I have gone through my life believing that something is pulling me along – that the things that happen to me aren’t just random events, but are all stitched together, one thing leading to the other thing.
This past weekend was a fine example of that. While waiting for a friend who was running late for our coffee date, I scrolled through my LinkedIn newsfeed (I know, who DOES that?). I saw an update from someone in my network that she’d be attending an event over the weekend that was focused on empowering women entrepreneurs. I immediately checked it out and discovered the registration fee was pretty comparable to what I’d spend dining with friends or shopping, so I registered. Three hours later, I was surrounded by a room full of strong women in one of the coolest spaces in NYC with a table of snacks and decorations that looked like it inspired the creation of Pinterest.
While I could write pages and pages worth of details about what I learned at this retreat, I want to focus on something that really stuck out to me – an ‘a-ha moment’ if you will.
One of the presenters simply said this: We’re leaving the information age, and we’re entering the community age.
For most, “community” means the city they live in. Or, if you’re like me and live in one of the largest cities in the world, it can mean your neighborhood or even your building. But when you break it down, each of us are a part of many different communities. And it’s time that people, and organizations, embrace community and use it to influence. Community isn’t about membership anymore – it’s bringing people together who have a common purpose to help support one another.
Encourage community in your messaging. Whether you want to make an official community, or you just encourage your supporters to connect with each other, encouraging community is very important. This will help start the conversation and may even shed light that a community of supporters can exist.
Influence your community. Once you’ve got an established community, it’ll be relatively easy to influence them, seeing as how your organization has brought them together. Your community members care about your cause, so making them privy to all the important news is incredibly important. Try starting a private Facebook group to use for communication with and between your community members. This makes things a little easier to monitor and also helps you influence them on social media.
Figure out what the benefits are for your community members. It’s clear that strength comes in numbers, so the benefit to your organization is also clear. But if you can manage some type of reward, that’s always beneficial. Anything from networking opportunities to small gifts – the best way to figure out what this is is simply to ask your members.
Make that emotional connection. An emotional connection to the community will make a lasting impact. These members will truly care about your cause and it’s important to foster those relationships as best as you can.
What communities are you a part of? Tell us in the comments section below!