Tell me if any of these scenarios applies to you.
- You’ve got a long list of volunteers, but only a tiny percentage of them show up when they say the will.
- The employees in your business are extremely difficult to motivate and not very dependable.
- You keep a large database of past customers, but can’t get them to purchase from you again or send you new business.
Now, tell me if any of these scenarios applies to you online.
- You have a Facebook page with 1,700 Likes, but no one is engaging with any of your posts.
- 5,000 people follow you on Twitter, but you can’t manage to get more than 1 or 2 replies when you post a question.
- Your blog has 150 subscribers, but none of them engage with your content (comments and shares.)
If you can identify with any of these situations, you’re probably the mayor of a ghost town.
What’s a Ghost Town?
A ghost town is a shadow community of uninterested and disengaged people. It is built when you artificially gather support around your brand. You’ve probably got some attractive numbers to lean on (a large database, lots of Facebook fans, or solid website traffic.)
Unfortunately, numbers do not equal influence.
Leadership is influence; not numbers. If you’ve got 20 volunteers on your team, but only 2 of them actually show up for you, you can hardly say that you have influence. If you can’t get even 1 of your 5,000 Twitter followers to re-tweet a blog post, then where’s your influence?
4 Roads That Lead to a Ghost Town
- Ambiguity – This is when you half-establish a brand or a vision. People buy in early, but are quickly confused about what you’re trying to accomplish. They lose interest and migrate elsewhere.
- Irregularity – You write a great blog post that gets some traction. Then, life gets in the way and you don’t write again for 2 weeks. This lack of a regular schedule leads to the lack of a regular audience.
- Inconsistency – Your message is constantly shifting. One day you care about saving the sea lions and the next day you’re on to the pandas. The problem with this is that your sea lion audience doesn’t care about pandas and vice versa.
- Dishonesty – This happens when your branding, marketing, blogging, or tweeting does not match you really are. This disconnect and lack of integrity breeds distrust and disengagement.
4 Roads That Lead to a Real Town
- Clarity – Be clear in your definition of your purpose. If your passion is photography, then tell your audience all about it. Put forth a crystal clear image and the right people will find you.
- Regularity – Stay in front of people regularly. You can’t dip in and dip out whenever its convenient for you and expect people to remember who you are.
- Consistency – This goes hand in hand with clarity. If you’re aim is to teach parenting skills, then write and speak about the things that develop those skills. Don’t decide to have an off day and talk about ice hockey.
- Honesty – Don’t lie to your audience. Be real. Be authentic. We can smell B.S. from a mile away.
Create a Thriving Community
You can’t lead dead people. You can’t sell things to them either. Be the leader of a lively community built on selflessness and mutual benefit. Be honest and clear about who you are and what you want to accomplish. Communicate that vision regularly and consistently.
Before you know it you will have built a thriving community; not a ghost town.