How to turn followers into a community

Sophie Miller, Founder, Pretty Little Marketer
Sophie Miller gets social media. Find out how she makes her company stand out so much and creates a community who genuinely feel part of something.




Key takeaways on how to turn followers into a community

  • Community is not about the numbers. It’s about the people.
  • Instead of, “What do I want to post?” consider what your audience wants you to post.
  • Identify a problem and bring people together in solving it.
  • Community is built when you address a need.

[14:55] The difference between a following and a community is who you choose to prioritise.

  • Follow a bunch of brands and take note of who they’re prioritising:
    • Is it themselves and their messaging
    • …or is it you as their follower and community member?
  • We live in an era of “conscious consumerism”.
    • We are waking up to brand marketing.
    • TikTok has changed the game because no one likes traditional ads anymore.
      • We don’t like to be sold to. We want to be included and spoken to on a personal level.

[16:48] What brand do you think smashes “community”?

  • Case Study: Lounge Underwear
    • 3 million followers on IG, but never lost their sense of community. They maintain this by…
      • …getting their community involved by replying to every comment, for example.
      • …using IG Stories and focusing not on themselves but on consumers (ex. screenshotting comments, guest writers, giveaways, etc.).
      • …regularly asking their audience what they want to see more of.\

[22:00] 3 things I’ve learned throughout my journey that you need to know:

  • [24:14] Give them value, and give more than you take.
    • Value is created through exchange:
      • “What can my audience take away from this?”
        • Educate
        • Inspire
        • Entertain
      • Value is a really important way to build not just a community, but advocates, as well.
    • [29:30] Provide your audience opportunities to get involved and own your brand as much as you do.
      • Easy ways to give your audience opportunities to get involved:
        • Pick tomorrow’s post!
        • “Share your thoughts in the comments.”
        • Rewarding their engagement with an interaction
        • “Who do you want to see next on our webinars?”
      • [34:19] Using your insights for deeper understanding of your current audience.
        • Use data!
        • Create a content calendar and use it to track engagement (i.e. likes and comments).
        • Just ask your community what they need, want, and enjoy.

Q and A on how to turn followers into a community

[42:41] Q: How do you build a community in the B2B space?

A: Community is possible everywhere. Community is built when you address a need. If you sell web development, what are the needs of your ideal customer? Maybe they don’t know how to build a website or why a website is even important. Address those needs through your content. By educating people, you provide value, and that creates community.


[45:38] Q: I’ve just started my business. What would be my first steps to building a community? Since it doesn’t exist yet, I can’t get feedback.

A: It all goes back to market research and pinpointing those needs you want to address through your content, and knowing who you’re addressing them for. Define your ideal customer and tailor your content to them. Use resources like AnswerThePublic, or just do a little bit of social listening, to figure out what questions people are asking in your area of expertise.


[49:24] Q: How do you transfer members between communities (ex. Twitter to Instagram, or Instagram to LinkedIn, etc.)? The objective is to increase touchpoints for my business.

A: It’s about giving the consumer a reason to go somewhere new. If they love your content on TikTok, they get enough of you on TikTok. But you would create different types of content on LinkedIn versus Instagram. Take advantage of the unique features of each platform that you would not find on others. Differentiate your content channels. Just remember that you don’t have to be on all the platforms—just where your ideal customer hangs out.


[54:26] Q: Why do you think you’ve succeeded in growing so fast?

A: It sounds cliché, but it all comes down to authenticity. Everything I have done has been to fill a need. I offer services, but my aim isn’t to sell. It’s to help people, and I make that very clear through my content. On a practical note, when it comes to my copy, I type as I talk; so, there’s a personal element. I use my Instagram Stories to show up and talk about my struggles and talk about my day. People want to follow people that they can relate to.


[56:28] Q: Is it possible for a super corporate client to create a community? Is having fun a key part of it? If so, how do you convince them to lighten up? Is it important for a person to represent the community rather than a faceless brand?

A: People no longer want faceless brands. We want to be with people that we relate to. At the very least, you can use user-generated content to become the “face” of your brand, just like Gymshark or Lounge. Your tone of voice in your posts makes a big difference, as well.