Before I share some thoughts on how to build a community, let us try and get a better understanding of what this word means.
A collective of like-minded individuals? No. It is a collective of like-hearted individuals.
It surrounds you from outside. No. It emanates from inside you.
That is the premise that defines a community. There is resonance of a common belief within its members and more importantly, it gives them a sense of identity rather than merging theirs into a larger group.
With that idea in mind, I proceeded to create a community that grew not only in numbers but also in engagement and compassion. Here are some of the things that one should keep in mind when trying to build a community.
Clarity of vision
While it has become a norm to start a virtual community currently, one must always be clear about the vision and purpose. I might not have had a step-wise plan in place when I began my community but I was certain of the ‘why’. That ‘why’ is what the vision connects to.
In the world of social media, it is fairly easy to appear as someone you are not and position yourself as a different person. However, there is nothing that works better than authentic leadership when it comes to community building. Be your true self when you communicate virtually or physically, in both forms. Being authentic means having the courage to be open about what you know and what you do not. By doing that you let the members of the community also feel comfortable about being the way they are.
There is absolutely nothing to lose by appreciating someone on the community.Such recognition fosters a culture of warmth and closeness even in an online network.
Find ways to get everyone together
Keep finding ways to get everyone involved, virtually or physically. Online chats, FB Lives, quick discussions, meetups, events and so on, are ways in which a community leader can bring everyone together in a more cohesive manner. The sense of belongingness that current members feel empowers them to refer the community to others as well.
Link your community to social impact
Most communities are driven by a common interest that allows members to exchange ideas. But go beyond that step to link that interest to widespread social impact. It gives the community a sense of direction and transforms their interest area, from being a time-filler or hobby to a tool that drives change.
Create learning opportunitiesIf the community is constantly driving new ideas and provides a platform to learn, more and more people get drawn to it. So create those learning opportunities through innovative contests or themes and mentoring initiatives, to encourage more individuals to realize that they can simply self-learn if they join the community.
Keep it niche and unique
Never lose the edge! Keeping your community niche and unique in the way it is, is very crucial in today’s times. There is a likelihood of it getting lost in the digital clutter if we don’t do that.
These are few tips to get you started on building and sustaining a vibrant community! Remember – you want the community to thrive, not survive.
Simran Oberoi Multani is founder and community leader of Ovenderful, which is a social enterprise and healthy baking blog. The community which is 25k members strong. The Community has been recognized by the Global COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg in April 2017 as part of the influential community leaders across Asia, in an event conducted by Facebook.
To know Simran’s journey, watch her video here: https://tinyurl.com/yaoohkw2
Ever wondered how strong communities are built? Simran Oberoi Multani, founder, Ovenderful, tells you how to bring people together
By: Simran Oberoi Multani