You have been misled. We have been misled.
In a social media dominated world, we’ve been sold the idea of building millions of followers.
That’s how we become successful. However, MOST people will never accomplish that.
I recently re-read an article by Kevin Kelly entitled 1,000 true fans and it brought me back to reality.
The premise is as follows:
If you can get 1,000 true fans to spend $100/year with you, you have a 6-figure income. He also breaks it down in the following ways:
- Can you get 1,000 true fans who are willing to spend one day’s wages with you? If so, you have a 6-figure income.
- Can you invest in people enough to earn one true fan every day? If so, you can have a 6-figure income in only 3 years.
The beauty of this concept isn’t in the numbers 1,000 or $100. In fact, if your true fans are willing to spend $200 with you, you only need 500.
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What is a true fan
Kelly’s definition of a true fan is so good, that I’ll just quote him:
“A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month.”
The goal of this post is to twofold:
- To break down how to get 1 true fan – someone willing to spend $100 with you every year.
- To break down how to grow a community of true fans – so that they will remain true fans.
- To break down what it takes to earn $100 from each fan
Am I at that point myself? Not quite. I don’t have 1,000 customers. However, in growing my blog to where I’m able to sustain my family well, I’ve learned a lot.
In part, I’m posting this to remind myself of what I need to do more of. The hope is that you can learn from me as I share my thoughts. And that you can feel empowered to grow your own 6-figure community.
Create good content for a targeted niche
This is something you’ve probably heard a lot. Narrow down your niche. It’s often said from the perspective of getting exposure in what would be an overcrowded space.
If you try to attract everyone, it would be harder to gain traction because of all the competition that exists. But I’d like to reframe that for you.
It’s not just about getting traction. It’s about being able to serve unique individuals in a way that big corporation can’t. It’s about getting to touch the life of one person in a unique way. And doing that over and over for the people who identify with your message.
Niching down is a way of serving at a deeper level. And doing that will make it easier for you to build that community.
Stand up for (or against) something and make it clear
I stayed in a hotel recently and when leaving I saw something interesting. There was a minivan with a sign that said Trump for president: Make America Great Again. On the opposite side, there was another sign that said Hilary for Jail.
Without getting political, I must acknowledge that Trump succeeded in an interesting way. He got people to rally around the concept of making America great again. And strengthened his community by having them rally against a specific person.
Now, this isn’t a discussion about politics. But there are lessons to be learned here. Rally your community by standing up for something. And even more powerful – rally them around standing up against something.
For you, it may not be a person. It may be a concept or even a movement. It may be that you believe that social media is the bane of our existence. Or that people who kill animals for food are doing something terrible.
Or, you may be tired of how much sugar companies put in our kids’ meals. Whatever it is, stand up for (or against) it. By having those shared values, you give people something to rally around.
Share your genuine and authentic self
If someone comes to your blog and it’s only a bunch of technical information about your niche, you lost. That’s information that they can get anywhere on the net.
And with so many blogs out there in just about every niche, you need to create something different.
Want to know what’s different? YOU are. So share you. Tell your story. Share your authentic self. Because if they see you and identify with who you are, they will be more likely to connect with what you do.
Show up consistently in multiple forms
The internet has become more dynamic over the last few years. Online video is the bulk of what we consume online. Social media has made it possible for us to connect in all kinds of ways. Stories help us to easily engage our community.
Get out from behind your blog and start showing up consistently on multiple platforms in multiple ways. The more they are able to connect with you in different places, the more you’ll become a part of their lives.
It’s not about trying to be everywhere. It’s about trying to connect in different ways. Choose what those ways will be for you and show up.
Have community lingo
Language is a powerful thing. I speak Dutch, and whenever I’m out in public and hear someone speak Dutch, I feel an instant connection.
Shared language is a powerful connector. And it’s why so many popular books come up with named theories and concepts.
Because if they can get us to start using their lingo, there will be a stronger connection. How can you create lingo that’s unique to your community?
What processes can you describe and name? Come up with a few and be consistent with using them in your community.
Teach them how to use your newly described processes and get them bought into your lingo.
Connect with individuals
This is one of the most powerful things you can do to strengthen your connection with your community. Connect with the individuals in your community.
It’s not all about the big email lists. It’s not about the thousands of subscribers. It’s about the connection that each individual feels to you and your community.
How will they feel that connection? When YOU actually connect with them. Here are some of the things you can do:
- When someone comments on your blog, reach out to them personally. You can do this even when they comment on your social media posts.
- Randomly reach out to individual members of your community just to check in on them.
- Call them by name in different ways. Whether that’s on your podcast, in your videos, or simply in your social media posts. There’s something special about hearing (and seeing) your name.
Here’s the magical part – this works best when you have a small community. In that way, the small is actually an advantage.
Have a place online for members to connect
It’s great when people are able to connect with you. It makes them feel connected. But you know what makes it even more powerful? When they are able to connect with each other.
There are a number of ways you can do this. Here are a few:
- Introduce people to each other one-on-one. Do you know someone who would be a great connection for someone else in your community? Introduce them via Social Media or DM.
- Start a Facebook group. This is a great way to build a community in a place where people are. And with all the recent changes Facebook has been making, now is a great time to start one. They are focused on promoting groups. Ride the wave.
- Invite members of your community onto a FB live and have other members in your community ask them questions. I’ve seen business partnerships start this way. Very effective.
- Have live group calls where community members get to interact with each other.
Random Acts of Kindness
Have you ever been a recipient of a random act of kindness? How did it make you feel? Let me guess . . . AWESOME!
Well, have you been on the giving end of a random act of kindness? How did that make you feel? Let me guess . . . MORE AWESOME!
There’s something about doing something unexpected for someone else that brightens the world.
And when it’s unexpected, it’s remembered. And when it has that kind of impact, people feel more connected.
Start doing this unexpected acts of kindness for others and you’ll be surprised at the results.
I know, I know – it’s awesome to be able to build a community without having to leave your home. The internet gives us amazing ways to connect with others and it’s just awesome.
But I gotta tell you, the best connections happen in person. As your community grows, start having in-person meetups. I’ve done a handful of these, and they do wonders for solidifying connections.
So come out from behind that computer screen and engage people in real life. Host your own meetups. Join other meetups. Network IRL.
And if you can facilitate other people connecting in person, you just took your community bond to the next level.
Have enough to sell
I left this one for last because its success depends on the strength of the community you built. Going back to the original equation, if you get 1000 to pay you $100, you earned $100K.
Well, in order to do that, you need to have stuff to sell, and it needs to be enough to equal $100. What are you creating that’s valuable enough that people are willing to part with cash to get?
If you haven’t gotten to this stage in your business as yet, start working towards it.
Let’s wrap this up
So there you have it. Those are some practical things you can do to build a 6-figure community around your blog.
Do you need to do all of it? Nope. In fact, you can succeed by focusing on one of these tactics and going deep.
The main thing I want you to understand is that it’s very possible to accomplish. So, get to work, build your community, and grow your business.
By the way, let me know how you plan on building your community in the comments.
- 1,000 true fans by Kevin Kelly