Let's talk about community - what it is, why you should most definitely build it, and how to do just that!
Community is a very important part of my brand. I want to be approachable to my followers and collectors and create an appealing environment that they want to be part of. I want them to feel as though we could be friends!
Community is the feeling of camaraderie or fellowship as a result of sharing common interests. What we're really talking about is the feeling you get when you CONNECT with someone. Connection is a basic human need and when we are able to find common ground, a relationship can be formed.
Creating community increases the know, like, and trust factor. People need to get to know you before they can like you, and they have to like you to be able to trust you. This takes time. It's takes building a relationship. It takes creating connection by creating community!
So, how do you build community? Let's talk about 5 ways:
1. Serve First, Sell Second
Consistently show up for your followers! Tell them how you serve them with your work and how you can improve their lives in some way. Show that you are there for them first through the sharing of your art and let them get to know you before you give a hard sell. And if you're struggling with how you "serve" your audience, think about this: You provide amazing one-of-a-kind art that brings joy, beauty, and uniqueness to someone's home. You provide something that NO ONE ELSE CAN. That's how you serve with your art. That's what you give the world.
We all love to buy, but no one ever likes to be sold to. If you come from a giving heart and share and serve first, when the time does come to sell, those posts are happily welcomed!
2. Embrace Authenticity
Be yourself! Anything else will cause your content to fail miserably and people will catch on quickly. In the world of social media, we constantly see staged lifestyles that are made to look perfect. No one's life is really that way and people can't relate to it. What they relate to is reality. People appreciate and connect with the real deal.
3. Reach Out!
Take the time to connect with those reaching out to you. If they leave a comment, comment back! Don't make the effort to create a conversation and then not get involved.
Encourage someone! Go to a follower's page and like and leave a sincere comment. Let them know you appreciate them and what they have to share with the world. It can mean so much more than you will ever know!
Maybe you have a follower, or even a peer, that has inspired you in some way. Send a direct message thanking them for what they've done to brighten your day!
Are you a remember of any online groups? Getting involved in the conversations there can lead to expanding your community as well!
4. Be Your Best Self
Imagine your ideal social media relationships. What would that look like? How would they make you feel? Maybe they would leave you feeling supported and valued when you faced challenges in your life. Maybe they would be a resource for information about art and business. Maybe you'd learn about new books and music that would bring value to your life.
Think about what that ideal environment would be for you. And think about what parts of if are missing in your actual experiences. Is what is lacking something you could offer your audience? What can you do to provide what others are craving to create the kind of connections that might be lacking in social media?
Being your best self sets the tone of the environment for the community you are creating.
5. Be Consistent
Consistency in everything you do is what makes for effective community building. No one that occasionally participates in any relationship can expect it to last. Consistently be present by choosing a posting schedule that you can commit to to create a memorable connection and foster community.