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welcome everybody you've joined wicks insider thank you so much for joining us today our special guest where we are actually live coming to you live from New York City our guest today is Bret Harrelson who is the Ric's community manager and today's topic is how to build a community to grow your business so not only is Bret buick's expert but he is also the Wix guru he is a community building guk so we are going to be peppering him with tons of questions so that you can find out how to build a community for your business and around your business to help it ultimately grow so Brett without further ado our first question to you is okay is everybody like some coffee here is what is the difference between building a community and social media and I'm asking you that because when we first had our discussion about this topic you were very adamant that building a community is not social media so please explain the difference course that's right and thank you and as you as you ladies know you guys for all of your clients you build social media accounts form and you help them advertise and it's different and you can take that feeling in what that does and you can then look at our expert group in our community you can see how it's different and you can also see like with Wix insiders the community that's forming around it right right yeah it's different it's different community has purpose and there's purposeful reason for the community to come together that's kind of the cohesive bond social media can be a tool for community but it doesn't necessarily mean community so for example social media might be that you just want to advertise that you've got a product and sometimes it's it's really what you want to do with the information is is there a drive to action if that's it like for example if I have a product and I put it out into the world it might be a drive to action to buy that's not necessarily a community but if there are if there are people thumbing motorcycles and I'm getting people to to buy motorcycles and daylight motorcycles and they make a gang to ride around town and that can be community exactly see so it's kind of its kind of different but they're very similar of course of course okay between you and the people who are the people to the people oh right yeah it's not me and the people they're buying the product it's the people who are buying the product and sharing experiences as a result of the products experience or usage or something right okay does a big difference so is it for everybody that's a good question um if you have you have up if you have a business there are major benefits for communities and if you have a business where you can so community I can't say for example if I was a jewelry store it's sometimes it might be hard to build community around that but if you were to do something interesting like photo jewelry or or maybe drumstick or tree across to Tori and you were to do like that can you do well people that like to do that in the dress up and do things like that that you can actually build a community around so it can be done in different ways or or you know maybe you may you may not be able to form a community around an animal rescue location but if you were to band together with all of them and people who like to save animals and dogs and things that you can build a community because it's a purposeful community that makes sense yeah so social media is really the tool that you're using to build your community it can be absolutely that's exactly what okay the animal rescue question yes or no it ya know a rescue site that I did does have a community because they are always posting the animals the big rescue and the people who all on the site yeah and the people have previously brought animals home men are all sharing them and posting them to other people to get the word animals so it's not even it's not it's a it's a Facebook page it's not a Facebook group but it's still a community because so social media was the tool and I've turned into a community they probably find people to foster yeah okay what was your question okay well I stand for the small business person here and you know as a small business person you're typically overwhelmed over text over overcommitted in so many different ways so why should I I mean I'm doing my social media and I'm posting is there a specific benefit you know can you just give me one good reason why I should go that extra mile and in and try to create a community that's a good question it's a good question and and and and I would look at what your what your consumers your clients what your users whatever you're doing what they are doing and what they're doing that they may have in common sometimes you can find common things between dissimilar people that you wouldn't really even expect and if you can find that you can form a community sometimes there may not be a need to form a community I mean how many of you looked on Facebook and found up the neatest cat litter box like you know more mess you know and then you can ask questions or something like that you may not need a community for that right but but for some things you can and I think you have to look at what your clients your user base what they're doing okay so it's not one classical sometimes do you feel do you find that it happens organically in social media if there are people that are very similar that that have a common denominator yes it what can naturally happen absolutely and in some ways that you wouldn't expect absolutely okay so imagine that you've got a community and everyone's sharing their cat pictures and you know their love hearts and stuff like that how does the business benefit from that that's a great question um it that's a really good question anytime you have people that come together or does that ties