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The Difference Between Building an Audience and Building a Community

April 8, 2023

In this episode of Waking Up With Melissa Ruiz, I explain why building a community is not the same as building an audience, and how to unlock your business’s fullest potential by doing both!


[03:06] The secret to building community
[06:15] Building your audience
[16:22] Ensuring your business thrives in the long-term
[20:33] The power of collaboration
[27:06] Mentorship as relationship-building

What is a community?

A community is a place where people feel deeply seen. It’s a place where relationships are fostered. It’s a place where you hold space, through your offers, for other like-minded beings.

I launched the Unleash and Unveil brands because I didn’t see myself represented in the space. I desired to be around other mystical humans with whom I could relate and connect! When we’re fully present in our energetic bodies, we foster deep, beautiful connections with the people around us, who have gathered to be with each other.

Being seen, witnessed, and heard—this is the foundation of existence! It’s not about what you do or what you call yourself. It’s how you do it. It’s how you treat people. It’s how you show up for the people who value what you have to offer. It’s how you find your best friends!

How to build an audience

How will you make best friends if you never put yourself out there? That’s where building an audience comes in. It’s the first step that anyone building a brand must take.

Now, you can build a community and an audience at the same time, but it’s a far better use of your time to do one at a time.

You build an audience when a piece of content goes viral (which doesn’t guarantee that they’ll come back for more). It’s about cross-pollinating your audience (without guaranteeing loyalty). It’s about reaching.

Think about TikTok and Instagram. TikTok is an outreach platform. You’re not on TikTok to reach your ideal client, but to reach everybody. Instagram is a nurturing platform, and it’s why more people make tons of sales on Instagram.

Audience-building comes down to creating loyal fans. These people are not necessarily ready to work with you. They’re looking at something on the internet and clicking “yes”. They’re not looking for a coach (yet). They’re just clicking “like”.

Building a community is important for your long-term success. Building an audience is the first step to doing that. Remember the principle that “if you’re not growing, you’re dying”. Bringing in more money doesn’t necessarily equal success. More income doesn’t mean growth.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tell you how many people are opening your emails, among other things. It’s about measuring movement through your client funnel. It’s awareness rather than feedback.

Community-building has nothing to do with any of this. Rather, it all concerns something unquantifiable: how they’re feeling.

Building an audience and building a community are equally important!

Audience-building is about visibility. Community-building is about going deep.

Building an audience is about inspiring others. Building a community is about making others feel seen by you.

One is not more important than the other. In fact, both go hand-in-hand, and you can’t build community without first growing an audience.

But, when you build a community, you don’t have to worry about making sales because you ensure retention wherever you provide valuable content.

A lot of this comes down to being high-touch in everything you do. When you personally go in and ask your followers what they think about your offers, you can nip potential problems in the bud.

Because you’ve proven yourself to be a reliable authority in your space, people will stick around for much longer.

Community care doesn’t mean you have the perfect feed. But when you speak, people listen.

Collaboration is key

Building your audience is about numbers, and there are few better ways to get eyeballs on your brand than through collaborations.

Not to mention, collaboration is always a win-win scenario for you, the person you collaborate with, and the audience you’ll be sharing!

Mentorship is relationship-building

You are in a relationship with every single person in your life. The same goes for your mentors.

I know that many people have a love-hate relationship with the idea of mentorship, and to them, I ask, why? Why not learn from those who came before? From elders who’ve been there, done that?

There are teachers all around us, and they’re ready to shape us. The first step is to ask, to gain permission to build that relationship.

Just as collaboration can multiply your efforts exponentially, complementing what you know with what a mentor can teach can supercharge your growth to heights unimaginable!

If you enjoyed this episode and experienced a shift or got more clarity, I would love for you to screenshot this episode, share it on Instagram, and tag @iammelissaruiz – let’s start a conversation!

Or rate and review the podcast, so that it can reach more people like you and make a difference in their lives. Reviews are every podcaster’s love language.

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An entrepreneur by heart, Melissa helps other women start and scale their business, while keeping their spirits aligned and embracing new challenges.

Melissa Ruiz

Hi humans I'm Melissa