There are many reasons why you might want to build a global community. Maybe you want to change the world for the better or launch the next million-dollar project. Whatever the reason, every global community starts with an idea, but not all are successful.
Many people try to build their own global communities without knowing how much effort it takes and how many resources are needed to achieve a good level of engagement. This article will help you better understand how to build a global community and what elements are important to your idea’s business model.
If you want to build a successful community and global reach, you must understand the importance of cultural diversity and communication in building communities and connecting with the world.
Unlike a local community, building a global community is about connecting with people around the world, it’s international cooperation.
Communities are built because people want to connect with each other. They want to share their lives, values, and interests with others who feel the same way they do.
The easiest way to build such a community is to give them something to connect with – and the only way to do that’s through communication.
Related: What Does Social Engagement Mean
Have a Clear Vision
Every community is different, but there are some commonalities among the most successful communities.
A clear vision is critical to the success of your global community. It helps you stay on top of things and make decisions.
A vision statement should be short and concise, but also powerful enough to stay with you for several years, if not forever. Here are some questions to consider when creating your vision statement:
How Do I Envision the Success of My Community?
By envisioning a shared future, even if you don’t yet have a specific idea of the outcome yet, you begin to develop your vision and it’ll guide you every step of the way as you work toward that vision.
Example: “In 10 years, my community will have provided to 150,000 children in developing countries. Education will help countries make smarter choices in the future, and the lives of these children will be transformed.”
Your vision might be something like, “We provide education to young children in developing countries to change their lives and help their countries succeed in the future.”
Formulate an inspiring vision that reflects the soul of your community, and a shared understanding among its members. The more inspiring your vision, the more motivated your community will be to join you in achieving it.
Your vision statement will be a constant source of inspiration and motivation.
What Do I Want My Community to Know or Understand?
When writing your vision statement, you need to make sure that your community understands what you’re about,
for example, in the vision statement, “We provide education to young children in developing countries to transform their lives and help their countries thrive in the future.”
Your community knows that your goal is to help children, not seniors, that you want to provide education, not food or shelter, that you’re focused on the future of their lives and their countries, so people shouldn’t expect to see a result today.
How do I want my community to feel?
Working globally isn’t so easy because most people will never be able to see you face to face.
Building trust is an important factor, and a clear vision helps them decide whether what you preach is realistic or not.
If your vision doesn’t feel realistic, for example, if you say, “We’re giving education to young children in developing countries so their country can become extremely rich and powerful,” people probably won’t join you.
Joining a community requires time, commitment, and nowadays people have little time to sacrifice.
That’s why you also need to study your target audience to know what language you should use.
For example, if you’re targeting people who’re interested in education and children, the language should reflect the nature of the target audience.
What Do I Want My Community to Believe About Themselves?
You want your community to believe that they can participate.
If you’re targeting people who want to help children around the world get an education, you shouldn’t create language barriers for potential members with very scientific language in your vision statement.
Also, you should avoid a very long vision statement that’s so short that people can easily remember it.
What Do I Want to Achieve With My Community?
Your global community is there to follow you in your vision and help you achieve your community goals and support them as much as possible.
Therefore, your vision statement needs to be simple and clear enough for your audience, otherwise, people won’t read on and won’t bother to learn what your goals are.
This all sounds pretty simple, but it’s amazing how many leaders get this wrong or don’t pay attention at all, which can lead their communities astray without them realizing it.
However, if you take the necessary time and pay attention to this, it can provide you with incredible clarity that will help you better support your members and guide their actions.
Be Realistic About Your Mission
Many people confuse the terms vision and mission. The difference isn’t just semantic, it’s a whole new way of thinking about your business and your success.
To understand the difference, we first need to define our terms. A vision is a mental picture of what you want to achieve in the future (often used as a noun: “My vision is…”).
A mission is a statement that describes how you plan to achieve your vision (often used as an adjective or adverb: “We’re on a mission to…”).
In the same example, your vision is to provide education to young children in developing countries to change their lives and help their countries succeed in the future. That’s a great idea, but the next question people will ask is, “How are you going to do it?
Your mission could be to build schools, education systems, respond to a specific education crisis or global challenge, raise funds for scholarships, teach online, connect children around the world to help and support each other, etc.
Your mission gives a more concrete idea of how you’ll achieve your vision.
Over the years, I’ve seen many people struggle to build global communities.
Whether it’s an online forum, a global organization, or a social network, the challenge is always the same: How do you build a community that’s inclusive and welcoming to people from all walks of life?
First of all, you’ve to realize that not everyone thinks like you anymore and has the same ethical principles as you do.
As the founder and leader of the global community of World Citizen Artists, I was fortunate to have a great mentor and advisor who opened my eyes to the fact that the values of the global community are clearly defined.
Values are important because they give potential members an ethical guideline to follow, and they also give you the ability to close doors when necessary.
For example, in the community I built, we’d all kinds of potential members, a lot of great people who shared our values, but we also had people who tried to impose a political or religious agenda on us, and people who tried to use our community brand as a tool to make money. Our values have always saved us and also prevented potential members from joining who don’t agree with our values.
