As a professional, I have a voracious appetite for knowledge. I spend time learning in the majority of my free time every day. Lately, I’ve been enveloped in the world of marketing, and I can’t help but think of how the core principles mirror what is needed to help in building a community.
These principles are: providing value, a point of differentiation, and then segmentation, targeting and positioning.
What do I mean by this? Firstly, you can’t make everyone happy. Medical sanguivores have very different experiences from some self identified vampires. The not using vampire alone is a point of difference. Criticisms sometimes arise regarding segmentation, but I find this a necessary principle. To focus on your niche of people, you position yourself to provide the greatest value to that niche. Content and support tailored specifically for them. This is one of many reasons that I encourage everyone to acknowledge and celebrate differences. Find your tribe, and work tirelessly to provide for them. You will never please everyone and if you try, you won’t be providing the best value to everyone. Someone will be doing it better than you.
How to create value? Well, there are a whole number of ways. Here are some things that come off the top of my head:
- Create a culture of learning. No one comes to anything knowing it all from the get go. Even masters continually learn, and it’s the ability to move between learner and master that helps the best leaders provide for their people. Keep learning. Encourage learning in others. Share information and knowledge freely, and help others to cultivate their skills. Help them to provide value in their own ways.
- Find your pain points and target them. Discover what is missing and what there is a need for. I did this when I saw a clear need for atheist, scientifically-oriented sanguivores whose needs were not being met. This could be something like knowledge about blood safety, or what additives are safe to consume. These needs will differ drastically depending on the individual. Tailor your efforts accordingly.
- Build infrastructure. Not everyone has the time, resources or personality type to create an organisation or group. Some people desperately need it all the same. Some are too young to be able to establish a group. Build. Create. Start projects and help to make things better. Do in-person meets and training sessions. Provide the framework for growth and people will follow.
- Ask questions and leave ego at the door. Listen to what people are telling you. As with market research, study your target audience and ask for feedback. Observe. Ask what people need. Serving those who need it is a privilege; exercise humility. Ask how you can better support those around you and what would make their lives better. Help them find their own voice. Work for the betterment of others, not for the praise or swelling of your ego.
Teaching others and sharing knowledge is extremely rewarding, and by finding your niche and applying the above principles, you can help to build a support network that provides for all those within it.