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March 27, 2024 17 mins

Whether you're a one-person show or leading a team, this episode is all about taking your brand one step closer to cultivating an engaging and thriving online community.

Sonja Crystal Williams, host of 10 Minute Marketing, discusses concepts around engaging with and building online communities from the past several podcast episodes and discusses the importance of approaching your development of an online community with a vision, clear strategy, and the right time management or outsourced support. 

Listen to this episode for tips on how to plan for audience outreach within groups, engaging your members, and how to position yourself to receive the right type of support. 

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Sonja Crystal Williams (00:00):
Welcome to today's episode of 10 Minute
I'm your host, Sonja CrystalWilliams, all right, so I want
to take a moment today to talk alittle bit more about building
a digital marketing team.
But specifically, I wanna framethis around conversations we've
had in recent episodes.
So if you've been listening tothe podcast lately, you've

noticed there's a theme, andthat theme started earlier in
the season as we started reallytalking to a lot of guests about
different ways that they aregoing about building up either a
their audiences people that areconnecting with their brand and
hearing their message andengaging with them online or and
or building online communitiesin different ways, shapes and

forms, and I've had somemagnificent guests who have
talked about different waysthey've shaped their communities
, ranging from Instagramlaunches to ranging from having
a group of you know 40 or 50individuals that meet on a
regular basis.
There's a lot of differentforms that community can take on
and, as I shared in someearlier episodes, it's really a
regular basis.
There's a lot of differentforms that community can take on
and, as I shared in someearlier episodes, it's really a

logical step and it's a questionI get all the time.
I get this question from a lotof business owners asking at
some point should I have aFacebook group or some other
type of group?
Are there other ways I shouldbe engaging with my audience?
Should I be launching adcampaigns to get my brand in
front of more people and attractmore people to my event, to my

page, to my group?
Whatever the case might be, andtoday I specifically want to
talk about the approach to doingthat on a high level.
Now here I'll be the first oneto admit to you I'm not the
expert when it comes to buildingcommunities.
I've built some communitieswith some clients and we've done
some successful things, but itreally does.
My observation is that itreally does require.

If you're in the position ofbeing the business owner, or if
you are in the position whereyou're on a team, it really does
require a lot of legwork, andwhat I want to talk about today
is really being in that positionwhere you might be thinking
about building some type ofcommunity or building up your
And how do you approach thatfrom the standpoint of really

looking at it, a few differentways.
Am I going to build this out bymyself?
Am I the sole personresponsible?
And I'm just going to use areally simple example.
Let's say you decide I want toengage my audience more by
building a Facebook group.
Okay, so the question you gotto ask yourself again am I doing

this solo?
Am I doing this maybe with sometype of support?
And support can look a littledifferent, and I want to address
that different ways.
Support could be I bring onsomeone for a specified period
of time.
They don't work for me fulltime.
You know they're coming on on aproject basis and they're going

to help me launch this thing.
So that could be an approach.
It could be I'm going to hiresomeone as maybe a freelancer or
a contractor to support myefforts specifically in this
They have a very specific roleor niche.
Or your other option is ifyou're hiring internally, this
might also roll out as part ofhow you build up your team.

So I want to walk you througheach of those scenarios and
really ask you to think aboutwhat category do you fit in?
If the past few episodes thisseason have been resonating with
you, it's time to take a timeout and really think about how
you're going to approach this.
Oh and, by the way, I've gotmore episodes, coming up with

some more ideas and more gueststhat I'm interviewing around
different ways that they buildand engage their communities.
So you're going to get somemore ideas from this, but let's
pause for a minute.
I want this to be reallypractical for you.
If you've got a pen and paper,go ahead and grab it.
If you're a note taker on yourphone or on some type of app,
grab your note taking app andstart to think about how am I

going to approach building thiscommunity?
Okay, now, there's a lot ofdifferent ways that you can
approach this, and again thisexample, I'm just gonna use
really simple Facebook group.
Now, if you are gonna launchthat Facebook group first, you
need to kind of map out howyou're gonna approach this.
And let's use our first examplemaking the assumption that you

are doing this solo, you are thesole person in charge of
building this community.
You have no partner, you haveno colleague, you have no one on
your team, and you are gonna dothis thing from scratch, and in
some earlier episodes, I didchat with some people who built
these communities from scratch.
It is possible.
It is doable.
What I would say, though, isyou need to start out mapping

out your ideas and your thoughtsabout what this group is, what
the intent is in terms of whatyou're going to share in the
So you really need to get avery clear strategic vision in
What am I doing with this group?
Do I already have a name forwhat this group is going to be
called and does that nameresonate with my current

audience today?
One of our earlier episodes waswith Matt Chambers at M3 Yoga.
At M3 Yoga, they have a namefor people in their community.
They call them M3 Warriors.
So is that something In fact?
Warriors was used twice when Iwas interviewing Kelly Leardon.
Kelly Leardon also.
Her program is called Walk LikeWarriors.
So same thing she's referringto her audience as Warriors.