For example, as a global community, one of our values is:
THINK WORLD: World Citizen Artists reject violence, racism, nationalism, ethnic or national discrimination or glorification, religious proselytizing, gender discrimination, and any form of intolerance. Therefore, we participate in transnational discussions that aren’t limited to specific nations, religions, or cultures.
We reject violence because anyone could try to incite violence on our social media platforms or during one of our events.
We reject violence, racism, nationalism, ethnic or national discrimination or glorification, religious proselytizing, gender discrimination, and any form of intolerance. We, therefore, participate in cross-national discussions that don’t single out any particular nations, religions or cultures, because cultural diversity and shared understanding are at the core of our work.
Racism, religion, and politics often create unnecessary language barriers that can prevent us from making better progress.
We’re a global community and want everyone to feel included.
Set Achievable Goals
Once you’ve articulated your vision, mission, and values, it’s important to set goals to ensure you can deliver on your promise.
For example, in our global community, our goal was to make a thousand socially engaged artists known worldwide in our first year.
This goal helped us decide what activities we wanted to do and do the right research.
Our first year went better than planned because we set realistic goals and instead of 1000, we were able to recruit 3000 socially engaged artists. If we’d set a goal of 50,000, we wouldn’t have been able to do that without a budget and the morale of the team would have been low.
Educate Yourself Further
Even if your global community has nothing to do with international education, it’s important to educate yourself.
It’s very easy to assume that you know everything about something just because you have already done the research and have years of experience in the field.
If you’re building a global community, you need to educate yourself and your members about the culture, values, and language of your target audience.
You need to understand cultural diversity and language barriers. It’s important to create a shared understanding between your members.
What’s important to them? How do they communicate with others, both online and offline? Are they tech-savvy or skeptical of it? Are they more likely to communicate in English or in their native language?
Treat your members as individuals; each has their own expectations, values, and reasons for being part of your community.
Always remember that what’s true for one member isn’t necessarily true for another.
Don’t assume that everyone expects the same from you or from your relationship with your community.
You won’t be able to please everyone, but the more you and your team know, the more people you’ll be able to reach.
Build Strong Partnerships
Good partnerships can support your goals in the global community. Bad partnerships can backfire.
Treat every partnership with the same seriousness as any other important business relationship.
That means asking the same questions about goals, values, and trust as you’d with any other potential partner. Here are some questions to consider:
What’s in It for You?
- What do you hope to get out of this partnership?
- More memberships? Better visibility?
- A new way to reach members?
- Are there synergies between your community that could make the partnership more valuable than working alone?
What’s in It for Them?
- Is there something your partners want you to do?
- Is there something about you that might make them think twice about working with you?
- Do they see a benefit to working with your community?
- Does their presence on your site increase their credibility or visibility, or vice versa?
Trust and transparency are important components of any successful partnership.
Be open and honest with your partners and make them feel equally comfortable with you.
- Are they a good partner for you?
- Will this partnership help you achieve your goals?
- What would happen if the partnership ended tomorrow; is it important enough to invest time in?
Visit Other Global or Local Community Events
Attending meetings and other events is a great way to network and get involved in other global and local communities.
Events give you the opportunity to meet like-minded people, share ideas, and learn more about specific topics in your area of interest.
This can be very beneficial if you’re looking for supporters, partners, or members, or have the opportunity to speak about your community when the opportunity arises.
You can learn more about what’s happening in your industry, especially trends and future predictions, by attending conferences.
You can also use a conference as an opportunity to promote your community by setting up a booth or giving a talk on a topic related to your expertise.
For example, if your global community brings together international students from the health sector, you should attend the Global Health Summit and learn about the latest covid 19 vaccine and covid 19 response. You can also read about vaccine cooperation and the broader global response, as well as vaccine nationalism. Understanding both sides is as important as understanding.
Some of the Sustainable Development Goals events at the UN are also a great opportunity to learn more about the world’s greatest challenges and future crises and to network with people who believe in a shared future.
There are many online events on cultural diversity, human rights, and civil society, social infrastructure, international business, etc.
Communication Is Global
Staying connected with your community is an important part of building and maintaining a network.
You need to make sure your members can communicate with each other in a friendly environment.
You should also know how to build relationships through social media global reach.
If you don’t cater to your members’ needs, they’ll leave you and look for a community that does.
A global community is a group of people from different parts of the world connected through an online platform
If you’re planning to set up a global community on your website, it’s important to consider how you want communication to work.
The following tips can help you make your community more attractive to its members and provide them with a better experience:
Offer Useful Communication Tools
Make sure your users can communicate with each other by providing messaging and chat features.
This makes it much easier for them to communicate with each other and share information.
If they also want to reach you, you should set up a contact form on your website and include social media profiles so they can message you there.
When it comes to communicating with your members, you should always remember that they aren’t directly under your control.
