People like belonging to something. People also like showing off, in a nice way*.
As a professional and self-employed goof-ball, I’ve learned a few things about life and business over the years; some things have surprised me, some things have not. But this is one that took me by surprise having learned it from first hand experience through organizing and hosting my own community-sourced project, 365 Days of Type (on Instagram)as well as the short community series I ran on this blog, ‘Behind The Blog’.
When people have some kind of stake in something, they will participate and support that thing dearly. That’s why people love and hold their certain hashtags dear (myself included.) To be collected and included in a pool with select others who’ve also discovered this corner of the internetz is comforting. Maybe it’s a symptom of our innate desire to be connected somehow and the comfort we all find in familiarity. Our hashtags and the blogs we follow and the books we read contribute to the oh-so-comforting 6 degrees of separation mentality. I once saw a complete stranger reading a book I had just finished and something clicked in my brain where I immediately respected and mentally checked her off as someone I like; crazy, right?!
In my experience, the same applies to blogging and business. People will make more of an investment if they feel like they’re included in a community; which includes your community of clients and colleagues. Make people feel like they’re a friend or colleague rather than an invoice number; at the end of the day, they’re just people too and you’ll find it refreshingly feel-good. Going out to events together or genuinely shooting the breeze is important to building trust and kinship and makes you both feel like you belong; they belong and are now included in your circles and vice-versa.
Having a blog already accomplishes this: when you share your own life online, those who read it feel like they know you better and have more of a connection to you and investment in your life and what you’re doing than someone who doesn’t read your blog. But if you’d like to push it further, ask your readers questions and encourage a comment conversation. Or on a larger scale, consider starting a hashtag collection or blog series in which your readers can participate and be an active voice in it all. I’ll admit, it’s easier said than done; I’m still myself figuring out exactly how I want to go about this, but it’s something to seriously consider. I’ve started my own hashtag, #HandsAndHustle where you can share what you’re working on, what you’re making, what you’re hustling and I post my favourites on my Instagram. I hope to somehow turn it into a more juicy blog feature where I’ll profile these so-called ‘Hustlers’ and casually interview them about their work and life.
In any case, here’s the key takeaways:
1. People like to belong and participate in their found communities
2. Giving people some stake in your business or blog will help build trust and engagement
3. Share the love, include them in your circles and show them off where appropriate
How are you making people feel like they belong? Do you guys have a hashtag or community feature? Are you a Hustler who’d like to be profiled? Share below and let me know your thoughts!
*Not always a nice way