What does online community mean? To begin with, a community is a group of people who have the same interest and goals. