The Importance of Community
Community-building is about building trust and showing authenticity to your audience. Having 3,000 Twitter followers doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a community. It means you have 3,000 followers. A community is something that is active, made up of engaged brand evangelists and is an influential part of a businesses online presence. An active community of a few hundred people can have a far more positive impact than a few thousand uninterested clicks.
It’s all about the community, not the product or company. Some companies may be lucky enough to have a strong enough following that there is already an active community online talking about their brand. In these situations it is important not to get scared by not being in control and try to take over. If a community senses a corporate takeover you may find a rebellion on your hands. Embrace the community and welcome them, show them that you value their support and comments.
It’s important to not forget that you’re a participant too. Listen to what your community has to say and engage in conversation. We’ll be writing a blog post about this in the future that will go into detail on best practices.
You want to be able to give your community content that it will find engaging and encourage them to share and discuss.
Content will help you forge that connection with your community.
Content that Every Business and Community need to Create:
John Jantsch mentions on SocialMediaExaminar.com the following content types -
- Content that builds trust
- Content that educates
- User-generated content
- Other people’s content
- Content that converts
It’s Not What it Used to Be
As recent as five years ago community building was a different beast. Consumers have cottoned on to freebies and giveaways as a means of gaining their attention. These freebies were seen as enough by marketers to allow them to flood your email inbox with updates and served to very quickly disengage an audience from a brand. Numbers were often seen as good enough when it came to a community, the community manager of today realises that engagement trounces size every time.
People want value from communities that they choose to spend time being a part of. It is important to provide this value through meaningful content which can be delivered through your social media channels. This means that you’re going to have to provide similar, if not better, content to your community for free than what they would otherwise pay for. For many this feels counterintuitive but can be a very effective way to build a trustworthy audience and allows to you claim mindshare in an interested following.
How to Promote Your Community
- SEO – Make your site accessible, use Google AdWords to find usable keywords, and promote your content on social networks.
- Use Similar Blogs – Become active on blogs that are similar to yours. You can find your target audience’s networks by using Follower Wonk and FindPeopleonPlus. .
- Guest Blog – We’ve mentioned it in previous posts but there’s no harm in reminding you about it again. Ask bloggers in a similar niche to yours (and of a similar standing in terms of audience size) if you could write a post on their blog. Not only will it give them a chance to take the day off from writing a blog post but you’ll have access to a whole new audience.
Cultivating a community around your brand/company/product takes a lot of time and effort to be done correctly. Here are some tips to make it a bit easier for you.
- Get to Know Your Users – Ask your community questions, encourage their involvement.
- Leverage Any and All Connections at Your Disposal – To get your community off to a good start don’t forget to let your existing connections know about it.
- Expect It to Take Time – Good things come to those who wait. A community won’t spring up overnight. To cultivate
- Connect and Help Your Community Members
- Track Everything – Regularly examine your analytics. See which content works and which doesn’t. You can tailor your content over time to what your community really wants.
To summarise, building your community is all about actively listening, engaging in conversation, being open and honest, providing content that your community finds value in and last but not least… time and hard work.
Thanks for reading and stay in touch with us!