So you wanna think about isthere a name that I've already
given to people who are alreadyparticipating in my brand in
some way, shape form or mycommunity, and do I name my
community after that?
Because in many cases, youdon't necessarily want the name
of your community to just belike a replica of what your
brand name is.
That's typically not going toresonate as well for attracting

new members always not going toresonate as well for attracting
new members always.
So put some thought into whatam I naming this community.
Are there specific guidelinesthis community needs to follow?
So you really want to thinkabout that as well and what's
the framework of how it exists,especially if it's an online
community, especially in thisexample I'm using, where I'm
talking about Facebook groups?

You also need to really takeinto account what public
guidelines for this group am Ipublishing in terms of what the
rules of engagement are like nospamming, nothing that's
Or, if there are going to beself-promotional posts, maybe
that you have a day of the weekthat you dedicate people to drop

their own upcoming events,their own upcoming things, that
you dedicate people to droptheir own upcoming events, their
own upcoming things.
So you really want to thinkabout that too.
Okay, so that's kind of in anutshell and there are probably
more pieces you need to explore,but again, I'm going through
this high level.
What's the name of my group?
Who am I inviting to be a partof this group?
How do I expect them to beengaged?
What are the guidelines thisgroup needs to follow?

And then you might go a littlebit deeper and to start thinking
about what am I going to besharing in this group?
And that again depends on theformat that this group takes.
Is this a group that is able toconnect online, but we also have
a physical, some way, shape orform, face-to-face way of

connecting with each other,whether that's Zoom meetings,
webinars on a regular schedule,conferences or classes.
In some way, shape or form thatmight be online or even in
person, or even in person.

So, depending on what life youractual group takes on, you want
to keep in mind what is thecontent in between that I'm
distributing online or, in thiscase, into my Facebook group
that is going to get thesepeople or my audience engaged.
Okay, and you need to thinkabout that really carefully in
the beginning, because when youdo this solo plan on investing
the time, energy and effort tobeing the conversation starter,

you are going to be theconversation starter.
When you do this solo,especially in the beginning and
I will share that from my ownexperience in launching Facebook
groups for for other brandsthat you have got to be the
conversation starter in thebeginning.
As your group grows, people maybegin to feel more comfortable
posting proactively so that youdon't have to do all the work,

but you definitely, in thebeginning, before you have a
nice sized membership as part ofthat group, you're going to
probably be the person puttingin the work in the beginning,
Okay, so that's the approach assolo, as a solo kind of person,
The other thing is you got toreally think about what's my
time commitment?

Okay, you've chosen to takethis on.
You're not paying anyone to doit, so you're kind of making a
swap here, okay, so for you it'seither time or it's money in a
lot of cases, with a lot ofbusiness owners, and in this
case it's a swap for time.
So how much time am Icommitting?
Am I committing time on a dailybasis to this group?
Am I committing time on aweekly basis?

And if so, again, how much?
How long?
Ok, how much time, how longeach session, am I going to
spend creating new content topublish into my group to get
people engaged?
Thinking about new content, newtopics, thinking about how I'm
going to get new topics to sharethat people would be interested

in, how I'm going to get newtopics to share that people
would be interested in, and alot of that will come from your
So, as much as you can you also, in that planning phase, want
to do a little bit of strategicresearch.
What does my audience want andask them like your audience will
participate with you.
It's a good opportunity to betransparent.
It's a good opportunity to beauthentic and really ask them

where you need their help andwhere you want their
participation, and you'd beamazed at how much they will
participate and want to do thatand be a part of the process.
That's something you can do inthe early stages, during
planning, but it's somethingthat really never ends.
You need to always be kind ofchecking you know or doing that
inventory check so you canfigure that out.
Kind of checking you know ordoing that inventory check so

you can figure that out.
Now, next phase, if you arelistening to what I'm saying and
also saying yourself, the ideaof building a group on my own is
a little much, and that couldjust be because either A it's
foreign to you completely, or Bagain, time or money.
I don't have time.
I'd rather spend the money tohire someone who is better at it

than I am.
I don't want to go through thelearning curve.
I'm going to bring in thesupport and I want that support
to keep me informed on how thisgroup is being built and what
kind of engagement is happeningand what's being shared, and I
want to have my input on that.
But you don't necessarily haveto be the builder, okay.
So this is where you and oragain, if you're working on a

team and you all decide thatyou're going to outsource this
particular aspect, you mightfind someone in a niche.
Now, one of my earlier episodes, again with Quinn Tempest Quinn
shared that when she startedher collective that she has now
had for several years, she wentout and found someone who
specialized in buildingcommunities.

