As you’re hopefully starting learn, being a ‘good business’ is good for business. Putting your viewers first, delivering value and not just spamming these all lead to real engagement and following. It can take a little longer but in time, it’s a much better strategy that will yield far greater results. And another example of this is just how beneficial it is to give back to the community. And by that, I don’t mean doing community service and washing graffiti off of the walls! (Although that would likely be good for PR).

Instead, I’m talking about giving back to the community in your niche by actively taking part in posts and discussions that have no bearing on your brand and nothing to do with self-promotion. With no ulterior motive at all, comment on the posts others share, answer questions and generally help out in the community. Why is this important? Well, for starters, it helps to get your name known.

If you post regularly on Reddit for instance, then over time, people will start to recognize your name or profile and thus they’ll be more likely to trust you and to respond well when you post in future. This will help you to build trust but more importantly, you’ll gain contacts and even friends in the community.

This is what can help you to start to build true fans – because if you have been communicating as contemporaries in the past and you then come out with some new content, you’ll find that the community will work hard to support and promote you. Compare this with landing in the community and instantly trying to sell something and you’ll find that the result is hugely more positive.

To demonstrate just how powerful this concept is, imagine two scenarios and two approaches to selling an ebook.
Approach one, is that you find a Subreddit that’s all about your chosen niche, whether that be fitness, style, dating or something else. You then sign up for a new profile and post a link there to your new ebook on the subject, or just to your site.

What do you think happens?

Best case scenario, your post gets deleted. Worst case scenario, your post gets absolutely taken apart with angry criticisms and people telling you that you are quite clearly not welcome in their community if all you’re going to do is promote yourself. This is not a good start!

Now imagine approach number two. This time, you create your profile first. Weeks, months or even years before you have anything to promote. You then engage in conversation, answer questions, help people out and become a trusted and liked member of the community. People know you, they joke around with you and they like you.

Then, you post one day to announce that you have a new ebook or website you’ve been working on. This time, you’ll get a ton of praise and support because these guys are now your friends! The link might be promoted by the moderators (if you aren’t already a moderator yourself!) and you’ll find that the members of the community actually help you to spread the world and build even more links and followers.

All this will make an absolutely massive difference to the impact that your post eventually goes on to have and it can transform the way you make your entry. And countless massive brands actually started this way. Online communities can really help to elevate their individual members and lead to great things. It’s a random example but take the Sonic Fangame community.

This was such a big movement that received so much support that eventually, one of the prominent members ended up developing the new official Sonic game. SEGA saw the huge amount of praise and support from the community and heard their petitions – and it led to an amazing business opportunity. So give back to the community, take part and try to make genuine friends. This will give you an army of followers to help push you to amazing heights!