Growing up, you would hear “seeing is believing.” Well what happens when you don’t see it? Then it may be difficult to believe in it, or to see yourself a part of it. You may even discourage yourself from trying to achieve it. Representation matters. If you don’t see any representation, then it is advisable to be a part of the change you wish to see and create it. For me, that meant creating the kind of community I would love to be a part of. Building Naija Comm taught me a lot and I have learned and grown through this journey. Let me share some of these important lessons with you:
Figure out your “why”
Before building a community, you have to figure out why you are doing what you are about to do. Why are you building this? Why is it significant to you? This is an important part of the process. This will help you persevere through the tough days. If your “why” isn’t genuine or meaningful to you, then your motivation to sustain the community will decrease and eventually things will start to tumble down. If there’s no purpose, there’s no point in doing it.
Establish your target audience
Who are you creating this space for? Establishing your target audience will provide more structure and help you with proper marketing. You may want it to be for everyone but it’s hard to cater to every single age or ethnic group. It is best to narrow down the demographics of people you want in your space and figure out your desired target group before you start. If not, try to recognise it along the way when you notice which specific group supports your community the most. The earlier you establish it, the more clarity you will have through the process.
Find what your niche is
There are numerous brands and communities that exist. What makes your space any different? What makes it unique? This can be a difficult nut to crack, however, it is important to be able to know what exactly differentiate your brands from others. If you don’t know what your niche is, then your audience may not know either.
You want to keep your audience’s attention, develop a connection or some sense of relatability. If your space isn’t unique, multiple people will not be interested or they will lose interest soon.
Trial and error
Don’t be upset if your community members don’t like every single content you create, especially in the beginning. It will take awhile for you to figure out what content they like or dislike. But once you learn more about your community and how people feel about certain aspects, the process will become manageable.
Start it and don’t be afraid to take risks
The reality is, you’ll never be 100% ready. Days will pass you by as you wait for the “perfect time.” The time is now. Don’t rush the process but don’t be afraid to take a chance. You’ll be surprised what opportunities come your way when you step out of your comfort zone, such as writing a piece for BellaNaija.
Community-building can be a challenge. Throughout the process, you will face obstacles but that’s completely normal. Creating Naija Comm taught me that most good things don’t come easy. But when you create a space people enjoy and connect with, the experience can be worthwhile.