Episode 213: Building Community Online with Elizabeth Henson

Game On Girlfriend Ep213

Figuring out how to reach new audiences outside of paid advertising is a challenge. Social media is loud. It can be negative and people are starting to leave. Today’s guest, Elizabeth Henson, shares how to build and nurture your online community.

 

Elizabeth Henson is the owner of Elizabeth Henson INC., founder of The Messy Success Podcast, and The Community Growth Lab. She gets businesses out of the content generating hamster wheel and into relationships that leverage their authority.

 

Elizabeth started out as a wedding photographer and grew her business to six figures. When she shifted to teaching, she realized that she could package her love of building community and leadership with how much people were struggling with their social media groups.

Building a community online

Helping clients get that quick win with their Facebook group was the in to teach about community-based marketing, which for Elizabeth is about the client’s way of being, how they show up and take action.

She notes that in pairing Facebook with an email newsletter, you can create a marketing system that takes one hour a week to run. Unlike Instagram, which requires more branding and content creation, the community aspect of a group – be it on Facebook, or something like Mighty Networks, etc. – means you just have to ask a question.

 

“80% of your content can be one line or less, and you have permission not to brand things and not make things pretty,” says Elizabeth. “You’re starting conversations versus being on a stage.”

 

There can be a dark side to social media where people bring negative energy. Elizabeth says it is possible to avoid, due to the algorithms. So as long as you don’t engage or view the content, it can avoid what you don’t want to see.

 

Online communities are timeless. One of the forgotten marketing strategies is casting your vision. Elizabeth says she likes to remind people of her vision and the reason why you do what you do, and your message almost every week.

 

“People will start a group and they'll do that in the beginning, and then they're like, ‘I don't know what to post.’ You could just remind them of why this group is here and like kind of let them, you know, do their thing.”

Love of leadership

When people think of leadership, they think of the line leader or the team captain, or similar. But good leadership is more than the title. You spot a great leader when you feel important in their presence, says Elizabeth, who wants to be the best at making other people feel seen, heard, and important.

 

Introverts can be leaders, and you don’t have to have a big following to be a leader.

 

“An influencer can just sell stuff because they have a big audience,” explains Elizabeth. “They can be an affiliate for Target or whatever and make a lot of money. That's an influencer. A leader is going to create a space where someone feels important, even if it's just one person.”

 

Elizabeth suggests thinking about how you want people to feel.

 

“You want them to feel like this is bigger than them, that it's more important than them, that this isn't bigger than you as the host,” she says. “If you can kind of treat your business mission like a movement, like you will naturally build community. And that's what makes marketing easy because then they advocate for you.”

We need to stay as grounded as possible so that we can show up for people – be it in our personal lives or in business. We really have to be able to identify the difference between intuition and inner knowing versus fear.

Elizabeth says she sees people who use intuition as a crutch. For example, thinking they need to bump a webinar back two weeks saying it’s not the right time. That could be true, but get clear on what you are afraid will happen if you do it right now.

 

On a business building level, Elizabeth says everything she does in her Facebook groups can be taught by somebody else.

 

“One day I would like to think that my business can run without me and I can pass it down to my kids or sell it. But if we are the only person that can do things in our business and it's actually worth zero, right?” says Elizabeth. “Because if something happens to us, nobody else can do anything.”

Debunking community-based marketing myths

One myth about community-based marketing that Elizabeth wants to debunk is that it’s hard and time consuming. Online relationship building is another point in your marketing ecosystem. You can nurture it for an hour a week and see it grow.

 

Wherever you choose to make your group, remember it’s another place where you can help people, where you can remind them of your offers. It’s not a be-all end-all strategy and it doesn’t have to take more than an hour a week to start some conversations and reach your audience.

Connect with Elizabeth

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