[Day 17] How to Engage Your Tribe Online by Building Trust & Providing Value

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Entrepreneurs / 88 comments

What I really want to talk to you today about is building a raving community of amazing fans who love what you do and support every step you take.

Now that may sound like a big ask but it’s entirely possible if you follow my magical formula (that’s really not magic it’s just being human):

  • Stay true to your values and stick to focusing on why you do what you do
  • Turn up and do the work that matters for the people that matter
  • Show up and be consistent so that people know you’re around for the long haul
  • Be your very best self and do your very best work for others.

By doing these very things you will start to build a connection with people who meet you, read your blog, visit your website and trust you enough to buy your products.

Day 17 How to engage your tribe online by building trust and value

Example in Action: The Suitcase Entrepreneur Community

For those of you who have been long time community members and freedom fighters at the Suitcase Entrepreneur, you probably know better than most, that I aim to go above and beyond on providing a ton of value for free.

In fact, 90% of what I do is provided for free to you so that you can learn and apply and start building a business and life you love.

My blog, podcast and lifestyle biz videos are all put out there with the purpose of sharing my knowledge in the most open and transparent way, with the intention of having you say to yourself `Oh I can do that, thanks for showing me the way Natalie’.

Actions I take include:

  • Messaging people personally on Facebook and Twitter
  • Answering questions in LinkedIn groups or on Facebook or via email
  • Commenting and sharing people’s posts
  • Shouting out to people on Instagram or Google Plus
  • Sharing photos of events, tagging people and thanking them
  • Including them in round up posts on my blog or highlighting their work
  • Making introductions and referrals to the right people so they can work together

What is the result of building trust and value in your community?

This is a full time job, I won’t lie but I seriously feel I’ve been put here on this earth to help as many people as possible reach their full potential. That said, I am continually blown away by the messages, emails and acts of generosity I receive for the work that I do..

It makes all the hours I spend thinking about how to help you build a business and life you love and then providing endless resources and content to ensure you do that, all completely worthwhile.

I have people attend my webinars who send me messages like Rhonda to say:

“Thank you again for going the extra mile for me today,  You make it all seem so easy. I am determined to succeed.  Thanks again for your help.  I love how humble and down to earth you are.”

Or I have fans travel for hours across the country like Nicole Lombardo recently did to meet me at my Santa Monica book party!

Why did Nicole drive for 3+ hours to meet me in person? Well a few years back she had approached me about a great cause for making business fashionable. That link leads to a blog post where I featured her fantastic Lusso bags and that gave her more visibility, and she was always grateful for that.

Not dissimilar to the wonderful Kris De Leon who won a scholarship through my $100 Change Program and mentoring calls with me who also drove from Seattle to Portland for my kick off pre-launch book party just to show his support and cos he’s now a true fan.

Nicole and Kris

What about the highly trusting Audra Wilke who joined my WE Mastermind program earlier this year, and when I was on a road trip from Portland to Los Angeles, she kindly sent me an email that she’d be happy to have me and my friend stay with her.

She had never before invited a person they’d never actually met into their family home, but she trusted me, having felt she’d come to know me through my videos, coaching calls and my blog.

How real is that? Same with the generous Nancy Lynn who years back tweeted that if I was going to be in the LA area, I was more than welcome to come and stay at her home with her beautiful dogs even though she’d NEVER even met me. I’ve now met up with and stayed with the generous Nancy several times in Portland.

When I was in South East Asia this year, I had people who’d read my blog, or found out about me on social media put me up in their home or introduce me to their friends so that I was fully supported and warmly welcome in their home towns like Dinoza Mahruf of Breeze Magazine in Kota Kinabalu, and Seh Hui Leong in Kuala Lumpur.

I get DAILY love shown on social media, and I’m showing you all these examples (and I have a ton more) not to brag but to show you straight up what an AMAZING honor it is to build and lead a tribe of people who believe in what you do, and come on that journey with you to create their own legacy in life, and then return the favor because you’ve made an IMPACT in their lives.

That’s why you do what you do!

Case Study to learn from: Bitta Blankie

Bitta Blankie are using social media to build trust and credibility online

So what do you do when you’re just starting out and don’t really even have a leg to stand on yet?

