When you use language to create community it happens due to everyone using a common language. It happens in a big picture way with countries, states, and cities but on a smaller picture too. For example, you’ve heard of “company culture” before, right? Essentially, company culture is the personality of the company. Culture defines the values, mission, expectations, and ethics of a brand or company.
This is important because language is how you spread your company culture or your brand message, and, it’s how you build a community of like-minded people. It all starts with the language you use to express your values, mission, expectations, and ethics.
When everyone defines the terms that they use in the same way, the community is formed almost as if by magic. But, it’s really by design since you have researched the type of people you want to attract to your community in advance and are purposefully using the right words to bring them into your community.
- Follow Your Audience – Before you can get to know the terminology and language that your audience is using you must really get to know them inside and out. Even if you are genuinely a member of that audience already, there are things you may not know. Your experiences are subjective, but when a group has the same issue you can bet that many other people do too.
- Note What They Complain About – When you’re observing groups in discussion what problems do they mention? What do they complain about the most? Whatever they complain about the most is a problem that needs a solution. Do you have enough knowledge to solve that problem? If so, the question is fodder for products for your audience.
- Find Common Ground – Even if you’re not a true member of your target audience often you can find common ground and relate to them on some level as you get to know them. Find that common ground so that you can show in your mind, as well as in action, how the things you do and create relate to them and their needs.
- Talk the Talk – As you start learning the special words they use in the niche, you should start using them to so that you can practice. Use them in blog posts, social media updates, quotes, memes and as titles for products and solutions.
- Walk the Walk – Take it even further by living the value system of the group you want to know more. For example, if you have joined a nursing mother’s group, if you’re not a nursing mother or have never been a nursing mother it might be hard for you to relate. Find a way to live your truth in relation to their truth. Maybe you took a class and are a professional nursing coach and have worked with 1,000 nursing moms and that is how you can relate to them.
- Turn Questions into Titles – When you are observing your audience asking questions, almost every question can become a title to your next product, blog post, eBook, small report, white paper, and/or webinar. Take note of every question you see from your audience so that you can offer solutions. The more solutions you have the larger your community will grow. After all, that’s what people want. Solutions.
- Choose the Right Voice – Since you’re trying to infiltrate your market, you may want to use terms like “we” and even “I” so that you differentiate yourself as part of your own market. But, there are times when you create something for them where you want to use active voice leaving out the personal pronouns to get them to act. “To get that, do this.”
- Show Your Authority – When you really want to show that you’re an authority in your niche, using “I” phrases is a great idea. For example, let’s say you’ve lost 150 pounds following a specific method and now you want to help others do the same. In this case, you’re an authority on the topic so you can safely say things like, “When I was struggling to lose weight at first I did it all wrong.”
When you participate and show what you know, how you feel, and what you think using their terms and language you’ll fit in a lot sooner and build an amazing community through your efforts. This community will eventually become customers and even referral partners and fans.