The hardest way to grow a business is also the most rewarding
Finding your tribe in the crowd is hard.
You defined who you want to reach and what you can teach them. You know how to add value. Now how do you get your message in front of them?
You have to hang out in the same places as them and it's best if you're there as a peer.
I've spent the last 10 years being on Twitter, then off Twitter. Into LinkedIn Groups and out of LinkedIn Groups (don't join LinkedIn Groups. Seriously, they're spam city from what I can tell).
I've dabbled and I still do. The same goes for Slack communities and forums I've paid to join. I start white hot, getting in on every conversation and thread that I can, but then my enthusiasm starts to fade and I disappear completely.
Who knows how many relationships and opportunities I missed because of that? It's hard to find the right people and to open up enough to let them get to know you and what you do.
Where do your people hang out right now?
Which platforms, communities, apps and social media is your audience hanging out in right now? If you know them as well as you should, they're easy to find. If they're not easy to find, maybe you're not a part of that tribe yet and you have some work to do to learn what it takes to be a member.
For now, the best way I've found to get in front of the audience you want to reach is to join them in the conversations they're already having.
Get over the shyness. Just join in.
Finding your tribe
Sit down with a pen and paper. Write down:
- The social media channels your tribe hangs out in
- The forums and communities where deep conversations happen
- The apps they talk about and use every day
- The news sites they read and share from
- The physical spaces or events they visit
Write down any place your tribe may be.
Then go to there.
Be a member of the community
Community is the killer app and it's where I've seen the most growth for businesses I've started, businesses I've work in, and others I've just watched.
There is something special about being a contributing member of a community, whether on Twitter, in a private forum, or by joining in the conversation with a podcast of your own.
The best way to get to know the people you want to serve is to become a member of their community. Be a peer. Be there to give when you can, learn when you can, and generally be supportive of the collective.
Giving into a community is so satisfying it's addictive. It's an addiction worth seeking out, because giving into a community is the best way to build a sustainable business. If you're giving value into a community, it's ok to accept value back from it. It's even encouraged.