Posted on April 15, 2021 at 10:49 PM
Tags: Blogging, Branding, Business Growth, Communication
Online communities are bigger than ever thanks to COVID-19. In the past year, people have turned to the internet to socialize and make connections. Businesses are realizing the importance of online communities and how they can help them build their brand awareness. Online communities are the perfect way to solidify your customer base and create long-term loyalty.
People First, Customers Second
Focusing on an online community seems counterintuitive for businesses, but it’s a strategy that works. When you’re building online engagement, you’re seeing people as people, not just as target audiences or potential customers. From creating content for your blog or driving debates on social media, an online community is always people-focused. An online community is an authentic way to engage with people interested in your brand and show them your value. But, don’t worry. When you put people first, sales will follow.
Keep It Consistent
There’s plenty of technology to help you build an online community, but you must keep your brand consistent. Whether you’re using email or social media, your strategy should be the same. Your online community is a way for people to get to know your brand and all that you represent. So, how you interact with people, your voice, and your image need to be the same across all platforms.
For each platform, assign a stakeholder to oversee that subgroup of your online community. Choose someone who embodies your brand and is already active in that subgroup. Train your chosen stakeholders. Be ready to listen to their concerns. They’ll be your liaisons. If you invest in them, they’ll invest in your community.
Learn from Your Analytics
To grow your online community, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the community. Pay attention to what topics get the most engagement and which don’t. Use analytics to determine the best time of day to post. And, reward your most involved members so they stay active. With the right analytics, you can steer your online community and incorporate your findings into your marketing strategy.
Create Value for Your Members
Create consistent content that your members are interested in and care about reading. A how-to blog post or an article specific to your field is a sure way to garner interest in your community and attract new members. Offering a glimpse into the inner workings of your company or highlighting some of your employees makes members feel like they have an insider’s view of your business. You can also offer special content exclusively for your members. Create your own content but also follow up with your members’ conversations. Members want to have their voices heard, too.
Pay attention to the hot topics and engage directly with members. Join in the conversation, so that even if you can’t outright agree with them, members feel heard and valued. Stay active in the group and respond to comments. Your community stakeholders should monitor the groups, and engage directly with the members. Online communities are a way for your brand to interact directly with the public. If done right, it’s a great way to grow your brand and generate leads.