How can you create a community where members feel like they truly belong? A place where they can find their people and get the resources and guidance to create real transformation?
In the second session of March 23’s CX Day, Circle‘s Andy Guttormsen and Alexis Teichmiller took us through dozens of real-life examples of successful communities, to provide inspiration for creating our own.
They also shared 12 practical ideas you can use to make your community more valuable and create that sense of belonging—and we’re going to run through them today.
12 Ideas to Create a Sense of Belonging in Your Community
As you’ll notice, most of these ideas are about creating a sense of belonging for your community members, because that’s key to a great community.
There are 12 ideas here—that’s a lot!—but the point is not to overwhelm you with options. If even just one or two spark something, that’s great. Run with it! (We don't even use all 12 of these ideas in our community, SPI Pro.)
The most important thing is to keep in mind the folks you want to serve and how these ideas might be applicable to them.
- Monthly introduction calls. Invite all new members to a monthly call to introduce themselves and their goals, and what they’re looking for from the community.
- Group coaching calls. Help multiple people at once with a group Q&A session where you help people identify their problems and suggest solutions.
- Weekly or monthly “hot seats.” Similar to the group coaching calls, one person talks about a problem they’re trying to solve, and the rest of the group helps them with it. Rotate who’s in the hot seat each time.
- Continued education. Host a book club, watch the same movie, or listen to the same podcast episode. Then create a shared space where people can connect over what they've learned.
- Expert guest interviews. Lend your platform to someone else. Bring in someone who has the heart of a teacher, and run a video- or text-based interview. Bonus points: get the community to vote on specific guest speakers they’d be excited about, then book them.
- Weekly or monthly office hours. This gives your community dedicated time to ask questions and dive deeper into your content and expertise.
- Accountability groups. Host a weekly or monthly check-in with your community to identify what they need accountability for and then challenge them to pick an accountability partner.
- Panel discussions. Bring two or three people from your community together and host a panel discussion that's relevant to that month’s content or topic.
- Live workshops or trainings. Run training workshops focused on teaching your community. Invite participants to engage with the live chat during the workshop!
- Challenges. Run a monthly challenge, and at the end of each month host a live video announcing the challenge winner and talking about their experience.
- Community champion program. Invite three to five members from your community to be community champions. Ask them to commit to posting a new question in the group weekly to inspire community engagement.
- Show and tell. Invite a member to join you live in showcasing their business, personal growth, or new idea.
If you want to dive into these 12 ideas in more depth, check out the replay of Andy and Alexis’s session from CX Day.
And these 12 tips are just the tip of the iceberg of what Andy and Alexis covered in this session. Here's what else they talked about:
1️⃣ They covered the most common ways to structure your community—so your community home is designed for connection and your members are encouraged to build relationships and engage.
2️⃣ They even built a brand new community from scratch, in real-time, to show how quick it is to get up and running.
3️⃣ And they walked through 20 real examples of different communities, to show the breadth of what's possible.
Bonus Insight: The 2 Big Myths That Can Hold Back Your Community-Building Efforts
Oh, and they also debunked two of the biggest myths that can prevent you from starting a community or membership experience for your business.
Myth 1: I need to have a large following to create a community or membership experience for my business.
Reality: It can be a major advantage to start with a smaller, tight-knit community before growing larger. You can give people more attention, and have a tight feedback loop as they get acclimated. It’s easier to nail down who you are and who you serve when you’re smaller.
In fact, the great majority of the most successful, beloved communities on Circle have fewer than 100 members!
Myth 2: I need to offer a lot of stuff for my community to be really valuable to my members.
Reality: It’s much better to overdeliver on one or two big promises you make to your members. Remember, people aren't joining your community to get “stuff” from you—they want the transformation that stuff can provide.
For more on these myths, and the 12 practical ideas you can use to create a more valuable community for your members, check out Andy and Alexis's CX Day session at SPI’s Community Experience YouTube channel.
And ICYMI, check out last week's post, where I covered Pat and Matt's CX Day session on the differences between audience building and community building.