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Renee Ballard

Community building basics

Imagine you walk into a party. You don’t really know anybody there. There’s a couple of friends of friends and a guy you went to primary school with. Mostly there’s a whole bunch of strangers, friendly enough, but you don’t know them.

Then imagine you’re standing there, talking to anyone that will listen. Someone stops past whilst you’re talking and says ‘nice shoes’. What do you? Keep talking about what you were saying? Or stop and say smile and say ‘thanks’?

Of course you stop and smile and say thanks. If you didn’t, as if that person is stopping by again to talk? Conversation is best when it’s two-way!

So instead of imagining being at an actual party, imagine a social media channel is a party, some kind of social event. You write a post, hit send, and then someone sees it, likes it and/or comments on it. Same fork in the road, do you leave them hanging out there in the ether? Or do you acknowledge the comment and respond? Trick question… you respond of course!

This is how communities get built. It starts with one person talking, someone joins in, then a conversation starts and that’s when shit gets interesting, because you’re being brave by speaking up and the people who like the cut of your jib hear you and join in. If you don’t grab them with both hands, love them and respond, then you’ll be hanging out in the ether without a community to talk to. Building a community takes time; time in the seat and time responding to your first responders.



Keith Carlsen


  1. Diane Douiyssi on August 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Love the analogy! So helpful for me as I start out in the online world of social media. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    • Renée Ballard on August 6, 2018 at 7:18 am

      My pleasure Diane, thanks for reading! Good luck with your online adventure 🙂

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