The Ability To Build Your Community By Uniting Behind A Cause
If you can unite people behind a cause, you don’t need to chase everyone. There are enough of us to go round.
The past few months we have been left feeling a bit flat. The UK is getting things in place to leave Europe, we’re asking the question “Is the US election always this ugly?;” if you banked on Vine to help build your audience and income that came to a quick end last Thursday and back in the UK last week we stand 15% more of dying if we are admitted to hospital on a weekend.
Lets look to flip things and share the flicker of optimism from a B2B perspective.
Unite Some, Exclude Others (Proof)
Businesses are recognising the approach to curate more meaningful ways to unite people rather than focus on the strapline of all straplines and the ‘about us’ page to floor the strongest of chest beaters.
Beyond the logo, we are seeing real partnerships, real collaboration and discovering more meaningful insights. Isn’t it better to make a more meaningful impact rather than wallow in self-congratulation?
There are ways to come together and become one, rather think the answer to credibility is the logo revamp.
As of Tuesday November 1st, AirBnB are now requesting hosts to agree to a set of strict community guidelines. It is basically their declaration for zero tolerance.
It highlights, “You commit to treat everyone — regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age — with respect, and without judgment or bias.”
If AirBnB encounter reports and people not adhering to the community guidelines, this can result in the loss of AirBnB accounts.
What this highlights is a brand that believes in people unifying behind an approach. They have been upfront about it and more importantly create something where people with a shared mindset have a sense of belonging. If you don’t agree, you don’t take part.
Bringing It Back To You
So, how does this relate back to you and your business?
If your business genuinely believes in an approach, then you can take the position of leadership and grow a community around what you believe in.
When you unite people, you can make things happen.
I am seeing this at the moment from the monthly You Are The Media Lunch Clubs.
This is taking a weekly Thursday email into an actual live event with guests each month. The objective is to highlight to businesses the merits of an owned media/content marketing approach.
What is happening is that people are connecting outside of the group and they are working together. The connection originally began with people receiving the You Are The Media email in their inbox on a Thursday morning. This then became the opportunity to be a part of the monthly Lunch Clubs that then manifest outside of the group. The original email becomes a bond that cements a relationship that can make things happen.
Zoe Hiljemark from Sixth Sense PR, explains, “There has to be a serious purpose; not just giving business cards to strangers. It has to inspire and motivate businesses to take a content-led approach in their marketing.”
“I am not only learning and being inspired by the stories of others, but I’ve been able to connect with other like-minded people. I’ve also formed alliances and collaborated on projects with other ‘lunch clubbers’ as well as shared my expertise, generating leads for my business.”
“Connecting with group members is done in the knowledge that we are all committed to creating valuable ‘content’ to drive our businesses forward.”
From Zoe’s perspective when you bring the viewpoint of others together it can help motivate and provide direction. Similarly for your business, you can’t convert people if you don’t acknowledge their point of view before you make that step to attempt to communicate with them (hey….this brings us back to the Brexit mention at the beginning).
Think About Taking On Board Your Side
This has to be something to consider. Whilst many businesses still chase numbers, the strength of a connection and a shared purpose (what AirBnB have done) that gains attention, will always outweigh looking to appeal to as many people as possible.
I have been working in the past week on a pitch document. Rather than an approach where the past has been looking to have the biggest slice of the pie as possible ie. “website….we can do that, interior design for your reception….you’ve come to the right place!” Everything is now focused on one particular area with a specialised approach. You can’t attempt to pick up responsibility and lead everyone.
This has also meant bringing in people from the You Are The Media community. This is where there is a shared mindset. These are people with defined roles and specialism’s. When you bring people together you become stronger. It helps brings clarity to different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. If you work in isolation you create less, when you bring the right people together to complement an overall approach, you become stronger.
I did not realise this earlier this year, but looking to build a community is becoming part of a business strategy, not a marketing strategy. What originally started in isolation ie. an event that progressed from an email, is now becoming something that can unify people with a shared ethos.
A website doesn’t provide leadership. This is grown from people that have the ability to make a stand, deliver and other people to stand behind and unite with a cause.
A Wider Perspective
This is highlighted in the annual Edelman Trust Barometer survey. 80% of respondents recognised (over 28,000 people from 33 countries) that businesses need to lead to solve problems.
When you have the ability to control and direct you find yourself in a completely different space. The false self security believing that the LinkedIn Group that you started becomes a living, breathing entity with its own beating pulse does not work, LinkedIn owns this, not you.
Providing You A Framework
Some questions to ask yourself when looking to explore an approach that can unify others:
- can you sustain an interest in a particular area that you truly believe in?
- are there partnerships and allies’ out there that share your approach that you already know about?
- can you add depth and meaning that comes back to your core values?
- can you create spaces away from your core business (have a read about creating a mentality around the spark and the framework)?
- are people within your marketplace hungry for a sense of connection?
- can this support your overall business goals?
- can you bring a melting pot together of conviction, ethics, integrity and beliefs?
Here are some things that I now know that I didn’t know at the start of 2016:
- if you provide a platform for other people to take from and apply, they become more confident to try new things out (have a look at what Dan Willis is doing by writing click here)
- you don’t create a side project to serve the business, but a way to serve others who participate within it
- building a community, cements a brand approach
- there is no such thing as raving fans, more trusted allies
- when there is consistency and the same people come together (that then encourages more people to come onboard) everybody has a role to play
- social media is just a channel, not a community strategy
- it takes a large investment of time but if it links back to an overall strategy it can work
- you have to revalue all the touch points you make with others, it has to be consistent with what you do
You can’t look to lead everyone.
Being better at business comes down to the strength of a connection and having a unified purpose, not chasing numbers to look popular. Differentiating from the rest of the marketplace comes from helping others unite behind a cause.
Small businesses do not necessarily need to reach for paid marketing to reach audiences, when an audience can connect behind a belief.
If you can articulate the pressure points within your marketplace and express the ways that alleviate problems and let others find confidence and you can be seen as a trusted resource, why continually pay for attention when people are more than willing to pay attention?
It’s a long journey, but one that can provide a sense of belonging.
If you would like to come along to the next You Are The Media Lunch Club on Thursday 24th November (at Urban Reef with Crimson Guitars) you can read more about it here, or you can book your ticket below.