Hey there, Leading Ladies! I’m AliceAnne Loftus, your go-to certified professional coach for all things leadership and work-life balance. Today, let’s dive into the art of creating and nurturing an online community. In 2017, I launched the Leading Ladies Facebook group, and it’s been a joy to see how this community of over 6,400 members has grown and thrived. This group is more than just a business tool for me; it’s a personal treasure. I’ve formed meaningful relationships and connected with incredible women from all walks of life. It’s my favorite online hangout.
Leading with Emotional Intelligence: The Foundation of Community Building
The key to building a thriving community without coming off as a sales pitch is to show up as a social-emotional leader. Here’s how I do it:
- Celebrate Wins: Allow members to celebrate their achievements. In Leading Ladies, we do this by asking, “What’s going well?”
- Acknowledge Members: Whether it’s a like, a comment, or a simple thank you, acknowledging members makes them feel seen and valued.
- Prime for Positivity: Ask questions that focus on the positive aspects of life. This shifts the mindset and encourages members to focus on what’s going well. Questions like, “What can you do today to make yourself proud?” keep the group positive.
- Be Curious, Not Judgmental: If someone posts something that feels off, ask questions to understand their perspective rather than immediately judging them.
- Choose Positive Expectations: Look for the good in people and situations. This broadens your view and allows you to keep an open mind.
- Keep Learning: Maintain a learner’s mindset. This builds psychological muscle and fosters a culture of continuous improvement.
Practical Ways to Nurture Your Online Community Without Sounding Salesy
So, you might be wondering, “How can I nurture my group without turning it into a constant sales pitch?” Great question! The key is to strike a balance between providing value and promoting your services or products. It’s all about creating a community where members feel supported, heard, and empowered. Below are some creative ways to engage your group members while keeping the salesy vibes at bay.
- Content Calendar: Create a content calendar with different themes for each day of the week. For example, “Motivation Mondays” for sharing inspirational quotes or stories, and “Feature Fridays” to spotlight a member’s achievements or business.
- Expert Q&As: Invite experts to do a live Q&A session on topics that interest your group. This not only provides value but also makes your group a go-to resource.
- Polls and Surveys: Use these to gauge your members’ interest. This can inform your future content and discussions.
- Member Spotlights: Regularly feature members and their accomplishments. This not only makes members feel valued but also encourages more engagement.
- Challenges: Run a monthly challenge related to the group’s focus. For example, a “30-Day Networking Challenge” where members have to meet one new person in their industry every day and share their experiences.
- Resource Sharing: Share useful articles, tools, and resources that can help your members. Make sure these are not always from your blog or website to avoid being salesy.
- Virtual Meetups: Host a monthly or quarterly virtual meetup to discuss a hot topic, celebrate wins, or socialize.
- Feedback Loop: Always ask for feedback and make it easy for members to share their thoughts. This helps you improve the group and makes members feel heard.
- Exclusive Content: Offer members exclusive content that they can’t get anywhere else. This could be a downloadable PDF, a private webinar, or early access to your new products/services.
- Celebrate Milestones: Celebrate group milestones like reaching a certain number of members, the group’s anniversary, etc., to build a sense of community.
- Transparency: Occasionally share behind-the-scenes looks into your life or business to show you’re human too. But remember, there’s a fine line between being transparent and oversharing.
- Gratitude: Regularly thank your members for their contributions, participation, and for simply being a part of the community.
Building a community is more than just gathering people; it’s about creating a space where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. So, if you’re thinking about starting your own group or want to improve the one you’re in, these tips are a great place to start. If you’re inspired to take the lead in creating or nurturing your own online community, we’d love to hear about it! Join my Leading Ladies Facebook group to share your journey and get more leadership and community-building tips.