All Great Brands Have This 1 Thing, and So Can Yours. Here’s How
You don’t have to be a household brand to benefit from a community of raving fans.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
When it comes to building a brand, one of the most valuable assets that can propel you toward massive success is building a community of raving fans. Apple, Starbucks, and Facebook easily come to mind.
And while you don't have to set out to become a household brand, you can focus on building a community of raving fans to help your business grow, one by one.
I recently interviewed an entrepreneur, Pat Flynn, who has done just that. It's helped him to build a career as a top-rated podcaster with more than 50 million downloads, a best-selling author, and a successful, multi-business owner.
Here's how to build a fast growing community:
1. Focus on quality, not quantity.
One of the most surprising and refreshing insights Pat shared about building a community of loyal customers and fans who will help grow your business, is that it's easier to reach than you might think.
"A lot of people don't realize you don't need a lot of fans to make a huge difference in your business," Flynn says. He suggests you start with your current customers or clients, listen to their feedback, and start engaging them in conversation. "Your fans will move your forward and stick with you no matter what."
He's right. I quit my job as a news reporter five years ago and successfully launched a new business, in large part thanks to having a small but engaging group of fans. They became my biggest supporters, referring clients to me, and generally, cheering me on and giving me the support and energy I needed as a start-up.
2. Create moments.
Sure, some brands launch from a successful crowdfunding campaign or social media platform of thousands of raving fans from the start, but Flynn says this isn't typical. Giving people plenty of opportunities to authentically connect with you is key to turning customers into loyal fans. And it doesn't happen overnight.
"Fans don't happen the moment they find you. They happen over a number of moments you give them," Flynn says. " Those small transformations lead to bigger ones and can actually build your community so that eventually, it's not just you talking to them, but people talking to each other."
Flynn also suggests creating and sharing a clear brand mission with your audience so they can feel more connected to your business and easily share in your journey.
3. Share their stories.
As Flynn's podcast became successful and his fan base grew, beginners started asking him advice on how to start their own podcasts. One of the top questions he's asked is how to score big influencers to interview. Flynn's response? Don't.
He recommends instead to focus on your real customers and fans over popular guests. Featuring real customers and case studies will endear yourself to your potential customers, making them feel like they belong.
"When you share those stories, your students will rave about you and what you have to offer and it's going to have other people come into your brand and realize it's a good place to be."