Why your business needs an online community
In today’s business world, establishing and nurturing an online community has become essential to the success of any business. An online community not only fosters customer loyalty, but also creates a space where you can interact, learn and grow along with your followers. In this article, we’ll explore effective strategies for building and managing a strong online community that benefits your business and your customers.
Why your business needs a community
Many businesses don’t understand how important it is for them to create a community around their brand. However, the benefits are many and in many ways. The first, and most obvious, is that you will have a loyal group of customers keeping an eye on your publications, offers and launches. The benefit that may be less obvious is that you will have an audience willing to advocate and recommend you to other potential customers.
Finally, having a community provides you with first-hand data and feedback that will later help you evaluate your work or the reception of your products. If you have a loyal audience base, you can conduct surveys or polls in a simpler way and with more organic results.
1.- Define your target audience
The most obvious step to start is to define and understand your target audience. If you don’t know who you are targeting then you will hardly be able to connect with a community, so your first task is to identify your ideal audience and delimit what their interests and needs are, but above all how they interact on social networks and the Internet.
1.2. Create buyer profiles
While it is true that you will have to start with an ideal audience, it is best to delimit and categorize it as much as possible. Create ideal buyer profiles with the most complete characteristics and develop a buyer journey map for each profile, so you can better understand the specific needs of each customer group.
2.- Set objectives
Creating a community is not something that comes overnight, in fact it is a whole process that involves moving forward in several steps, so if you are starting with this process it is best to start by defining clear and measurable objectives. For example:
Increase the number of followers on Instagram in the next quarter.
Increase engagement on your publications in the next two months.
Increase the number of “likes” on your Facebook posts in one month.
Setting these types of goals will help you focus on specific actions.
3.- Choose the right platforms and strategies for choosing the right platforms
There are several platforms from which you can create and foster a community. In addition to the most obvious ones, which are social networks, you can also do it from your online store or your website.
Nowadays, creating communities can be easier thanks to social networks, which function as platforms that allow the publication of content while allowing interaction with your audience. However, it does not mean that all social networks will help you in the same way, so the first step is to choose the right platform. Doing so is very simple, as it is best to start on the platforms that you have detected as your followers’ favorites.
4.- Creating attractive content
One of the fundamentals to create a community is to offer high quality content that attracts the attention and interest of an audience that will later become potential customers.
What is this engaging content that you can publish? This question does not have a simple answer. The key rule is to publish content that will contribute and help your audience, you can use any kind of format, text, images, long or short videos.
Another rule you must remember is not to create content exclusively to sell, because this will tire your audience very quickly, focus on creating content that helps them to solve their needs, for example if you have a makeup business your posts on social networks can be makeup tutorials, explanation of new trends or a review of the makeup of celebrities. If you have a video game sales venture, then focus on reviews, recommendations, curiosities or tutorials.
4.1. Content marketing strategies.
The creation of content is so important and so varied that there is even a branch of marketing dedicated exclusively to it, we refer to content marketing. There are several strategies within this branch that you can put into practice, such as influencer marketing, which is nothing more than collaborating with important personalities in your niche. Also, you can be aware of the trends and hashtags that most interest your audience to create content with them.
4.2. Scheduling posts and responses
Another of the most important tips to have quality and attractive content is to be consistent. Being consistent in publishing will help you retain the attention of an audience that is increasingly engaged with your brand. It doesn’t matter if at first you don’t generate the interaction you want in a publication, over time it will become easier.
5.- Encourage interaction
Creating a community around a brand is not a simple task and goes far beyond just creating content. On the one hand, content helps you to attract the attention of your audience, but the most important step is still missing, which will help you turn this audience into a loyal community that will follow your brand, for this it is necessary to encourage interaction.
This is the crucial step for the formation of a loyal audience, so experts suggest that this interaction starts on your part. For this you must be aware of the comments and messages that are published in social networks, website, online store or any other way.
When you start it will be easier for you to respond and interact with each comment, this will be much appreciated because it humanizes your brand and shows that there is attention on your part.
Responding to all comments can be complicated when you already have a very large community, but ideally you should try to respond to as many as possible, or at least all those with the most interactions.
6.- Organize events and contests
Another strategy you can use to create a community is to organize events or contests, either online or in person. This will help you generate expectation among your followers, but more importantly, it will help you reach another audience, which can become your audience.
7.- Conflict Management
Another key point for the formation of a community is conflict management. Many times, between members of the same community it is common that some problems or small disputes arise. In these cases, it is always best to allow free participation, but if the tone of the comment’s changes in a direction that you do not like or starts to be offensive it is best to block and delete. This will help maintain the calm atmosphere of your community.
7.1 How to deal with criticism and negative comments
Negative reviews and comments are something that all brands will have to deal with at some point. The truth is that there is no guide to help you get out of these cases, but the best thing you can do when faced with a negative comment is to try to resolve it.
Contact the customer who left it and establish a cordial dialogue with him, try to resolve the situation that gave rise to this comment. On the other hand, if you can’t resolve the situation, don’t get too self-conscious about it.
8 Measuring success and adaptation
Our last recommendation has to do with measuring your results. Measuring how you are growing in social networks or how positive comments are increasing will help you to check if your strategy is working.
Define success metrics such as increase in followers, number of impressions of a post, number of interactions, that will help you to clearly and forcefully measure your results.
Having this data will help you improve your strategies or change them when necessary.
Having a community for your business is essential for brands that want to continue growing, as it allows direct interaction with customers, and helps to reach other potential buyers organically. Creating it is a process based on creating quality content, but it is worth it, especially for the long-term reach it can give to your brand. Do you have any other tips for creating an online community?