Community Building

04 April 2019

You’ve been thinking about getting more involved in your local community but maybe due to working online, being shy, having social anxiety or just life, you’ve never done it. You only been active online and not consistent at all. As a result, you have few to no local connections even though you have a ton of “friends” online. If you want to get more involved with your local community but don’t really know anyone yet, it’s okay; you can get started in your comfort zone online using Facebook.

Fix Your Profile

Many people use their Facebook page for both personal and business. Having your page set to PUBLIC but separating your friends into lists can help with restricting more personal post from your business. This might be scary because you’re used to using Facebook for personal means, but local people need to know you in every way that they can to trust you.

How’s your profile photo? Does it showcase you and your brand? The term “professional” means something different depending on your industry. A professional photo of a holistic dentist may look completely different from an afterlife doula. Remember, it’s ok to show some personality and selfies are acceptable as well.

How are you utilizing your cover photo? Your cover photo should showcase your passions. What do you like to do? How do you spend your time in and out of the office? Many people overlay this image with a URL to their ebook, lead magnet or website.

 

“Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your profile photo.”

Join Few Groups

I knew a yoga instructor that joined 10 to 15 groups. None of them were local and all of them were filled with yoga instructors just like her. This wasn’t the best use of her time if her goal was to get involved in her local community. I suggest you join local Facebook groups where the members may have similar interest or hobbies as you.

It’s easy to search for local Facebook groups. 

Introduce Yourself

Take the time to introduce yourself to a new group according to the group guidelines. In some cases, they don’t want you sharing links or promoting your services in any way; with others, they don’t mind. Many groups encourage introductions when you first join. DON”T USE THIS AS AN INVITE TO SELL YOURSELF.  Your profile is open to the public, so that means that they can find you if your intro is interesting enough to them.

Watch the Group

When you join a group you want to monitor the engagement and activity. See who the moderators and owners of the group are, and make note of whether you’re connected to people or not. Don’t try to friend everyone right away. If people friend you, that’s good, but don’t be pushy by friending everyone.

Don’t Start Selling Immediately or Ever

In fact, unless invited, never sell in a group that’s not yours. Instead, be a presence in discussions that show your expertise. If you show you’re an expert in something, people will come to you.

FYI…stay out of people’s inbox. Soliciting to group members you just met is a quick way to get blocked and banned from a group.

I use storytelling as a way to showcase myself in groups. I will retell something funny or interesting that happened during my day. Then I will either ask for advice or see if anyone has had a similar experience. Now I can monitor which topics they are interested in and who are active in that online space.

“Use storytelling to allow group members to get to know you and show your expertise.”

Be a Resource to Members

When members ask something that you know the answer to, jump in and help them. The more kind and free help you can offer members, the better. Remember, don’t give unsolicited advice and don’t come off like a know it all. You also only want to spend five minutes or less creating your answer. This is very helpful for your business because when you can help solve a problem easily for someone else, you will become known.

Choose One Group to Hyper Focus On

Once you get to know the groups, you’ll likely notice that you enjoy spending time there. Conversations are easy and you may have made a few friends. Choose that one to get involved with more personality. At this point, you can even unsubscribe to some of the other groups as you determine they’re not relevant.

Go to Your First In-Person Event

Once you choose the one group you want to get more involved in, go to your first in-person event. If they don’t have one planned then suggest something simple like a happy hour or a meet n greet.

When you go, talk to everyone; don’t just try to talk to one person the entire time. Work the room when appropriate, making a point to introduce yourself to the leaders. Just be friendly and open for conversation. Wait until your third meeting to start offering to do things and volunteering so that no one gets afraid you’re going to take over. LOL.

Start Your Own Group

A really great thing to do is start your own local networking group. As you join other groups and participate, people will be promoted to see your group via your profile and will join. Don’t promote your group in other groups.

Get Active

Once you’ve been accepted by the group, you’ll notice that people will start inviting you to lunch, asking for your advice, and even asking if you’re willing to volunteer. Jump at the chance, because the leaders are the ones that are going to be the most trusted to the members.

It’s ok to accept a few of these free opportunities but it’s easy to turn them into PAID opportunities. Can you market or sell your services? Do they showcase leaders in their group or blog? Will you be allowed to host your own event?

When you show your expertise freely by example, you’re going to be more likely to build good relationships with group members. People like to be around people who are kind and helpful and not takers. Show them how much you care about your audience by being a resource to them in a way that is not threatening. Don’t worry; when they really want something, they’ll eventually come to you or even recommend you to others. Be ready with your sales page or buy link.

Facebook Page…check. 

First live event….check. 

Soon I’ll create a group will my new members. 

This is exactly what I did when I decided to open my own chapter of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce. There are chapters all over the US and Canada but I wanted to open one locally in Newark, NJ. This gives me an opportunity to get more involved in my community, meet other spiritual and holistic businesses and showcase my expertise.

How can you as a spiritual or holistic entrepreneur use Facebook groups to become more involved in your local community?