Why the Market is Primed for Your Community
Let's talk about why now is the perfect time. I got into this a little bit, but there's a lot more beneath the surface. It's not just because we're fed up with Facebook. (laughs) That's one reason. We're gonna talk about that in a little bit, but there's actually a lot more below the surface that makes this the perfect time. And the more you understand each of those trends in the marketplace, the more you're gonna be able to better understand the opportunity for your business. And that's why we're gonna spend a good bit of time here. Because the more you understand those trends, the more you're gonna understand your own opportunity. But first, I'm gonna start in a very familiar place to many of you, which is the idea that markets are conversations. Where people are talking, where they're talking about shared interests, where they're talking about their shared identity, where they're talking about a common problem, a common need, there is a market. There is a place where a product, a se...
rvice, an offer can happen in a very organic, very real, very needed way. And this idea comes from the book The Clue Train Manifesto and a lot about that book, really, it's about community building in one way or another. But this idea which I have quoted so many times on different Creative Live classes and in my own programs and in my own community, it's really important for community building as well. Because where people are talking or where people would like to be talking or what they would like to be talking about is a market for your community, it's a market for you business and where you can create conversation. Where you can create that kind of connection that gets people engaged around a particular topic, particular need, a particular identity, a particular interest, you've created a market for community and for your product or service if that is something other than community as well. That's why we wanted to start there. Now, in this day and age, in this social media environment, more people are talking than ever before, right? There are literally billions of people on Facebook talking to each other. But that being said, more people are also dissatisfied with the platforms on which they are talking. So while we may have more people talking to each other than ever before, more people are unhappy, dissatisfied, frustrated, upset, stressed the heck out, about where they're talking and how they're talking to people. It's not that they don't wanna talk to people who are different than them. It's not that they don't wanna talk to their family. It's not that they don't wanna talk with their friends. But they are frustrated and dissatisfied with their opportunities to do so which creates an opportunity for all of us. Now it's more than this, too. Now we're just gonna go down the rabbit hole. We're gonna nerd out. It's gonna be so great. Okay, it's more than this too. It's not just, as I said, that we are unhappy with Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever platform you happen to be dissatisfied with. Now, here's an interesting statistic from Scientific American. "Despite the hyperconnected era of Facebook friends "and Blackberry messaging," this might be a little dated, "social isolation is on the rise. "More people than not," more people than not, "report not having a single person "they feel they can confide in, "up threefold from 20 years ago." More than half of the respondents in this survey didn't feel like they had a single person to confide in. A single person to talk about what matters. A single person to share their experience with. More people than not. More than half. And that is up threefold from 20 years ago. So, even though more people are talking to each other than ever before, we feel more isolated than ever before. And I would argue that those bigger, broader, badder platforms that have made people billions and billions of dollars are kind of the cause of that, right? For as awesome as they are, and please don't get me wrong, I'm not getting down on those big platforms. I did quit Facebook six months ago. But I quit Facebook because I was able to build something smaller and I'm connecting on different platforms. I still love Instagram, right? There can be both. We can have these big places where we get introduced to new things and new people and new ideas and also we can connect in much more meaningful, intentional, human ways in smaller, more intentional, deeper instead of broader, as Chris said, communities. All right, now let's peel back another onion layer, shall we? Just got so many layers to share with you. Now this particular meta-trend. This idea that we're talking to people more, we're connected to more people but feeling more isolated has actually led to more acute trends affecting the market today. So if you think of that social isolation even in an age or social connectedness has been doing sort of the overarching trend that is shaping probably decades. It has shaped the last decade and it will shape decades to come. These trends that I'm about to share with you are shaping the market right now which is why I think this is the perfect time to build a community with your business. I have started, are you guys familiar with this book? Okay, it's called Non Obvious. How To Predict Trends And Win The Future. Rohit Bhargava (laughing) puts these out every single year. He and his company identify the trends that he believes are