What to Avoid When Creating a Virtual Community
There are so many smart, professional business women that are out there. They’re former lawyers or former C-suite executives who are now doing done-for-you services. They are experts, they are authors, and now they’re in the game of selling for themselves. And many of them have never been there before.
Creating a virtual community can be a great way to get yourself out there so today I want to share how to create one and what it even means to create a virtual community. I am in Detroit, Michigan today. But no matter where I am, I can continue to curate and moderate that virtual community. Whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere, many of you have probably been part of a virtual community before. What you may not realize is that creating a virtual community can help bring you tons of new friends and tons of new sales.
You may have heard before that to create a sale you need to cultivate the Know, Like, and Trust factors. In a virtual community, it’s possible to build those factors without ever meeting in person. It’s even possible to keep your connection more consistent and build relationships faster online than in person, since the touchpoints can be more frequent. Meeting someone in person only lasts so long and eventually the meeting ends and you’re out of sight, out of mind. A way to connect virtually is key, because we’re all attached to our phones 24/7 these days. Creating a virtual community allows you to connect with people consistently and without asking them to go out of their way to spend time with you. You can connect virtually with someone anytime: while they’re waiting in line, while they’re at pick-up for their kids, while they’re on the sidelines of the soccer field, wherever the members of your community might be at any given time they can simultaneously be interacting with you in the virtual community you’ve created.
Now that we’ve established the value of hosting a virtual community, let’s talk about some of the pitfalls. One of the biggest mistakes people make is creating a curriculum-based community. Meaning, they create a community around a topic or service they are an expert in and thereby box themselves in and prevent further growth. What if eventually your skill set grows and you become an author or a podcaster? Wouldn’t it be amazing if your community wasn’t just coming to you for one specific thing? When it comes to selling, it’s all about having a conversation so I encourage you to avoid the curriculum-based model and lean into the conversation-based.
I think about my virtual community as though it’s a house party. I want to make sure that when someone comes in they are welcomed with open arms. I don’t just leave the door open and hope they find their way. I make sure they know where things are. For example, in my free Facebook group I have a slew of business women from around the world that are sharing their secrets and giving away free gifts. That’s my virtual community. I don’t just talk about sales there. I’m just as easily going to talk about what we’re doing on a Saturday, what the best movies are, or what the best email service provider might be, or how to convert something from a voice to text to an SRT file. There are so many different types of conversations that might be going on at any one given time inside of my virtual community.
I encourage you to create a conversation-focused virtual community because it will help you make sales and make friends and by hosting your party in a virtual space, you can have it anywhere, anytime. People from any background and from any part of the world can tune in anytime and if you focus on conversation rather than curriculum, you’ll ensure that they’re not just coming there for one thing.
You can find the link to my free group at the bottom of this article because no matter what, I don’t want you to stop the conversation here. I want you to continue the conversation. So if you know that networking is good for your business but the traditional way of networking never made sense or felt right to you, then definitely come and hang out with me in my virtual community and also check out how you can create one for yourself.
Join my Free Group, the Entrepreneurial Connections Movement