Until a few years ago we rarely used the word community in our profession. It only came up recently—and quickly became prominent, as communities are an essential part of social media.

Communities are formed by clusters of like-minded people who share a purpose bigger than themselves. It’s exactly what makes a direct sales organization thrive. While products, compensation plans, and systems are instrumental, they are not what ultimately makes an opportunity flourish. What does make it flourish is the true feeling of belonging it provides, empowering individuals to change things for the better, where alone they would not have much impact.

Reflecting on my 25 years in the profession, I believe it has always been about community, although it was rarely mentioned. People want to follow someone who serves as their mentor and role model. Provided they are treated right, they are willing to step out of their comfort zone and make things happen. It’s always been that way.

However, there is a difference between the old days and today. Back then it was easy to say one thing on stage and do something completely different off stage. Today people realize quickly if someone doesn’t walk their talk. Being connected through social media, we are constantly exposed and therefore better live up to our word.

Leadership and responsibility take on a whole new meaning as transparency and visibility provide lots of room for interpretation of who you are. Frankly, you are on a test-stand 24/7.

So how do you as a leader build your community? What does that blueprint look like?

  1. As before, provide a powerful system consisting of simple daily activities, a solid event structure, and spot-on education. What has changed is the weight you give each of these. While our systems used to be training-heavy and event-light, this has now been turned upside down. Virtual events need to happen non-stop to keep everyone engaged, while education has become mostly automated.
  2. Build a movement around a philosophy rather than creating a cult around your person. Make sure your inner circle has full ownership in strategy and execution, and buys into that core philosophy, as those leaders will drive your movement and be the initial group of that massive community you’re building.
  3. Help people to accelerate their success by showing them the difference between building their own brand and driving the movement. This implies a deep understanding of how to leverage social media, as well as strong leadership skills based on total clarity of the path to follow.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen quite some paradigm shifts. One of them is that people are looking for an experience. We want to be entertained more than we want to be educated. We are looking for communities where we feel validated and empowered to move forward with our dreams.

Read on to see how network marketing leaders around the world are providing community, helping people change their lives for the better and make a greater impact.

DR. SVEN GOEBEL is one of Europe’s foremost network marketing leaders. Stay tuned for his upcoming book, offering a fresh blueprint for how to build a thriving network marketing organization.