It`s not rocket science and it doesn`t guarantee your succes, but if you neglect it you will be missing out on the most powerfull tools an entrepreneur can have at his disposal. Most importantly the costs are low to none. I`m talking about building an online community for your business.
Why would you need one?
- more customers are buying online than offline;
- an online community is a powerful networking tool;
- it is the easiest way to market and get feedback on your product/service.
So how do you go about it? Here are 5 basic steps to help you get started!
Finding your niche
In order to build an online community you need to ask yourself who are your pottential customers? Who are the people who might be interested in what I have to offer? How old are they? Where do they live? What social networks do they use? What are their interests?
So basically you are creating a so called buyer persona. Once you have that figured out you can start to create relevant content for that specific group of people.
Whether you own a blog, manage a Facebook page or an Instagram profile, the key is consistency. Once people find out about you, they need reasons to come back. You can`t create one post now and another after 2 weeks. Once users take a liking to your content they will come back for more and get dissapointed if they find nothing.
I try to post every week on my blog and every day on my social media accounts. That way I can promote my own articles and share other useful content.
Once the community starts building up it`s important to connect with your users. Say hi to new members. Reply to comments, or at least give a like. Try to answer questions and even criticism. And remember to ask for their opinion from time to time. That way you will encourage open discussions.
Make it easy to share
If the user has to copy/paste your web adress into their Facebook or Twitter accounts in order to share your article, you are doing it wrong. Your website needs social media buttons on almost every page. You gotta have at least the Facebook, Twitter and G+ buttons.
Besides that you can add your Facebook Page Like and Instgram Profile Follow widgets on most pages. You wouldn`t want your users having to leave the website in order to search for you on social media, now would you?
Should you invest?
Yes, you should!. Not much. You won`t need a dedicated person to manage your online community from the beginning. But you will need to make yourself visible. The cheapest way to do that is through Facebook Ads. Another way would be through AdWords, but that`s more expensive.
So there you go. These are 5 basic steps for building an online community. Good luck!