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5 Simple Strategies For Creating A “Stickier” Community That People Won’t Want To EVER Leave

Tech is great, right? You don’t have to convince us — but isn’t it SO much better when you know a real person is on the other end? Someone who actually cares and wants to see you make progress, thrive, and get involved in a community. Whether your business is just starting or you have a member base of thousands… A “stickier” community means that your audience members will feel so supported that they’ll hang around for reasons beyond your product or service.

Because a solid community isn’t something you can buy, it takes time to build.

So if you’re wondering how to start or grow your community, you’re in luck!

Fast-track your success with smokin’ hot tips from community expert Shana Bresnahan. She’s taking her years of experience and knowledge and sharing five actionable strategies you can use to score a quick win.

Meet Shana

Shana has worked in the community space since 2008 and has been a full-time entrepreneur for ten years! Now, she helps course and membership owners create thriving communities and empowered community teams for online businesses. 

There’s literally no stopping this community queen, and we’re beyond thrilled that she’s sharing her wisdom with the Searchie community

So let’s dig in! 

Watch the replay, or read our interview with Shana below to find out her five simple strategies…

Meaghan at Searchie:

Well, Shana, as a fellow community queen, I have some questions for you to kick things off. Tell everyone a little bit about yourself and who you currently serve?


I’ve been in the community space since 2008. I loved it and jumped in it right out of the gate. I first started speaking about virtual reality worlds, back then it was called Second Life, before virtual reality was the thing. It was kind of the dorky thing. 

I was all in on how to create community in these virtual spaces. And it was only a few years later that I became a full-time entrepreneur. Now I help course and membership owners create thriving communities and empowered community teams that are going to help increase the reach, retention, and revenue of their programs.

Meaghan at Searchie:

That’s amazing! I know that managing a community and building up one of your own is not for the faint-hearted. So, could you just tell us a little bit about what gets you excited? What gets you out of bed in the morning, and what drives your passion for what you do?


I love that question. I believe community is the solution to all the world’s problems. We were created to live in a community. And although we are all in the online space, to me, this all comes from principles that are true in our in-person, in-real-life world. And now more than ever, I think the world needs community. They need people that know them and that accept them for who they are. 

And I think when we find a community of people that we can be known by — that we can be on a common mission with — we show up more fully in the world, right? Loneliness really does something to us. It does something to our emotions. It does something to our identity and our beliefs about ourselves. So I’m really, really passionate. 

In fact, I used to do a wive’s nights at my house and have multi-generations of wives who were sharing stories and connecting with each other and many other things that because the community piece for me is at the core. 

My husband will tell you that I talk all the time about communal living and that I would totally be living in a commune if it weren’t for him and my children who are not for it. But I just really truly believe in the power of community and think that we as community creators have a responsibility to create that space for people and to help unite people and bring people together in the world. So I get really excited about it.

And then it gets to just live out in the business space as I use it to help business owners really maximize their profit and multiply their impact through the power of community.

5 Simple Strategies For Creating A “Stickier” Community That People Won’t Want To EVER Leave

So, you might be thinking… “I want to dive into Shana’s tips… but I don’t have a Facebook group. Are these strategies really going to be for me?” 

Hold up — we’re gonna stop you right there. 

As Shana says, “community is not a Facebook group.”

That means you can apply her tips whether or not you have a Facebook group, Circle community, a Mighty Network, or none of that at all.

Seriously. We can virtually guarantee there’s something for everyone — no matter what stage you’re in on your community journey.  

Ready? Let’s go! 

Strategy 1: Have a clearly defined purpose

This seems so simple…

But you’d be surprised how many community creators don’t have a clearly defined purpose. People want to know why they’re in your community. So you need to give people a clear purpose and — even more — a common cause. 

This is the first pillar in Shana’s Community Cultivated framework. The reason this is so important is that a common cause trumps a common interest. We often think a common cause brings people together, but if you really want to create momentum and help people make progress, take that idea of a common interest and ask yourself how you can make it a common cause.

Shana gives a great example of this (in true Nashville-style) with her story about the difference between creating community around the common interest of loving horses versus creating community around the common cause of stopping the mistreatment of the Tennessee Walking Horse. 

Think about the difference between the two communities. 

One community just has a common interest in horses. You can definitely build a community around that common interest. There are a lot of things unique about horse people. 


OR you can build a community around the common cause of saving the Tennessee walking horse. 

Which of those communities is going to be stickier? Which one is going to be more united and help people make more progress or take more action?

Probably the second one, right? 

So make sure to clearly define your purpose and make sure you have a common cause.

Strategy 2: Craft a rock-solid onboarding 

Once you have a clearly-defined purpose, you have to make sure that you tell people what that purpose is. This leads us to Shana’s second tip: craft a rock-solid onboarding. 

This is super important because many of your members will have only just started your orientation within the first ten to fourteen days of your refund window. So it’s critical that you intentionally craft your onboarding and map out the first few days and weeks of someone’s journey as they go through your program. 

This is when they’re most likely to have doubts or maybe confusion. So think about every single touchpoint. Ask yourself what they should be doing on each day of their journey and how to create the touchpoints that move them to action. 

