A quick Google search will reveal many articles about growing your audience. You’ll also find as many articles on the subject of developing community. It might sound like the same thing. but there’s an important difference between audience growth and community building.
Everyone in your community is part of your audience. Not everyone in your audience is part of your community, though. Audience applies to all viewers across all platforms. You can even pay to have your content pushed to a wider or different audience as sponsored content.
Your community, on the other hand, might be described more as a fandom. These are your loyal viewers. They might follow you on multiple platforms and they are more likely to share your content. Your community knows your story, cares about what happens next and is personally interested in the subject matter. They likely follow several other creators who present content similar to yours and it probably relates to their own lives. Your community supports your business as a creator. Be intentional about how you build community with the tips below.
Connect within your niche to find community
If you have a crafting channel, you could create a wide variety of videos because crafting is a broad topic. Doing so might get your videos seen by a wide audience. You can even follow additional strategies to expand your audience. However, if you choose a niche within the category of crafting and pour your creative energy into it, people who are interested in that niche will be more likely to follow your channel. It becomes a commonality between yourself and the viewers. Since this slice of your audience has an interest in your specific niche, keep your content relevant and useful. As they return consistently, your content becomes part of their routines. In this way, you’ll begin to develop your loyal community from the general audience.
Beyond creating quality content that appeals to a niche market, you can do another thing to help build a sense of community: get personal. Incoprorate pieces about yourself, your life or even your journey as a creator. This has definitely been part of Mike Greenfield’s community building. Allow your audience to get to know who you are and share some of your stories. Explain how a particular skill used in your videos was taught to you by a favorite family member years ago. Tell stories about how and when your interest in this niche began. Talk about small events or anecdotes from your own day-to-day. You can create social media groups or pages that allow your community members to join and interact. Then use those spaces to promote your videos and posts. Be sure to always make these things sharable.
Internet technology is a great business partner
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you discover and incorporate the best keywords for your posts. Having strong SEO keywords allows people to find your content when they search on Google, Bing and other search engines. As your video gains popularity, it rises in the ranking to hopefully show up on the first page of search results. This can increase your new audience, which you can nurture into the community as described above.
Once you’ve started distributing your content across multiple platforms and your fledgling community is sharing your links and posts, you can leverage your analytics. Platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo have excellent analytics tools. You can glean information about referral sources to discover where your viewers are finding your content, how long they engage and other helpful information. Remember that it’s more useful to strengthen your strengths.
Don’t try to bolster the areas that aren’t getting traction. Instead, hone in on the biggest stats and expand in those areas. For example, if you find that Facebook is your biggest referral source, you’ll do well to invest in sponsoring some posts with targeting that fits your niche. If your biggest source is organic searches on Google, dig into the SEO keywords and be sure that you’re easy to find. Then, you’ll then be able to entice the newcomers to join the community.
Be active in your own community, too.
As your community grows, it will seem to have its own energy. That energy began with you, though, so you must continue to be active and present in it. Find ways to interact like asking for ideas for future content and mentioning community members by name in fun shout-outs. Get community input on what kind of swag they’d love to have and make it available as merch.
A final tip on community building: collaboration. The whole concept of community is people supporting each other as friends and family might do. Find other creators who work in your niche or adjacent to it. If your content is food-related, you might do some crossovers with creators who are nutritionists or have a cooking channel. Always keep in mind that other creators don’t have to be seen as competition. Work together to create a bigger, stronger community for everyone. Success is sweeter when it’s shared.