shaping the market and he puts it in this book in December, November, somewhere around there so that you can get your business ready to take advantage of those trends. Well, when I got 2018's and I cracked it open, and I was like yes, validation. (laughing) So I wanna share just a few of the trends that he predicted for this year. And guys, these trends, like if you're watching this class in 2019 or which seems really strange that you might be doing that but I'm sure that'll happen, um, these trends have not gone away, I can guarantee it. These are, this is the starting trajectory or these are when these trends are starting to take off. They will continue shaping the marketplace for many years to come. So this is still current, no matter when you're watching this. All right, let's take a look. Some of these are gonna feel very familiar to you in some uncomfortable ways. The first trend he identifies is truthing. In other words, people are tired of being told what they think from sort of mass, mass media or monolithic media sources. And they're valuing direct observation over curated information. So if you think about the trends toward fake news, no matter what, where you fall on that, what you believe is fake news, if you start thinking about, you know, people getting tired of their Facebook feeds, if you think about Zuckerberg taking more publishers out of the Facebook feed and making a business decision to elevate personal network content, that's all about this truthing trend. I don't care what CNN says about something. I wanna know what Ayellet says about something. I wanna know your story, your experience, what worked for you, what didn't work for you, what was, what happened? Tell me, right? And we are valuing our own experiences more than what other people tell us our experiences should be. There's positives here in this trend. There's also negatives here in this trend that I'm sure you can identify, but it does create a door where more and more people are interested on sort of that boots on the ground information that they feel they don't have access to right now. So we're tired of flicking the TV on and being told what's happening. We wanna hear from people it's happening to, what's happening, okay? That's truthing. Community totally falls into that trend. The next one is Light Speed Learning. Bite-sized learning, or valuing bite-sized learning over monolithic curricula. So instead of taking a, let's say, instead of taking an MBA program that you're gonna invest two years of your life into or 18 months of your life into and tens of thousands of dollars, people are valuing hearing the business lessons of people who've been there, done that before. And that's true in any industry. So instead of investing more and more in big long courses, big long learning programs, even in institutional learning as a whole, people are much more interested again in that boots on the ground, kind of snippets of lessons. Like, this is the real thing I need to learn here right now and that lesson takes me five minutes to hear. Sure, it might take me longer than that to integrate and to act on, but I don't need a course to teach me that. I need someone to tell their story to me. Again, communities are great for this, right? Because communities are elevating real people's stories, real people experiences. That's what communities are built around. And so they can take advantage of that Light Speed Learning. And so huge transformations, huge realizations of knowledge and learning can happen in a very short period of time or through very bite-sized interactions with a community like that. Another trend Rohit Bhargava identified is virtual empathy. We are having an increasing desire to gain empathy for others that are different from us, who have different experiences through immersive digital experiences. That's kind of a mouthful, but essentially what that means is that we as a society right now, have a hunger for people, hearing from people who have experienced different things from us, and learning to see the world through their eyes. But we also don't have a huge capacity for say traveling the world, 'cause we've got jobs, we've got families, we've got responsibilities at home and so we're, in the past, we might have had to leave home, we might have had to fly hours and hours away, travel thousands and thousands of miles to get into a community, get into a space, meet people that are very different from us. Or even a little different from us. Now we can do it in these digital immersive experiences. And what do you think is a great digital immersive experience? Oh, a community. (laughing) Yes! Okay, great. The next one is Human Mode. "Interacting with humans over technology." I want you to image the word algorithm right now and I want you to imagine the last time you said the word algorithm, because it was probably like this, the algorithm changed last week and now my posts aren't getting as much organic reach. We have a love-hate relationship with technology right now. We love the idea that technology can connect us with real people, but what we really care about is the real people. And so any platform in which the interaction is elevated, where the connection with someone real is elevated over an algorithm, over a piece of code, over even a procedure, those are going to be experiences we value more. And so, we as small business owners with intentional smaller, and small doesn't have to mean small. Small can be