However, with the most recent statistics showing over 2 million LinkedIn Groups and 620 million Facebook Groups, it seems that we are just as likely to start our own communities as we are to join existing ones.
If you are a small business owner who is interested in becoming a tribal leader, you will appreciate my latest interview with Adrian Miller of Adrian’s Network. In this interview, she shares tips not only for networking members but also for those on the other side of the spectrum; those who want to create a successful community of their own.
Adrian’s Network: A Member-Focused Community
Adrian’s Network is one of three businesses that Adrian runs, including Adrian Miller Sales Training and Words Work Copywriting. If you wonder how she can manage it all, I urge you to check out her Smart Hustle article, Why I Start My Day at 5 AM (And Why You Should Too!).
Adrian’s Network is a “freestyle networking” group for business professionals, and it was built with community members in mind. As Adrian explains our interview, “What I wanted to start was something that gave people a high volume of opportunity so they could network their way.” She describes it as “high touch and low pressure.”
The rationale is that everyone is different – we have different personalities, businesses, and responsibilities. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, Adrian has created a range of networking opportunities so members can pick and choose what interests them and what fits their schedule. There are in-person meetings, telephone meetings, structured virtual networking events, a listserv to ask questions, once a month member spotlights, a member directory to reach out one-on-one, brown bag lunches, special road trips, and more. This provides plenty of opportunities to participate (“high touch”), but there is no obligation required (hence “low pressure”).
As a paying member of Adrian’s Network, I am impressed by Adrian’s ability to build and run such a successful community, so I decided to pick her brain about what it takes to be a community leader. Check it out by clicking Play below.
3 Steps for Building Your Own Community
One of the topics we touched on was tips for others who want to create their own community, for which Adrian shared a 3-step thought process.
1. What is Your Purpose?
The first thing you must think about is the purpose, mission, and goals for your community. What is the common theme that will bring people together? And what do you want to accomplish? Perhaps it is a space for people to talk about the industry/profession. Or maybe it is where people can share information and expertise. Or maybe it is about making connections that will boost revenue. A successful group must share a common interest and have an understanding of common goals.
2. Who Are the People?
You next have to think about the component parts of the community, and the initial people you invite in are very important. These charter members will be the ones inviting others when you decide to expand. They can also be the magnets that draw people into the group. By having important names (in the industry, in the local community, etc.), others will want to be a part of your group.
3. What Are the Operational Details?
Operational details include things like where you will meet, how often, and so on. Adrian says this is the least important concern for growing a successful community. There are so many ways to put a community together these days that the logistics take a back seat to the first two concerns about goals and people.
It also makes sense based on the development of Adrian’s Network. As Adrian says in the interview, “You build a community that is supportive of your community members’ needs both on a professional basis as well as a personal basis because we are the sum of all of our parts.” By taking into account the community members, Adrian has been able to develop a powerful yet fluid community, fine tuning and adding operational details that meet the needs of the members.
But Wait, There’s More!
I’ve only scratched the surface of this informative interview. We also talked about:
- How members can get the most out of networking groups.
- How community leaders should deal with ‘bad’ members.
- 3 core skill sets of a successful tribal leader.
- Other tips and advice for those looking to start their own community.
There is only one way to get these gems of wisdom…click play above to listen to the entire interview with Adrian Miller.