Irecently attended two networking events led by amazing female entrepreneurs—women who have launched startups off the back of a great idea and are now experiencing exciting growth and recognition for their hard work. Their tips for building a successful startup and strong, loyal communities for their brand were too good not to share. Here are 10 of my favourites.

1. The real power of social is reaching people online, to make an impact offline.

Kate Kendall, Founder of The Fetch, dropped this insight during her presentation at Social Media Women and everyone nodded casually while mentally face-palming themselves. Of course! It’s all about connecting with humans. What impact does your brand have on people’s lives? Social media is about communicating that to your target audience.

2. Agility in planning is key in social communities. Move quickly, experiment and don’t be afraid if some things fail.

I’m guilty of this one. Trying to create the perfect blog post or tweet. It’s not important. Just need to get it out there and tweak it based on your audience’s response. If it’s not working? No big deal. Online communities move fast and so should you.

3. Make sure your community fulfils a need.

At the end of the day, you need to fulfil a need, rather than just push more information into the interwebs. How does your social media presence help your customers? What need are you fulfilling?

4. Social media is the medium, community is the reason!

This was another great insight from Kate Kendall. She explained that in a magazine, editors don’t sit there worrying about the paper or the font. They concern themselves with what their readers want. Because if there’s no readers, there’s no magazine. It’s the same in social—facebook and twitter are just the medium, not the reason.

5. Nurture relationships.

Kate explained that rewarding and respecting your power users was an important element in building your community. These may not be the most famous users, but those who are most loyal.

6. Join a Mastermind group.

Lorraine Murphy, Founder of The Remarkables Group, spoke recently at The League of Extraordinary Women Sydney breakfast on her tips for building a successful startup. She recommended creating a regular meet-up of people you can bounce business ideas around with to get objective and valuable feedback on decisions you may be struggling with. Five heads are better than one!

7. Play to your strengths, outsource the rest.

We all know this one, but rarely implement it.

8. Arrange face-to-face meet-ups.

Network, get away from the computer, meet your community face to face and make a connection in real life. Not only does it remind everyone that you are a human and not a twitter account, but it builds trust and loyalty—the foundation for any good community.

9. It’s not about the numbers.

It’s not. Forget how many followers or likes you have and concentrate on how you’re interacting with the fans you already have. Quality over quantity. Organic growth is ultimately more sustainable.

10. Don’t give up.

Kate and Lorraine both understand that building a community—whether it’s through social or simply brand awareness—takes time. It’s a long, hard slog. So don’t give up.

Did you find these as inspiring and helpful as I did? Do you have any more tips to share?

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