specificity behind it. And where did it come from? Vision. You have to know what you're building and get really clear on that before you can start to make some good educated guesses about what the right message is gonna be, why people are gonna use the community, why people are going to join the community. Any questions about that? No? Your homework for today, again, is to keep thinking about the vision for your community. I truly, truly hope that as this class goes on, as each lesson progresses, as we kind of level up little bit by little bit, you can start to see a bigger and bigger opportunity, a bigger and bigger vision for your community. It's not necessarily about meaning you're gonna invite the masses into your community. It's about what you can do together, as a group, as a mission, as a brand, as a purpose. And so I want you, again, to take some time to really marinate on what it is that you're really building with this community. And then go back to those questions. Why are people gonna use this? How specific can you get? Why are people going to join? How specific can you get? When you know those things then, we can move on to the next piece of the puzzle, which is community management. But community management isn't about like herding cats and corralling members. Community management really is about taking the development piece, the use cases, why people join, the values, the vision, the purpose behind your business, or community, and turning it into action. Behavior. Culture. That's what community management is. It's not just answering questions, it's not about boosting certain posts, and deleting posts, and dealing with bad eggs. Community management is about turning the vision for your community into concrete actions and behaviors.

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. 

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • This class was exactly what I needed. It clarified, confirmed, and connected SO MANY more of the remaining dots for me. Tara, as always, is brilliant, energetic and a general joy to watch as she shares her immense knowledge and helps others get to "the nitty gritty" - thank you Tara, and thank you Creative Live!!
  • Like I said on air... "Wow!" I've been building an online community for about 4 years now, based on what I thought I wanted to my business to be. Now I realize the value of creating a community around my VISION, then building the business based around the community needs and values. What I thought: 1) What people needed from me was my expertise. 2) Members will naturally bond with and engage with one another based on their shared interests and needs. What I learned from Tara: 1) Members rely on me to FACILITATE conversation and sharing. 2) It's my role to be the a connector and mediator. Tara has an amazing presence on stage and is super skilled at drawing out your vision as a business owner/entrepreneur. She makes community building easy to understand. I'll definitely be watching more of her courses. This one alone has changed the way I think about my business and my plan for building in monetization and community building.
  • I went from a vague idea of wanting to build a community to having a clear path to take to start building it. I appreciated the focus on the member vs the business model. Tara presented a clear path for creating the plan first, from vision and purpose to creating the experience for community members, to helping members take the journey to how to monetize in many different ways. My brain is full and I'm excited to take action and launch a community that consolidates my current varied business offers. The presentation was thoughtful and well presented. Excellent and highly recommended.