I recently had Bitta Mom and Bitta Dad, founders of Bitta Blankie, reach out via email to ask for some advice in the midst of launching their new product on the baby market and were in this exact position.

Their concept is very cool. It’s a typical footed pajama with an added feature that works wonders  – a little blanket attached so babies can find comfort in having their `blankie’ nearby when they’re going to sleep.

They were right at the stage of figuring out how to bring awareness and attention to their business but feeling overwhelmed about all they had to do.

They’ve been reading my blog and newsletter for some time and were grateful for the resources and content I put out especially around building an online platform through social media so they asked me what I’d do to build trust, credibility and awareness online.

I asked them what they were currently doing to build trust and credibility as `newbies’ in this space, and here’s what they shared:

  1. Social Media presence: We’re getting active on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. FB is really mostly just our own friends at this point though. The product goes on sale next month with shipments starting Sep 1 so we’re still testing waters.

  2. We’re blogging about sleep issues – but our plan is to really build the blog over time to be a more encompassing site for parents – hitting different issues

  3. Blogger & Traditional Media Outreach: We’ve reached out to only about 10 bloggers so far in the mommy space. Emails went out last Friday and so far, no responses yet. This is going to be so important to help us gain an audience.

    Right now, most don’t even know our solution exists! I do think this will come in time, we just need to get the product out there so people can start using it and fall in love with it as we have.

And they’re right. It will come in time especially since they’re doing all the right things.

The thing I told them to focus on was their obvious passion for their product and their belief that it solves a real problem. So

Here’s what else I suggested they do:

  • I’d just suggest being strategic about your main goals and focusing only on activities that will give you more visibility and leads and traffic.
  • Focus on outreach to key bloggers in the parenting space and send them samples and ideas for guest posts they’d love to accept
  • Some mainstream media via helpareporterout.com will help- so respon to a few queries daily with a prewritten response you can customize each time
  • Social media promotion is important but also engagement on relevant groups and pages where your audience is, combined with advertising will be very effective.

Of course there’s much more that they can do, but it’s smart to focus on what you can actually achieve with your time and resources to hand. So here’s a final thought on today’s topic, that I asked my friend Rick Mulready, who shows entrepreneurs how to have the same success as big brands on social media, to share with you:

“When it comes to engaging your tribe online, it’s really similar to how you’d act at a cocktail party.  You wouldn’t walk into a party with a stack of business cards in your hand and start throwing them at people, would you?

Of course not! (at least I hope you wouldn’t.) Rather, you would identify a group of people that you’d like to interact with, walk up, introduce yourself and then start listening to the conversation.  If they talk about something that you have experience with or could add value to, you chime in and engage in the conversation.  This way the group starts to get to know and like you.

Social media is no different.  Once you’ve found the conversations that your tribe is having, follow them and start listening to those conversations.  When you see a question you can answer or an opportunity to jump in and add value, do that. When you engage with and add value in this way, people will start to like you and see you as a valuable resource.  Once this happens, THEN you can start to sprinkle in messages about your business.”

Day 17 Blog Challenge to accept in 3 easy steps

1. Write a response blog post to this question:

What three steps can you take to build trust and credibility online for you, your brand and your business?

2. Share your blog post response:

Don’t forget to leave a comment below or a trackback to your blog response. Share your post from your own site on social media using #TSE30DC.

3. Embed the 30 Day Blog Challenge badge in your post:

Choose the badge you most like from right here. Then just COPY the HTML code already pre done for you, and PASTE it into the HTML tab of your post.

Read these resource posts to help you

Read my epic Top 24 Blog Lessons Learned In Two Years

Then pick up your free Social Media Etiquette Guide

What’s next in the 30 Day Blog Challenge?

Click to tweet this: Why building trust and credibility is the key to building a raving community on social media #TSE30DC

Grab a copy of my No. 1 Best Selling Suitcase Entrepreneur book on Amazon!

Follow the 30 Day Blog Challenge Pinterest board

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post for Day 18 Building a trustworthy affiliate team to sell your products for you.

Round up of your blog posts today