A community provides a platform where you can interact with like-minded individuals and share information regarding your similar interests. Online communities for businesses are becoming increasingly popular with every entrepreneur trying to build a vibrant online community for their business.
Studies have shown that businesses with active communities primarily focused on their products and customers enjoy higher customer loyalty and brand credibility. But how do you start and maintain a community for your business? Here, we have gathered eight tips that will show you how to build an online community for your business. These steps are relatively simple but implementing them will require nurturing and determination from your end.
Here are our top 8 tips for building a robust online community
- Create value
Create value that focuses on your customers and their experiences. This is what will attract people to your business and your community. Foundational and community-building are two content types will help build your online community.
Foundational-building is generally all the static stuff on your websites such as your “About Me” page and “Services” page. Most Foundational pages focus on self-advertising or promotion. If you want to be successful, then your foundational content should circle around the needs of your customers. Listen to them, observe their needs, and finally figure out how your services/ products address these issues. Create a foundational content that is geared towards solving your client’s problems as opposed to merely talking about yourself.
Community-building content should indirectly promote your brand and establish trust. For this to happen, you need to prove that you are an expert in that niche. Focus on customer needs -do not just assume, ask them directly. You can even do email surveys or make phone calls or even create an event where you can meet one-on-one and discuss issues that they have. Take this feedback and apply it to your content. Use Pre-outreach as well. Before creating your content, sit down and think about whom you can talk to, interview, survey. This way, you’ll get valuable feedback that will help make your site more insightful, purposeful, and successful.
- Keep your content consistent
First off, you need to post quality content that is informative, entertaining, and inspirational. The material should not revolve around you – it should primarily focus on the community. Before creating content, think about your goals. What is the objective/ goals for your entire business? What makes your company unique?
To stand out, entrepreneur first needs to find that differentiating factor that will put you above your competitors. Determine what your unique selling proposition is. It’s best to do an analysis of your competitors and come up with a proposal that makes your business special. Find a way to stick out – in a positive way.
Perhaps your competitors do not have consistency with their content – why not try doing videos, or creating short posts, or even do a ‘tip-of-the-day’ forum. It’s great when your audience knows what to expect from you for that week. For example, ‘This week we shall focus primarily on XYZ.” Your audience will automatically know what they are tuning in for and are more inclined logon for daily updates.
- Allow for sharing
How can you make your content shareable? A few things that can make a post, video, etc. sharable are by coming up with a catchy headline. Exciting titles tend to receive higher clicks. Another significant component is adding the right plugins to enable one-click sharing. Your audience is more inclined to share content when sharing option is easy to find, and just as easy to use. Make your site shareable through popular sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
- Be Active on social media
To build a successful community, you’ll need to actively participate in Social Media sites in your niche. Start by sharing content of others and sharing yours as well. Be engaging and interact with relevant people. Ask questions and answer any questions from your community – this will help build one-on-one connections in your niche.
- Show you care
When someone leaves a comment, you should respond or at least show thanks by ‘liking’ that comment. It’s easy to respond to comments when you are starting up but as more people join on, it might deem challenging to reply to every comment. However, it only takes a few seconds per post to acknowledge their opinion and show that you care.
- Give credit where credit is due
A healthy community requires everyone to join in. Instead of only focusing on your business, why not focus on other people in your niche as well? Show a little love, and it’ll come to you. Perhaps you read an interesting post that was informative, why not tag that person and give them thumbs-up for a job well done?
If you do mention someone in a post, do not forget to tell them about it. E.G, “I recently happened upon NAME OF PERSON’s website where he/she was talking about XYZ.” It’s polite to send them a quick “Thanks” note with a link to your blog post attached. This way, you’ve helped promote them, and you’ve decently informed them about it. Do not ask for any favors in return; simply tell them that you appreciated their content.
- Incorporate others works into your community
Why not allow for guest posting in your community? People love being involved so why not create a platform where others can post relevant articles or videos? This is a great way to bring new people in and strengthen your community.
- Learn Learn Learn
You can’t stand out and be successful without providing the best customer experience. You’ve got to keep learning and growing as the trends change. Think of ways to bring people together in your niche. Perhaps have a Live Event where you can be a speaker where you can educate and inspire your audience. This will enable physical interaction with your community – you can also welcome guest speakers from your niche. Speak for free and who knows; you might get a guest speaker request and become a paid speaker.