As someone who sits in corporate boardrooms or presents in front of large audiences, that has to be the number one question: what should I be doing online that will help me grow an audience and build a community? The truth is that there is not a specific platform or channel that is the right answer. The truth is that you need a strong strategy that defines the types of content you would be best at producing, what the overall business objectives are, and a whole swath of other questions that will lead you to the optimal tactics.
But, there is one thing...
As you build your own spaces and places on the channel and platforms, always remember that the "build it and they will come" model won't work. The best way to grow an audience and build a community is to make yourself a valuable member of the existing communities. Figure out where the dialog, conversations and feedback around your area of interest is happening and be present and accounted for there. All of the time. As much of the time.
What does that look like?
- Follow the key people on Twitter. Interact with them. Retweet the good stuff. Become an ally.
- Leave comments on their Blog. Not platitudes, but real content. Add value. Push the conversation. Get everybody thinking.
- Like the Facebook pages that are relevant to you. Don't stop there. Add comments, share content and let people know that you care.
- Find relevant articles, news items and videos... and share them. Don't share them on your spaces, offer them as gifts to the existing community members on their pages and platforms.
- LinkedIn is another great resource to find "similar others". There are some amazing groups there as well as people asking interesting questions. Be helpful on LinkedIn.
- Use Google Alerts for some of your industry's main keywords. It's a fertile ground to discover new places to share how you think about your industry and meet new people who are discussing the same things that interest you.
You get the idea.
Give and give abundantly. We tend to naval-gaze a lot when it comes to Social Media and these digital media channels (for more on that: Confessions Of A Narcissist), the people who are the most successful are not spending their time focused on their own channels and platforms. The people who are the most successful are the ones who are out there, sharing, contributing, collaborating and adding value in other people's places.
Now it's your turn: how active are you in other people's places?