With more and more students flocking to entrepreneurial work and looking to make a global impact on the world, learning how to build an online community has become a mandatory skill. In her video “How to Be a Leader and Create a Community Online”, digital marketer Sunny Lenarduzzi shares her six C’s for building a strong digital community.
Lenarduzzi’s first C is CONTENT. She says, “You need to be sharing things that are relevant to your ultimate target audience.” However, this doesn’t mean you can only post about one very specific thing. Lenarduzzi discusses how she has three tiers of content she’s always producing within. This ensures she’s staying on message and making sure her content is always resonating with her target audience, while still feeling fresh.
Her second C is CROSS-PROMOTION. This means “taking content from other content hubs and sources that are relevant to your audience and sharing them on your own network.” By cross-promotion other publications and content hubs that relate to your passion, you not only share useful information with your own audience, but it also gives you the opportunity to find new people who love what you love.
This leads us to her third C: CREATING RELATIONSHIPS. Lenarduzzi says, “Don’t wait for people to come and find your brand online. Reach out and find people that you know would be interested in what you’re doing.” You can find these people through the content hubs you use to cross-promote, as well as by using industry-related hashtags. A great way to do this is by using Hootsuite’s search functionality. By entering a keyword or hashtag into their search stream, Lenarduzzi says you can then find real-time conversations happening around that topic, and introduce yourself by joining the conversation. This way, you’re being proactive and bringing yourself to your audience, instead of waiting for them to come to you.
Lenarduzzi’s fourth C is CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS. Getting followers is only the first step. Keeping followers means cultivating the relationship by saying thank you, interacting, and noticing when someone likes, subscribes to, or shares your work. This is something even the most successful businesses do on social media, and is essential not only for cultivating brand loyalty, but also to connect to others with similar goals and ambitions who can help you-- and whom you can help in return-- to level up.
Fifth, COLLABORATION. For Lenarduzzi, this means: “Really focusing on how you can work with the people who have already established themselves in your industry, and reaching out to them and seeing what you can do.” Another way to collaborate is by finding someone in your industry that does a complimentary service. For example, Lenarduzzi does video marketing, so she sometimes collaborates with a woman who produces videos. The woman who makes videos has clients who want to know how they can market them, while Lenarduzzi has clients who need videos made that follow the marketing plan she’s put forth. It’s a win-win!
And finally, the Sixth C for building a solid online community is: CONSISTENCY. Essentially, this means your audience needs to know they can count on you to be there when you said you’d be there. It applies to uploading content on a regular schedule, interacting with others, as well and ensuring the time you put in and even the tone of your content is consistent.
2017 graduation keynote speaker for Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences, Tim McDonald, urged our graduates to change how they viewed the workforce by shifting ROI from “Return on Investment” to instead mean: “Return on Impact.” What impact are you hoping to make on the world?