Small Business’s Guide to Building a Community with Lori Anding @southbaysome #vcbuzz

Small Business's Guide to Building a Community with Lori Anding @southbaysome #vcbuzz

Any digital marketing guide would tell you that you need to start building a community.

But what’s the real value of community building and how can a busy small business owner find the time to invest in building a community?

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About Lori Anding @southbaysome

Lori Anding @southbaysome is a social media consultant and founder of Southbay Social Media who grows businesses through creating community, collaboration, and connection.

She has done one-on-one consulting (in-person and remotely), creating engaging communities for her clients.

Her clients tend to be small business owners who have too much on their plate and recognize that delegating will create the capacity to grow their businesses.

Lori calls herself a social media extrovert.

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

It was 2011. I owned a translation agency. I became one of the 1st businesses in the @GS10KSmallBiz program to grow my biz/stimulate the economy. Social media was presented in a compelling way. Fast forward two years I left that business & started a SoMe business.

I am 100% extroverted on social media. I really identify as being an introvert the majority of the time.

Q2 What’s the real value of community building? Why would a small business owner need to invest in community building?

Everything is better in Community. There’s more support, camaraderie, and connection. Church, synagogue, school, sports, book and other clubs, etc all benefit from community.

Community building is how you grow your business. Everybody focuses on numbers, naturally. The bigger and more supportive your community, the more brand reach you have. It helps with word of mouth marketing. It helps with relationship marketing.

The larger your community the easier it is to rally people around you. People feed off people and people feed off people in larger numbers. If you have a small group and you’re trying to make that work, it’s harder. It’s doable, but it’s harder.

Q3 How can a busy small business owner find time (and money) to invest in community building?

If you’re a small business and you’re wondering how you’re going to “find time in your biz“ you will never FIND it. You’ve got to MAKE TIME. Easy as that. You need to make time to work on your business not IN Your business.

Just like you schedule a meeting, you need to schedule community building. If you don’t personally have the time to do it, find someone in your business, or hire someone.

In our time of instant gratification do not expect community building to be a fast process. ➡️This is a long-tail investment in your business⬅️ The sooner you get that the better off you are.

If you’re finding someone to do this job or hiring someone, they must have empathy, compassion, and passion for this type of work to be successful.

Q4 Where to start? How should a small business owner launch their community building strategy?

Fish where your people are. Focus there. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick 1-2 platforms.

You don’t have to invest a lot of time at first, but you do need time. Community building is part of relationship marketing and in order to establish relationships with people you need to INVEST time.

But as that community grows you need more time to nurture it. If you don’t nurture your community it’s going to die.

I manage an 85K account on Instagram that keeps me pretty busy. Again, not all of those people are engaged but we have a very engaged community. Especially when we run campaigns it can get kind of crazy.

Just like starting a quality relationship you don’t go from not knowing someone to marriage, right? Invest time. LISTEN Ask questions. LISTEN Ask for feedback. LISTEN Adjust what you post after reviewing analytics. Don’t give up!

Q5 What are your favorite community building tools?

Right now, it’s @Community. I first discovered the idea through @garyvee. If there’s anybody who understands community, it’s Gary V. It’s a text community app.

Since we’re on Twitter, my favorite platform, I’d say #tweetchats too. I’ve created a worldwide community, personally, over the last nine years. That personal community feeds my professional community. Tweet chats have been the number one way to do that.

I am very organic. Truly the best way to build community is in real time.

✨💫Your energy attracts people💫✨

That’s why I say get someone with passion because that helps create a positive community.

I’m not saying don’t use technology but definitely use technology as a supplement to your work. If you only use technology you come across like a bot IMO.

Exactly! People seem to want to go all in but you really have to have balance.

You really have to be careful with UGC. Lots of big accounts get people to give away rights to photography that isn’t even theirs. It’s a slippery slope.

We find in our industry that most people don’t even understand the copyright rights. Working with different photographers have helped us educate. We’ve learned a lot in the last five years.

Our previous community building chats:

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