into climate and when people are when they feel comfortable sharing pictures of their cats as silly as it may be it's something that other people who have cats and love their cat Nessie oh my gosh I'm this fluffy I had a cat lot fifty years ago I love what they find common and it opens changes the climate and people feel comfortable then engaging in much more meaningful conversation if you can start with something simple you can build on it in communities as they age their layer upon layer upon layer so right would you say that they also add towards word-of-mouth advertising of course of course when you when you bring people together how many times have you guys in our community we talk about expert things someone says I would really like I have trouble with my project management does anybody know a platform I can use or how can we in it and one person responds there's a thousand views the community makes a recommendation yeah right and we all certainly have chosen products based on recommendations in our place that we know so that's a major benefit for a business right in building a community right and it's no different than than even even church communities or local organizational communities when you sit on talk with your friends that's in a sense still a community so it's of course of course weird amounts of change yeah that's a great point so how do I do go about it well I've got my social media set up and I'm posting how do I get started with the community for that so one of the clients I have is Magnolia on me and it's gonna give him a little shout out here because I'm wearing her outfit so how they're at Fashion Show and their small business just like Kate is talking about what would your recommendations be to them to start building a community oh that's a good question um it's a it's a it's a truck and it moves around there's some really cool things you can do with that what's there at what type of food do they make oh it's food truck clothes are there soap so what are we talking about why one so so or something like that you could you could you could make a community around clothes and you people who want to wear certain types of clothes in fashion in fact you can do things you can have fashion events you can have fashion communities you can have pop-up sales now that's more social media where's the truck gonna be this weekend it's coming in it's 50% off where's it gonna be right and then you would they could have an advertisement and think how they people would share it on their Facebook and that would that's how they could get found that's not necessarily that's using existing communities which is kind of that would work okay that's an example and with clothes there's always posting getting your plans to post pictures of themselves wearing the clothes yes something to post a picture of yourself wearing our clothes coupon purchase much that would get them to something some initiative to get them to engage in the community start with them get it right right share this show me you share this and all you between a person RIT or whatever and that's and that's basically playing with your time on word-of-mouth right more exposure yeah hashtags are basic ways if you wanted to have a hashtag for your particular business you would create it and then anytime it's ever shared posted on anything you can find that it's basically a way to instantly get to a topic like coming up with a specific hashtag well I think hashtags are more about either single entity or an event for example when we have the summit here it was I think it was quick New York summit 2017 so anything we posted on Instagram or whatever we could always go back to that perhaps there's one for a specific business where anybody that posts anything about that business you can find before that topic or that community maybe it's a support structure but it's not like a main tool that you're gonna use and you're building your community and it fits on all platforms I think so it's not it so it's working on Instagram and on Facebook so did that help answer your question Pete yes very very good and one more Brett what's going on with your shirt do you like it's mine I'm representing wicks Miami question how do you tell if you have a successful community when do you know that you've gotten to that point where you're a success that's a great question and every community evolves and grows in different ways and in different stages one of the things that you can that you can tell is what people are doing what evolutionary stage the community is in and you start having people meet when you start having people communicate with one another and form friendships it's got some legs okay we know about that when people start meeting in their cities it's getting arms when people start flying and going to other cities and countries and things to me you have a walking community at that one those that's one way to tell the evolution is watching the interaction other ways would be what you know you can always look at the numbers how many people but it's it's it's really more in my opinion behavioral than anything okay does that make sense yeah so as a community manager what what am I so I've got my business I've started my little community you know what is my role there am I just trying to get people to come and you know join my page or how do you know what's my role it's another great question um your role is as a community manager you it is your job to protect them to protect and create the climate it is a safe place people if you won't be if you want to grow and take its legs it is you must control the climate as a community manager is your sole job to make sure that when people come they're welcome okay yeah I like the community believe in it in a way I mean let's let's take some other communities that you that we've all been a part of it and if certain