Some people have asked me, why I place so much emphasis on building a community rather than a following. Yesterday, within a 30 minute period, I received 2 emails from people enquiring about my services. I believe the way these emails begin, (see excerpt below), demonstrates the marketing value of community.
You don’t know me, but I feel I know you very well through reading your blog for some time now.”
I read your marketing blog and although we have never met I feel like I’ve known you for years.”
Clearly, in both cases the person enquiring felt comfortable writing to me. There was no barrier in the way – I was approachable. Equally, in both cases, the writer said that they felt like they knew me.
This is REALLY important!
Because one of the reasons so many business owners and marketers fail to transfer their online networks and social media activity into bankable results, is that they place too much distance between themselves and the people they network with. Even if they do try and build a community, it’s a community that has them positioned as the leader, rather than a host.
I’ve written about the host approach to social media before. Here’s a brief overview.
Social media hosts
For the past few years, business owners and marketers have been told to build a following or tribe and then market to them. I’ve always been uncomfortable with that. So, I use a very different approach, which is based on the idea of a level playing field, where everyone is equal – No tribal leaders.
Think of the host at a really enjoyable party. He or she greets guests when they arrive and spends the evening mixing with everyone and making sure that a great time is had by all. The host of the party is not the leader, but rather an attendee; with a responsibility to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible. They are eating, drinking and dancing alongside you. They are talking with you and laughing with you. When you leave the party, you leave with a great, positive feeling. My approach to social media marketing, is based on that same host model.
The pay off?
The pay off for the kind of approach I advocate, was demonstrated in those 2 emails from yesterday. By developing a network of people around your work, who feel that they know you and that you are approachable, you also build a deep and wide prospective client pool.
I would really like to hear your thoughts on the whole idea of social media rock stars. Is it time for a more social approach to relationship building?
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