The year is 1965 and you’re inspired by the writings of C.S. Lewis.
You’ve just discovered Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters and you want to get a group together to discuss and read through these books.
What you want, you realize, is to connect with a group of like-minded strangers—so you walk down to your local coffeehouse and post a flyer for your new book study group, maybe even inviting other regular patrons to join.
The world is filled with places where people meet on common ground to connect. This is the driving force for most libraries, community centers, outdoor parks, and quite a few bars.
These places-between-places are not where people live, work, or spend most of their time—but they’re crucial to cultivating community offline.
Where Online Community Happens
Online, social media works much like a coffeehouse or bar—it’s a 24/7 global place-between-places. Friends and strangers alike pass through, connecting over common interests (and a good drink).
For this reason, social media is a great place to go to find like-minded people and build your own community, with your content as a conversation-starter of sorts.
When you have a message to share and need an audience to share it with, social media is a good place to go.
It’s not a good place to go to create viral content, get millions of likes, or follow thousands of others—but to connect to new people with similar interests, who like what you create.
Be Somewhere Social
To leverage social media for your platform, you shouldn’t try to be everywhere—but instead pick a few choice locations to hang out and build new connections online.
This is one of those situations where less is better, where focusing all your attention on a primary platform creates far more impact than dividing your attention between three or four.
However you approach social media, you should treat these platforms as outposts or embassies, where your goal is to connect to new people and bring them back to your independent home base.
If you’re going all in on Facebook, you could publish a page with your content and also contribute to industry-specific groups.
If you’re going all in on Twitter, you might participate in strategic conversations around industry hashtags and post 10 times each day.
If you’re going all in on Pinterest, you might create image-heavy, step-by-step content and post that on strategic shared boards.
Share a sample of the value you offer, and invite people back to your website to join your growing community.