people are unruly or they don't abide by the mewls you have to remove that's creating safety that's creating norms and standards and it's okay to say this it's not okay to say that if you do this this is the concept these are the consequences and by doing that you're creating a cultural norm and you will cultivate that type of person and you're saying these are the people I want and it will grow that way and you prune it sounds awful but you prune those that do not behave the way that you want it want them to be okay if it's a I mean if it's a if it's a we're talking about Animal Rescue League if someone posts awful pictures or something that's not even related or you're not you're not participating in our care not participating in the community even if they're a member so try to say hey listen we're gonna ask you to depart okay and it's an S community managed it's okay to do that that's okay to do that so so here's the thing right I have a case study for you all right I have a community and I like to think that I've gone about it the right way and setting the community up and setting rules and guidelines but I'm just not getting any engagement I'm not getting feedback I put you know I encourage people to ask questions I make people play by the rules but like it's just like I can hear crickets chirping you know I can see the tumbleweeds rolling around what do I do it's just in the community like there's 300 people there but they're just there why I want them to try to have something from it yeah participate where I learn something if your community is on Facebook use Facebook group statistics and see what it what the popular wait wait wait Facebook group statistics quit what is this in a Facebook group of communities on Facebook okay statistics if it's on a forum platform or anything like that use statistics and look and see and see what is engaging in sites and that gives me information on if people are looking at it and reading yes and you can see what the Hot Topic items are okay I you know and it takes a little bit time because different communities are in gay differently and once you can see what's engaging right I can begin our work there's a recipe okay okay there is is there a is there a way to like is there a way to make people engage well I mean I mean you can't you can't you can't you can't make them right you you want people purposeful communities will naturally engage and grow because there's a purpose to it okay for example the experts there's a purpose there's a lot to learn there there's a direct connection to which you get to be a part of amazing things learn new things you have friends you have peers and you all grow there's purpose so naturally there's an engine that doesn't stop adding more people adds more we talked about sharing by word of mouth some things that what what project management software do you use things like that I think people adds more perspective more ideas and it sort of does that make sense an answer yeah I'd have to feel like I was getting something from it you know we're not it could not just you know to be nasty about it but we're just all so busy we're not getting something from the group I don't have time for that so I think that it isn't that part of our job is a community manager to to kind of supply that provides value right so to get it going it is and going back to the just the second bit of conversation went a second ago yes I mean find out what input engages people provide more and more of that and then you provided in different ways for example there's there's so many different things that are happening but the experts and getting other people to to to share their stories and their way is inspirational or getting the community to to do like like ladies are doing is amazing it's it's wonderful and it's it's you guys are growing your own community and it's wonderful and it's so much more powerful than anything anybody could do because it's it's it's wonderful so alright alright so I've got that community I've got other clients and opportunities where I see this being a really good fit what's the number one thing that you would say to a small business who's decided okay I'm gonna I don't want to just do social media I want to start a community what's the number one tip that you would give a small business starting out and building a community like number one like this is the most important thing I know that's hard that's no no no no no yeah you're right yes it is you need to find a common denominator you must find a common denominator something that will find this Bob with Jan okay what why why what's the purpose what's the for purpose of the community and you find that understand it and then as a community manager you must really want that you must really want you build it cannot be an actor it needs to be someone who loves it and believes in it or it smells falls poor purpose of the Wix experts group is is we you all have a common purpose you all you're all bound together you all build websites and and forged websites for your clients you all have varying levels of expertise right but you're all bound because you're all business men and women entrepreneurs who may be working firm but you were building sites for others and you're all using wigs and we're all continuing to learn and you see the community I was to say focus because we came together as friends at from the community and have continued to grow from each other from the entire community and hopefully somebody has grown from us and vice versa and and you know it just continues to go so we see the value of community and what we're doing and now and I think that's really what piqued our interest in okay Brett we want to know how to do this and for our clients who are you know we know that it's a large company benefits from this a small business needs to know something about it – yeah