When I log onto LinkedIn, I see a slew of “Community Manager” job postings. It’s taken awhile, but businesses have finally realized the value of community. The problem? Building community isn’t easy.
Maybe you’re trying to build platforms to encourage discussion and facilitate learnings. Perhaps you’re wanting to bring together like-minded individuals and introduce professionals with complementary viewpoints. Or you’re needing support yourself and craving the encouragement of those with common interests.
How should you begin?
Revisiting your why can help you focus on the work and your audience — not your own insecurities, anxieties, or ego. No community is built overnight; it takes time to establish trust and reputation within any group of people. And most likely, you will have to step outside of some comfort zones.
Whether you’re growing an online community or building a network within your neighborhood, you’ll be faced with tactical choices. How do you communicate? What are the rules of engagement? Are finances needed? How much energy and time is required from participants? When cultivating community (or looking for communities to join) consider these prompts:
Think of the communities you are part of. How do you show up? What do you gain? What do you offer? Who are you meeting?
Think of the communities you grow. What do they expect from you? Why are they there? What are they hoping to learn? Who would they like to meet?
Let me know how this exercise works for you. I’d recommend a solid fifteen minutes of free-writing. Don’t edit yourself, just go!