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How to Grow an Online Community Now from Scratch

· Social Media,Small Business Tools

We decided that we wanted to grow our Facebook community. After one month, we have 600+ members. It may not be that much, but we think it's a remarkable achievement for such a short time. And we’re still growing. Here are our tips for how to do it.

Timing

Timing is very important. You may think timing is just luck but this is not fully true. We took action when we discovered that the large Facebook group Online Business BFFs was closing down. We knew women in this group would be looking for a new one and we figured that might as well be us ;) Join lots of groups on Facebook and keep up to date with which ones might be closing down soon or losing popularity. Keep on top of current events and promote your group or business around them if you can.

how to use timing to build your mailing list with my travel tribe

Post Everywhere

Promote your group on every social media platform that you have; Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… Tinder. Don’t forget you can post from your business and your personal accounts. Have a “Community” section in the menu on your website, where it links to your Facebook group. Make sure to include a link to the Facebook community at the end of your newsletters.

how to use social media to build your mailing list with My Travel Tribe

Offer something for free

People never fully appreciate things that are free, so try to make your free guide or gift as valuable as possible. If you are a web designer, offer a free webinar explaining how to set up your own webpage. In order to receive this free gift by email, they will need to sign up to your mailing list. Have a huge call to action button on your website for people to download your free gift. I would recommend not using a pop up on your site to do this, as they annoy people and discourage sign-ups.

offering free value to build value with My Travel Tribe

Giveaway raffle for inviting friends

A great method to increase your follower count is to ask members to add friends to the group. You can also offer money as an incentive. For example, whenever you reach a target number of members, whoever has invited 20 friends, will be entered into a raffle to win $100.

Change up your content

In order to reach the most followers, put lots of different types of content out there. Convert blogs to PowerPoints and share them on Slideshare. Try creating some webinars, podcasts, tutorial videos on Youtube or Vimeo, info graphics and Instagram stories. Facebook Live is also a great way to attract new members.

Organise an Event

Organising an event within your community is a great way not only to attract new followers but also to engage with your current ones. We are planning a Meet Up in Bali for our community because there’s such a large expat community here. Make the event so awesome that not only will everybody want to come but they will also invite their friends.

organising an event to build your mailing list with My Travel Tribe

Constant interaction

One of the most important things is to constantly comment and engage with people both inside and outside of your community. Don't spam. Help people out when you know the answers to their questions and send them links to helpful articles. And sure if that sometimes means promoting your own stuff then do it. But be cool about it.

Use Pinterest

Use Pinterest as a search engine instead of a social media platform. Use rich pins for your products, articles, recipes or apps. Use Keywords instead of Hashtags. Your first board on your profile should be all your own original pins. Then you can create other boards with content relevant to your target market, not simply content that interests you. Pinterest is NOT about YOU, it’s about your target market. The goal is to send them from Pinterest to your website, where there is a clear call to action.

Use Pinterest as a search engine to build your mailing list with My Travel Tribe

Don't Spam

Once you have a bit of a following, make sure you keep them. Your community is not about you, it’s about your followers. People don’t want to see you shamelessly promoting your blog posts and website every day. Try to create discussions and post things that your followers care about, will engage with and things that will ultimately help them. Using your followers to advertise everything under the sun is a tactic, which is bound to ensure that your business fails.

Laura is co-founder of My Travel Tribe, a start-up that runs month long programmes combining co-working, co-living and lifestyle activities, ultimately helping female digital nomads to find their own community while travelling.

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