You won’t be able to see what they write in real-time. So make sure you set up systems that ensure you can answer their questions quickly and appropriately.
Don’t want to create expectations that you can’t meet.
So plan carefully before you implement a communications function, and make sure everything works as intended at all times. 3.
Schedule Regular Newsletters
It’s important to keep your community informed about news.
When you post the latest news on your website, it’s good to inform your community members about it, because they’ll not automatically remember to visit your website?
It’s also a good idea to share your successes.
Community members like to feel that they belong to a proactive community.
Keep Up to Date With New Technologies
Depending on your budget, there are many platforms for building community websites such as WordPress, Wix, Four Square, etc.
Do Your Data Analysis
Data analysis is critical to building a global community.
Before you start building a community, you need to understand who you want to reach, how they talk, and how they want to engage.
Data is the secret sauce to your community management success.
It can help you set the right tone for your team, gain insights into what drives your members, and it can even help predict what kind of content your members will like.
All successful communities take a data-driven approach to their community engagement.
Online Community Engagement
Trying to maintain control of a community is an exercise in futility.
Think about it: In a global community, there are an infinite number of people on the other end of every conversation.
You may be able to read every comment on your latest blog post, but what happens when you post an update on Facebook (assuming you use some form of automation)?
How can you really expect to reply to everyone?
It’s OK if you don’t reply to everyone.
The most important thing is that every interaction leads to something.
The goal isn’t to have everyone who interacts with your community or your content follow you on Twitter, subscribe to your newsletter, or whatever else you do.
It’s also not about building a large audience – although that might be a nice side effect.
The real goal is to give every person who interacts with your community at least one good reason to keep doing so – and hopefully several reasons.
That brings us back to automation: if you use it effectively, automation can help build communities from the ground up and create relationships with new followers.
But you also need to be aware that community engagement may not work the way you planned, your social media platforms may be quieter than you think, or you may get complaints from those who disagree with your agenda.
Community Engagement Is One of the Most Difficult Tasks, Especially With a Global Community
Some cultures do better with social media than others. It also depends on the nature of your community.
For example, if your community focuses on outdoor activities for your members, you might be dealing with an audience that just doesn’t spend much time online.
These challenges are very common and there are many ways to work around them.
The best way to better understand your challenges is to do a market analysis and find out how other similar communities are doing.
Being online and interacting with community members is great, but don’t forget your vision, mission and goals.
It’s very easy to get distracted by social media, and that’s not always productive.
In fact, my community has spent much less time on social media over the years and we almost don’t advertise anymore because we realized that while we’d great stats, the conversion wasn’t leading to the actions we wanted and it was slowing down the efficiency of our team.
We still use it to inform our community, but we’ve reduced the time and advertising spent on it so that we can focus more on concrete global cooperation.
When you start a new community, you want to lead by example.
But when you’re the founder and the only person in the group, it’s often hard to know where to start.
When you start a community, the first question is whether you want to lead it yourself or hire someone to do it.
Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.
Trying It Yourself
- Cheap Own knowledge Hard work
- Time consuming
- Allows complete control over the community
- Can be time consuming to maintain
- Lower overall visibility
Hire Someone Else
- Expensive expertise in running communities
- Less or not time consuming
- Provides structure to the community
- Creates dependence on another person who may not be as committed as you’re
- Risk that your vision won’t be implemented appropriately
Legal Structure of the Global Community
If you’re serious about building a global community, a legal structure is important not only for tax reasons but also for legal protection.
Depending on where you’re based, you can choose a non-profit organization, a social enterprise, a limited liability company, or some other legal structure.
For example, legal structures in the Middle East and North America are different.
Sometimes the law can be different even within a country. Let’s take the United States as an example: New York has different laws than Los Angeles because it’s a different state.
The best way to find out about the different legal forms in your country is to check your government’s website.
Some countries also have charities that provide advice to people who want to start a nonprofit organization.
Building a Global Community
As you already know, you don’t have to be Mark Zuckerberg to build an international community.
Any human being can build a community and it doesn’t have to be as big as Facebook’s social infrastructure to make a difference, but no matter how big your community will be, you still have to consider many factors.
If you’re thinking of starting a global community and assume it’s a no-brainer, think again. Building a global community – and I’m talking about a truly international community here – is no small feat.
It’ll take patience and understanding, but with a good learning process, the social infrastructure you build will be stronger.
The most important thing is that your voice is heard, concrete actions take place and you maintain your positive energy. It may be hard at first, but it’ll be worth it when you get there.
Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, an educator, a digital marketer, a photographer, a writer, a designer, or a business founder, unlike a local community, building an international community is a challenge for any traditional entrepreneur starting an international business, but it’s also the greatest opportunity to learn about global cooperation and cultural diversity and to feel like you’re working with other like-minded people towards a shared future and international cooperation for sustainable development.
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to always be honest with your community members, keep the communication flowing, and surround yourself with the right people.
Building relationships and global cooperation with people from around the world take time and effort. This is a good way to contribute to our world to build forward better.