Are you struggling to figure out why your community isn’t growing? Or maybe you’re seeing growth but you can’t get engagement? In this episode, you’ll find out 4 mistakes to avoid when building a community!
In this episode I am continuing a series on community by sharing some of the mistakes you should avoid if you want to build a vibrant, active community that trusts you and is ready to buy what you have to offer.
In episode 57 we talked about community vs. audience, and in episode 58 I gave you 5 Benefits of Cultivating a Community (plus 5 steps I took to build mine), so be sure to check those out if you haven’t yet.
My friend Christa Hutchins has also been talking about community building on her podcast, so hop over and listen to those for her perspective on this issue (episodes 34, 35, & 36).
If you’re looking for a little more help building a thriving community, be sure to check out cultivatecourse.com to get on the waitlist for our course that will teach you how to authentically create a community ready to buy or buy in.
Let’s dive into some of the mistakes you might be making if you’re not seeing growth in your community, or if you are seeing growth, but you aren’t getting engagement or your offers are falling flat.
But before we do, I want to make it clear that there is no judgement here! I’ve made many of these mistakes myself, and often we are making them without even realizing what we’re doing. So if you recognize yourself in any of these, it’s ok, you’re definitely not alone. Take some time to reflect on what you could do instead, and keep moving forward!
Mistake #1: You’re making your community all about you.
Have you ever been listening to a podcast and the host goes on and on about something in their personal life before finally getting to the main content you showed up for? It can be pretty annoying.
I have some uncomfortable truth: nobody cares! An engaged community isn’t there to find out what you had for breakfast, or hear endless stories from your personal life. Here’s what it might look like if you’re making your community all about you:
- You don’t take the time to get to know the people in your community
- You only focus on what you want to talk about instead of taking cues from your community members
- You don’t look for feedback and insights
Why this happens: You might be thinking that value is a one-way street in your community, and forget that your members might have a lot of valuable insight and feedback for you too.
What this can lead to: People not wanting to buy or buy into what you are doing because they don’t feel like they are a part of it.
What to try instead: Take time to get to know the people in your community. Have conversations and look for the feedback necessary to adapt to the needs your members have.
“It’s important to remember that your community is not about you.” -Esther Littlefield
Mistake #2: You’re focusing on numbers instead of engagement.
Which would you rather have: 2,000 followers or 200,000 followers? The answer might seem obvious.
But what if I told you that the 2,000 followers generate 20 sales and the 200,000 followers only generate 10?
Here’s what it might look like if you’re measuring success with numbers instead of engagement:
- You feel the pressure to “grow your platform” so you only focus on how many people are in your community
- You do all the things to grow your numbers, but you forget to gauge the level of engagement you’re seeing
- You might see growth in your numbers, but you don’t have a place where people are joining in the conversation
- Your offers fall flat even though you have a large community
Why this happens: You are focusing on the wrong measurement of success, and putting time, energy and maybe money into growing your numbers rather than using it to increase engagement.
What this can lead to: This might lead you to a false sense of success at first, and then disappointment when you make an offer and it isn’t well received.
What to try instead: Shift your definition of success from just the numbers to level of engagement. Put more time into getting to know that community and building their trust in you.
Mistake #3: You’re only showing up to sell.
We are all busy; trust me, I get it! Showing up in your community and putting the time in can fall to the bottom of the list, and you might find yourself only showing up when you’ve got a new offer to sell. Here’s what it might look like if you’re only showing up to sell:
- You realize you need to get engagement up 2 weeks before a launch so you jump into your community and start posting like crazy
- You stay active and engaged only during launch periods
- After your launch is over, you disappear from the group, stop creating new content and don’t send emails out
- You find yourself only talking about your newest product or service when you engage with your community
Why this happens: To be very frank, this happens when we’ve fallen into a pattern of selfishness–only taking from the community and not remembering that we’re there to provide value and serve our community members.
What this can lead to: Your community doesn’t know if you’re reliable, so they likely don’t trust you. Without trust, it’s hard for someone to buy or buy into what you are doing.
What to try instead: Make it a priority to show up consistently to build trust with your community. If you need to justify the time spent to yourself, remember how much better a truly engaged community responds to offers.
Mistake #4: You’re stifling connections and conversations.
This might feel a little sticky for those of us who are building a business. You might feel worried that people will share about things that compete with what you’re doing, and I get that. I have two facebook groups and have experienced people trying to take advantage of the community that I have built by coming in only to promote their own stuff.
That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about shutting down authentic communication and value streams for your community. In one of my groups I offer an opportunity for people to share and promote what they are doing. This happens on a schedule every month and it’s a way for my members to share what they have to offer even if it’s very similar to what I do.
Here’s what it can look like if you’re stifling conversations and connections:
- You delete tips or value-add comments from community members
- You worry that new members might offer something that is similar to what you do, so you don’t allow anyone to post in the group, only to comment on your posts
- When members start connecting with one another and getting together, your heart sinks because you worry they won’t need you anymore
Why this happens: This stems from a scarcity mentality…a fear that someone will steal business from you, so you shut down any connection or any conversation that remotely resembles what you do.
What this can lead to: People leaving your community. If they don’t find other people to connect with and have conversations with, they are not likely to stick around long term. If people are shut down, comments deleted, or they don’t feel free to connect and share, you miss out on true community!
What to try instead: Encourage connections and get excited about being a hub for creativity, new ideas, and new connections!
Recently one of the women in my community told me she had been meeting with 3 other women who went through one of my courses. They have been connecting because they met inside of my community! I see it as a wonderful thing when people make connections there because they will see it as a valuable place to be.
I have community members who have connected and created something new together, or become friends, and that is amazing. It’s all part of a rich, engaged community!
1 Cor. 12:4-7: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
This scripture reminds us that we each have something to offer in the Kingdom of God. God has given us unique gifts (both spiritual and natural) and unique wiring so that we can multiply the blessings to others as we work together.
At the conference I attended recently there were 3 different women who had a vision and goal of teaching women the Bible. They weren’t threatened by having similar intentions, they realized that God can use us each to reach others in different ways.
The whole purpose of building a community is to create something for the common good. The world benefits when you are using your gifts in your way and are not threatened by others doing the same.
Shine a Light Segment:
In this episode I’m shining a light on Kari Bartkus. Kari is the founder of Love Does That, and she helps women recognize God’s presence in the midst of their pain through written spiritual direction.
Christian women work with her to have someone walk with them in their grief and hurt, and also to learn how they, in turn, can love their people well. She can help you walk through your own grief or pain, as well as teach you how to encourage others through their grief.
Kari is the host of the “Let’s Encourage One Another” podcast and she offers beautiful gifts to send to people in their time of grief. I’ve purchased the tear bottles from Kari for friends who are grieving and they have greatly appreciated them.
Kari is a member of my upLIFT Mentormind and I love the quiet thoughtfulness she brings to the group. I encourage you to check her out at https://lovedoesthat.org/.
Don’t forget to get on the waitlist at cultivatecourse.com to be the first to know when doors open! If you want to grow your community, build connections, and serve your people better, this might be the course for you.