and you can also show small business is an example of not necessarily us but there are many show journey here's what it looks like no conception times I think for a small business it's hard for them to even imagine what that is right you know so that might yeah because it is kind of the big yeah think it yeah you're exactly right and sometimes community may not be the right fit sometimes a social media and sometimes social aadya can spawn by connecting people can spawn communities people can find their purposeful connection and forge their own communities it can happen being in tune with your social media so that you're aware of a comedian of community that cultivates from your social media and then learning from it may be something that you would want to do as well does that make sense great what do you think it is very quiet I'm conscious of the whole and stuff like that we're doing so much better than last time though like this is this is impressive it is I know and I'll show his distantly moved up a notch [Laughter] no but that's exactly what it is and you can tell when people care right you can tell this one more thing one aspect of it I think is really important and that is that little individuals like to feel close to a big company or you know the sponsoring company in the community we love it that we are the week's insiders and we get to know people who actually work at weeks I can't tell you how excited I was the first time I ever spoke to somebody frame weeks so that was mind-blowing to me and even if you have a small company you're still important in the of your customers and they would really get a kick out of speaking directly to you or seeing you or getting a response from you and I think you cannot underestimate the importance of that and don't think that just because you're a small business you're not important you are and that's it that's a fantastic point yeah because I think it would be very easy to get into the mindset of well how big of a community can I build around who doesn't want to be valued like who doesn't want to know that their voice matters and even just the time to say hey listen you filled out this survey we cared about what you thought you know but you know whatever that is and and by taking that into a community space I think you know we all want to know that our voice matters a little bit yeah well I think there used to be you know businesses used to want to look really big and really corporate and very serious and particularly now with the internet and and we're so far out you know we buy everything online we don't connect with people a lot we talk to you you know machines you know made it now it's totally turned around we hunger to speak to the person interaction or to go look at the about page it's the second page that we look at on a website so if you're in your community talking to your customers and you're so accessible like that angry and not only that but that could be what separates you from your competition that just really frame the fact that you are listening to your customers and then you care from their needs and that you care exactly and when you're talking about how does community affect bottom line well is here if you were interacting with them more in a firm on a personal level then that ultimately I believe does translate into the self and and you can think that as you bring people together their common bond can can be you right that's one of the themes in our community experts is we're all in this together let's all let's all get we want this new feature build it for us and then we build it any search of course yeah so what I hear you saying is the purpose of why you're building a community and what you're building it around is really the crux of the issue it's always it's always the heart it's it's it's ultra important and then you build layer upon layer and your community will adapt to it and and then you will find people in your community that began to they'll adopt those things they'll adopt that system and then they'll perpetuate good stuff yeah all right if anybody has any questions feel free to raise your hand and we have a live audience that's to y'all but before we wrap up I just wanted to let you know that one of the most popular things for Wix insiders so far is site review so if you have a website that you would like for us to review please go visit our website at Wix and submit your URL for us to review we're going to be doing that again in another episode coming up very soon and the other episode I wanted to let you know about was we speaking of platforms to use for your business are going to be speaking with vo from Pluto about business organizations and how to use his platform to help your small business stay organized which is extremely important because yeah if you run an unorganized business then you feel unorganized and overwhelmed so if that's you so with that Brett he's bred okay you had your territory and I'm in New York Virginia Beach and I my companies here at design they're yes and I am Ruth Ann Bowen from Pittsburgh and I run the Bowen agency web design I'm Sarah George I'm from Atlanta and I run three four raishin hey and I'm Kate from whip today in Sydney wishing I was in New York next time next time absolutely so thank you everybody for joining us that was the episode for today how to build a community to grow your business thanks for joining us and we'll see you next time bye bye all .

Video Discription

We are talking with Brett Haralson, Wix Community Manager, on how to grow your business by building a community. He'll be sharing the "inside scoop" with us on best practices for building relationships with people, developing trust with them and understanding the difference between building a community and social media. For more info contact us at!


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