Building a Social Community. Fast.

Credit: Josh Fechter, BAMF

Here’s how to start a successful online community according to one of the best tribe-builders out there, Josh Fechter.

I’ve been following Josh for a couple of years now, and I can honestly say he’s in the top five or six marketers who have provided the most value for me and my team.

As a growth marketer, he has generated over 200,000 social media followers and built one of the most active founder communities on Facebook (Badass Marketers and Founders) with 15,000+ members. As an author, he has penned some of the most helpful growth hacking guides on the internet. Check out his books asap.

Here’s how Josh says he built his online communities from scratch.

Step 1: Connect with communities at scale

The fastest way to build a community on social media is to start with cold outreach.

Tactics like content marketing, SEO, and organic social posting are great, but they take time to build momentum. Even if you spent months executing them well, you’ll likely wind up with modest results because they haven’t had time to snowball.

To start the outreach process, begin by connecting with your target audience on LinkedIn. This will allow you to download their emails once you’ve connected, retarget them on other social networks, and email them.

To connect with your audience at scale on LinkedIn, follow these steps:

  1. Set up searches for your target audience in Sales Navigator
  2. Use LinkedIn Helper to autoconnect with your audience
  3. Export your connections’ emails from LinkedIn
  4. Use Dux-Soup to scrape your Sales Navigator searches and compare to your email export, which will determine which emails are from your target audience.
  5. Upload email list of your target audience as a custom audience on Facebook and start warming them up with promoted content.

If you need help, follow the detailed directions here: Automated Prospecting on LinkedIn.

Step 2: Build rapport

Now that you’ve automated the connection process, it’s time to start warming up your audience with content.

The content you share at this phase should be packed with value. Not just good information, but actual tools and templates. Check out these examples:

Avoid going straight into sales mode. Build familiarity before you send your first email.

Additionally, after you’ve been promoting helpful content for a while, Josh suggests running a rapport campaign. You can get a virtual assistant to find positive articles about each person’s company on Google and then reach out with a note that says:

“After I connected with you on LinkedIn, I came across this article about your company, Engagio. Great to see people in my network making a positive impact. I couldn’t help but reach out because of [x] and [y].”

Do this after you’ve already been running ads on them a while. Then, once you’ve nurtured them this far, it’s time for the ask.

Step 2: Set up Mailshake

Purchase three Mailshake accounts for sending bulk emails. Mailshake is a platform built specifically for cold outreach, and it will help you scale your sequences.

Next, sign-up for a G Suite account.

Use a throwaway domain that’s not connected to your primary business but sounds relevant to your brand. For example, marketersfounders.com.

Josh suggests creating six different email addresses tied to one or two domains via Google. You’ll start by sending out 20 emails/day from each account for the first week, then 50/day the second week, then 150/day the third week. The idea is you don’t want to go too aggressive off the bat or you might get banned. If you really want to play it safe, stay below 300/day per email address and start off at 20/day for the first three weeks.

Step 3: Create emails to join your community

Here’s the exact copy Josh uses in his cold outreach emails:

Outreach Email Copy

Hey [first name], I noticed we’re connected LinkedIn. I came across this article about your company, [company name]. Great to see people in my network making a positive impact.

For this reason, I wanted to personally invite you to a founder Facebook Group I run that’s very active (5,000+ members).

The Founder’s Facebook Group is moderated by a few of the best, so it’s invite-only. 

Our moderators:

[Credible person]

[Credible person]

[Credible person] 

You can join the Facebook Group here: facebook.com/groups/growthmarketers

If you want to know more info, feel free to reply.

Cheers,

Josh Fechter

If they don’t open the first email, he automatically sends a follow-up email two days later that’s the same except for this line at the beginning:

Follow-up Copy

Hey [first name],

Wanted to ensure you saw this email from the other day.

He says it works well because chances are people forgot the original value proposition or never saw it.

Here are some of the response he receives from this type of cold email:

“Thanks for reaching out! Glad to see you’ve been building this great community. I just requested to join your FB group and look forward to connecting. If there’s anything I could do to help out in any way, please let me know.”

“Hi Josh! Thank you for your email, I joined the FB group ;)”

“Hi Joshua, Thanks for the invitation! Looks like an interesting group. I just sent a request to join it. Looking forward to participating in the community.”

For every 100 people he emails, he says he gets maybe one complaint. The solution? Don’t email them again.

Step 6: Get People to Say “Yes”

“The more people get used to following instructions from you,” Josh says, “the more likely they’ll engage with a new call to action. It starts with the first comment. Once someone invests in commenting on a post, they’re more likely comment again.”

He goes on to say that you need to get people to open up on a more personal level.

In order you do that, you need to open up first.

How? Write about personal experiences and tie them into your audience’s profession.

Next, leverage the comments. When someone comments on a Facebook post, reply with a question to get them to expand on their point. The more comments they post, the more invested they’ll feel in the group and to you.

Final word: Community Building

If you follow the steps in this strategy to a tee, you should have social media community up and running in no time.

Need more explanation? No problem. Josh has done an excellent job documenting his process in a variety of places. I suggest the following:


Devon Hennig

Devon Hennig is a published author with a background in lead generation, brand development, and event speaking. He lives in Toronto and works as VP of Demand Generation at Vendasta.

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