When you’re done crafting your onboarding experience, even if it’s just the first entry point into your Searchie Hub, you want your members saying, “I’m in the right place. This is possible for me, and I know what to do next.”

A lot of people craft their onboarding and orientation around things like having members complete their profile or join the Facebook group. But they’re not thinking about the fact that they need to be reselling their members on the program and on their belief in themselves. 

As Shana says: always be onboarding. This is important because you’ll have people who buy from you and then start many days later or they start your program and something comes up in their personal life that halts things. 

So you always want your onboarding and orientation to be available to those people to revisit. 

And you want to always be selling on the belief that what you offer is what’s right for them — it’s crucial to do this throughout your orientation and onboarding process. 

When you’re crafting your onboarding, ask yourself how you can involve your community in the process. That could mean you have video clips of people in your community saying hello, welcoming new members as they join, or quickly saying what your program has made possible for them. You can also create that welcoming feeling through connection calls. 

These are ways that not only create a rock-solid onboarding for your program but also involve your members in a way that makes it sticky and creates connection super early on. 

Strategy 3: Intentionally facilitate connections 

A lot of people come to Shana with connection problems in their communities because they’ve made the mistake of thinking that connections will happen by default.

The “if you build it, they will come” approach might have worked for Kevin Costner, but it’s not the right way to go about creating connections in your community. 


The key here is to be intentional about facilitating connections, and it’s done in a number of different ways. 

First, think about how to create safety within your community. If you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this might already make sense to you, but safety always precedes a feeling of belonging. 

If your members don’t feel safe, they’re unlikely to take action or try to make connections with people. So think about how you’re building trust with your community from the beginning and creating a safe place for people to feel like they can show up. 

As a community leader, you want to make sure that you’re clear on your boundaries. And then once you have that foundation of safety and you can build upon it, you want to be asking yourself, what spaces am I creating for connection to be facilitated by default? 

Most people think community equals a Facebook group, but community is the ecosystem that lives beyond your Facebook group. Think about spaces outside of just having a group or a discussion area. 

This could mean facilitating connection calls in a Zoom meeting format where people can interact and actually each other’s faces. Consider using breakout rooms where people can connect in a smaller group around certain topics.

Directories are also a great way for people to find others who are in their same niche or in their same town. This could lead to potential in-person meet-ups.

Speaking of in-person, you can also consider doing a live event — something we’ve all been craving, right? In addition to being a sales opportunity, live events are perfect for creating community connection — whether it’s virtual or in-person, facilitating things like peer and accountability groups, are ways that you can create additional spaces beyond a Facebook group. 

So build safety first, then think about the spaces in which connections can thrive. But now you might be wondering how to actually up-level your Facebook group. Shana’s got you covered. 

Keep reading…

Bonus: Shana’s ARC Framework

This framework will help take how you interact with your community up a notch. Let’s dive in!

A: the first step is to acknowledge. This means reading and absorbing what someone has said in their post, not just skimming to get to the question for you to answer. Take the time to slow down and actually acknowledge what this person has said.

Get specific when reflecting back on what they’ve said. Saying something like, “I see that you’re struggling with X” or  “congrats on X” helps people feel validated and acknowledged. 

R: the second step is to reference a resource from within your membership or course that will help push them towards progress. 

C: the third step is to connect people within your program together. The key to this is really knowing your community well enough to facilitate meaningful connections. This can be done by connecting someone with a member who has shared in a common struggle or can relate to a common problem. 

Facilitating these kinds of connections creates massive stickiness in your community as well as love for you because you brought them together with your knowledge and care. 

Strategy 4: Care about their progress

Many people care so much about selling their program that once people join, focus quickly shifts to selling the next program — rather than really caring about the progress that was promised to their new members. 

It’s important to reframe the delivery of your program and ask yourself how you can not only give them the “stuff” you promised but how can you actually help them get results easier and faster.

Think about how you’re tracking progress so that you can categorize people into two buckets: celebration and activation. This can help you and your team know how to interact with the individuals in your program. So what are the milestones that people would be reaching that would put them in that celebration bucket? Where we are celebrating their big wins, small wins, and everything in between?

Identify the warning signs that somebody is no longer activated inside of our program. These are the people that you need to think about and ask yourself how you get them reactivated inside of this program. Identify those people so that you can reach out to them and offer them an opportunity for support to help them get unstuck, get clarity, reduce overwhelm, or whatever it is that might be holding them back. 

Searchie makes it really easy for you to collect data that will help you push your members toward progress. You can identify every single video that somebody in your program has watched. And then reach out to people whose progress has halted. 

Strategy 5: Stop automating everything 

This last strategy might come as a surprise, especially coming from us (you know Team Searchie absolutely LOVES automation). But Shana makes a great case for why you shouldn’t automate everything

Yes, automation is amazing. It frees up energy and saves time in your business. But over-automating can lead to alienating your community. No one wants to feel like they’re only interacting with a robot. Use the time that automation saves you to do more high-value touchpoints within your community. 

Shana uses the example of being able to write handwritten notes to her community, but this type of personal touch-point can take any form. You could focus on connecting with your community through live calls or creating content that will better serve them. 

Want to learn more?

Hear more Q&A with Shana from Team Searchie and the community when you watch the replay here.

Thanks for reading! 

Stay SaaSy – And, join our next live event here.