So you might ask yourself thesame question Can I go out and
do a search and you could dothat asking for referrals of
other people?
You know, probably in themarketing space, digital
marketing space of other peopleyou know, probably in the
marketing space, digitalmarketing space.
You could check directly onfreelance networks like Upwork,
maybe even Fiverr, but I wouldprobably lean more toward an

Upwork for something like that.
Or maybe even search throughLinkedIn, look through profiles
and find people on LinkedIn whomight fit the bill and who
specialize in buildingcommunities.
You could also go the agencyroute If you are already working
with an agency and that agencyprovides work for you, if they
have a specialty or anexperience or background in

helping build communities andmanage them, then that could
also be an opportunity for you.
In this case, though, a coupleof areas where you need to be
You still need to be clear onyour vision.
You still are probably going tobe need to be the person who
names the group.
It's better to come from youthan to like try to outsource
that part, because if you'rehiring, remember that they're

going to have to take some timein the beginning to get to know
your language, your, your toneof your brand, what you want to
communicate to this community,what's important to them.
There's going to be a learningcurve for that person that you
bring on, or, if it's an agency,learning curve for them too,
and so, while that's happening,you have got to be on top of
delivering what your vision iswhere you want this group to go,

and then I would even put it onthem to help you come up with
realistic goals of how thiscommunity grows, and even get
specific if it's possible,meaning that you have some goals
you want to hit for how manynew members join the community.
Maybe that's a monthly basis,maybe that's a quarterly basis,

maybe it's a percent increaseversus an actual quantity that
you're counting, but you allneed to talk about that and
decide on how you're going toapproach it.
So you need to have that clearvision.
And then again, money is beingexchanged here, so you need to
have a budget.
And if you don't know what thatbudget is, again shop around.
Check on the freelance networkslike Upwork.

Talk to some people directly onLinkedIn freelance networks
like Upwork.
Talk to some people directly onLinkedIn.
Ask around to people withinyour business or work community
for referrals and find out whatthe range is, and it might look
very different.
Right, the pricing of hiring afreelancer to work on this
individually versus an agencymight look very different, and
then the price of someone whocomes in and helps you set up

the community in the beginningversus someone who's going to
manage it for you on an ongoingbasis also looks very different.
So you want to keep that inmind, okay.
So again, that hired supportroute, agency route, freelancer
route you decide.
And the final option is toslowly build your own team

internally, and that might beideal if you have some people
maybe within your organizationthat have already been working
and you need to decide either AI'm going to shift someone into
this role or I'm going to hirealtogether.
Now, here's one little thingthat I will say about this is
that don't assume that theperson who's managing your

social media is equipped to runyour online community.
Maybe they are, maybe theyaren't, and that's something you
really do need to assess,because there is a difference
between the role of someone whois a community manager versus a
social media manager.
A lot of businessesparticularly I'll see this
happen with small businesses,because everyone wears a lot of
hats in a small businessenvironment Okay, and so there

tends to be a tendency to assignthis to the social media
But if your social mediamanager needs to be really
focused on content creation andthey're already up to their neck
and creating reels and imagesand things like that and again,
this very much depends on howyou have your work split out
Then you need to consider hiringa separate person to manage and

build the community.
They should be collaborating,however, together okay, but this
is where it also matters thatyou break out the roles, as
you're hiring a team.
In a perfect world, if you arelaunching some type of online
community and let's stick withour Facebook group example
you've got a community managerwho might be responsible for the

maintenance, the creation andmaintenance of multiple
It could be Facebook, it couldbe your separate online
community where you're usingsoftware like Mighty Networks or
Thinkific or something likethat and you're managing your
membership and dropping thingsto them within that community
and that community manager istaking care of all
communications specific to thecommunity.
So they might be sending outemails, but they're not sending

out emails to your entire list,just sending out emails to your
They're thinking about specialsand promotions and
conversations that need tohappen within your community.
So, in a perfect world, youhave a person dedicated to that
role, and that role is differentthan a social media manager.
And then, in a perfect world,you have a separate person doing
graphics and a separate persondoing video.

That's the ideal setup and ifyou are thinking about taking
the approach of hiringinternally for this role, that's
that's probably where you wantto aspire to get to.
If you're in a larger company,there are probably people within
some of these roles already.
So then again, you're justdeciding do we have enough work
to bring someone on full time ordo we reassign certain

responsibilities to someone elseon our team?
And then you make that decisionon whether or not you want to
do it OK.
So these are some things, justagain that I really want you to
think about.
Pause for a moment and again, ifthese past few episodes that
we've been having conversationsaround engaging community and
building online communities, ifit's been resonating with you,

take a moment, think about howyou might approach the creation
of your own community.
Or, if you already have acommunity, how does this help
you get more streamlined in howyou maintain your community
moving forward?
I would love to hear from you.
I would love to hear,especially if you already do
have a community.
Let's share online, you know.

Drop some answers, you know.
How did you build yourcommunity?
What are some tips that youwould share with people who are
newer to building communities?
Let's definitely have aconversation about it.
Until then, I will be bringingon some more guests in our next
few episodes and we'll continueour conversation about building
Thanks again for listening.
Have a great one.
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