really big. Smaller communities, we have an opportunity to take advantage of this trend. Human Mode. In code commercial, it's one of our core values. It's one of our capabilities. We invest extremely heavily in humans to make our platform really engaging. There's always someone there who can answer your question. Not just our community members, but our team. I pay people to make sure you have access to a human when you need one. That's Human Mode. Last one is Disruptive Distribution. Disruptive Distribution. He talks about this as a direct connections to brands and their products and that's absolutely part of the opportunity here for your business to build a community here, to build a community at this time as well, that instead of having to go through a marketplace, instead of having to go through some sort of finder, instead of having to go through some sort of middleman, brands can interact directly with the consumers that love them. And you do see this all over the internet. I'm gonna argue here again for this idea of subverting traditional power structures as well. Whether that's markets, whether that's political power structures, whether that's community power structures or neighborhood power structures. I believe communities have this incredible opportunity to put the gatekeepers aside and make it really easy for every, everyday Joes and Janes to get access to what they need. Whether that's your product, whether that's your service, whether that's your ideas, the experience you create, and so that's another piece I see in this Disruptive Distribution as well, where the traditional gatekeepers that kept the information behind closed doors or kept the experience behind closed doors or kept the stories or the lessons or the product or the service behind closed doors, communities create an opportunity to disrupt that, and make access incredibly important. And incredibly valuable. So I wanna know from you guys, before we move on here, where do you see your industry falling short in connecting people, in following these trends? Because your industry, no doubt, is a few steps behind those trends. And that's why those trends are opportunities and not a bandwagon. So where is your particular industry falling short on these things? I'd love to hear directly from you guys. If you wanna grab a mic. If you have an idea, and let me know who you are and what you do when you answer the question. Where is your industry falling short on these trends on connecting people? Anybody? Yeah, Alice.
Hi, I hope I'm close enough.
Okay. I'm Alice. I have a, I run a branding business, and my industry in branding or design in general is what I'm seeing a lot anyways is a disconnect between this sort of ivory tower of the designer and the person that gets the design where I'm actively trying to break that down by working with people closely to also sort of elevate their own creativity. There's almost like a place where people are creative and the other people that get that creativity and that's just not true.
Yeah, that sounds like a great opportunity.
Damn, yeah I know. (laughing)
That's why you're here, right? Any other ideas? Where is your industry falling short?
Hi, I'm Denise Wakeman I'm a digital marketing strategist. And I see in the digital marketing industry a lack of access to the expert. So, they're kind of a on a pedestal and you're in a big mass of, you know, kowtowing to the expert. And I think that there's an opportunity to have, create a more accessible space for people who, you know, wanna expand their business on the web.
Yeah, absolutely. Completely agree. Anybody else? Yeah, Ayella?
I see a huge, huge lack of empathy. I'm Ayella, I run a parents, sort of a community for early parent support and I definitely see a lack of empathy. I see a lack of access to, again, that sort of evidence-based information. I see a lack of infrastructure for that support and a lack of sort of, a clear path or a, a clarity and a direction for for people to, not to follow, but I think that, that empathy and that access to other experiences is a huge, huge piece of it.
Yeah, feel a lot of confusion itself kind of in your market. Yeah, that's great. Yeah.
Hi, my name is Nadia and I am a digital media specialist. I work at a small fitness studio--
In San Jose. And yeah, I love creating fitness content. But one thing that I always run across is that we're always trying to, we're always trying to sell something, so a service. Like, we sell personal training, and group fitness sessions and we send flyers out to people and make coat calls and things like that, versus we've been building an online presence but I feel like people in our community need a little bit more like that. They wanna know, like, how do I make friends at the studio? How do I connect with the larger community around the studio as well? Things like that. I feel like that's a missed opportunity for us right now.
Yeah, I was so glad when I saw you in the audience roster. 'cause I was like, yes, fitness has such a huge opportunity for community building and I think some of those problems that you're experiencing, not problems that you're experiencing in your business, but some of the frustrations or maybe like the sticking points can so easily be solved with community building so not only do you have this huge opportunity but you have this ability to transform your business with trend, with community as well.
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.