Working in Los Angeles for a decade, Corey Michael Blake was the face and voice behind a dozen Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 brands as a commercial and voiceover actor (his work won Belding, Addy, Cannes, and London International Advertising awards), before working as a film producer and director, as an author and publisher, and now as the founder and President of storytelling company Round Table Companies (RTC). Follow him @CoreyBlake9000.
Recently, YEC spoke with Corey about his experiences building a community for customers and stakeholders in his business, and what others interested could learn about the process. His best advice is below.
Treat Your Community as a Family
Community is family. They are the like-minded individuals who share your core values and beliefs. A percentage of them will share their love of your company with others. A percentage will consume your content and share it through social media. A percentage will spend money on your products and services. And a small percentage will pay big money to hear an entrepreneur speak, or to attend an in-person workshop led by them. Your community is your most powerful asset. They beat the jungle drum for your business.
Build With Relationships in Mind
Community is about relationships — honest and real relationships. A brand that is actively growing a community should be looking at the relationship cycle and finding the right community members to marry for the long term. How is the brand flirting with potential suitors? How is it taking them to coffee? To dinner? To bed? To the altar? How is the brand maturing that relationship with its community members after a commitment has been made? Doing this successfully requires a mutually beneficial relationship, listening and hard work.
You have to establish the full ecosystem. Think of social media as flirting. Articles and videos are coffee. Webinars and customer service are dinner. Books and amazing products and services take your members to bed. Resources (gifts) and in person events enhance the relationship into maturity. You need the full ecosystem for a healthy community. Any break in the chain and people fall out.
Email workflows with story-based content and free resources are key. They are the water and sunlight of a relationship because relationships require regular interaction. Making sure you allow customers’ voices to be heard in this process is also imperative. Don’t be the date that talks too much and never listens.
Help Them Accomplish Their Goals
We have been watching our community find ways to support one another this year. People starting to do business together or setting up speaking tours together is awesome to see play out. We also listen to what our community dreams of and help to actualize that. Our upcoming Love Adventure is being created in response to demand from our community for an event that gives the community the opportunity to see each other more fully vs. traditional conferences where the speakers are the focus.
A great invitation into your community is the best marketing. Find the umbrella that unites all of your communities. We have a large community with niche communities built in. The umbrella is LOVE. Within love there is health and wellness, cancer, conscious capitalism, parenting and more. Find your uniting value and market that.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.