More and more these days, the term ‘community’ is being mentioned about John’s Road to Volunteering. The fact that I don’t just share my own story, but others to, giving whoever wants an opportunity a platform to make it happen.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve become a lot of interactive on Twitter. Have you noticed? I’d take a tweet and turn it into something inclusive. #JRTVChat for example. Last week, I launched a new chat dedicate to the John’s Road to Volunteering community, bringing together thoughts on a topic surrounding the wants and needs within the community.
Do you notice I’m already saying ‘community’ a lot and I’m highlighting the word?
There is a reason for this. Many bloggers strive to have a community that support one another, engage in each other’s tweets, blog posts, stories, and reaching out in times of need. This is beautiful to see when it happens, but reality teaches us it won’t happen all so smoothly.
We have to remember that when building a community, there will be rants, there will be arguments and there will be judging, as that’s what a community involves; many people passionate about a topic, but not always agreeing. Not always agreeing is a good thing.
Disagreements give you an opportunity to learn. To learn what ticks the boxes for the community and gives you a creative opportunity to try something new. You might not want to try something new, but it can work wonders.
I pride myself on doing this on my own accord, not following the crowd shall we say, and this is where I pride the development of John’s Road to Volunteering.
If I see a need for a chat one evening, I’ll host one. If I see someone wanting advice, I’ll offer it. I could go on and on with this bit, but you get my point. Community isn’t just about support and love, it’s finding the gaps. Finding gaps where you can build your community from, making those within it stand out.
To start all of this, you need your foundations. You’re the foundation! You’re the person behind the blog, the person creating the content and the one making the final decisions. The foundations isn’t creating the blog, but the ideas, the voice behind the ideas.
People want to know the person behind the blog. It’s a reason why I tend to stick to personal posts. I don’t want this to be my ‘road to volunteering’, I want it to be ‘our road’. Do you see what I did there?
Whether you blog for your own purposes or you focus on what your readers want, the voice behind the blog is where the community begins.
One person will hear your voice, and then another and so on. People will come and go, and others will stay.
In my local area recently, more and more people have left after being here for 20+ years, and a new breed of neighbours are arriving.
There’s nothing you can do when this sort of thing happens, but what you can do is give them an experience.
I have a lot more planned for the JRTV community this year and I mean a lot, and whether people come and go or stay, I want them to remember their time. I want them to look back and think…’why did I leave?’.
You want to keep people for as long as possible, engaging in every post, every tweet, seeing interactions happen with those you know, so here’s my top 5 tips to building a community;
1. Get to know your community
I don’t mean tweeting them once in a while, I mean really getting to know them. Isn’t a community more than just bumping into one another, but forming friendships?
2. Give everything a go
I haven’t built my community in a day. I’ve worked my ass off figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I’m constantly trying new things to see what works and if it doesn’t, at least you tried. If it does, great! You now have a new interaction tool to engage the community.
3. Learn where they go
Imagine you live in a small village. Where would most people go? The Town Hall? Community Centre? Down the pub? Learning where your community goes and who they interact with, gives you an opportunity to talk, to discuss and to bond. Remember creating a community is about the strong bond you have with others.
4. Think like a leader
This one is easier said than done, but if you want people to interact with you, give them a reason to. People want to see someone who believes in their content and will follow. Leadership doesn’t necessarily look at the way you lead others, but it certainly does in terms of your voice. Your voice is your leadership.
5. Be a trendsetter
People want to see your niche. Think being a lifestyle blogger or beauty blogger is your niche? YOU’RE THE NICHE!
Build a community around you based on you. Think about what would inspire you to join a community and question how you can incorporate this into your blog.
The one thing that’ll attract people to join is YOU!
You’re the leader! You’re the trendsetter! You’re the creator!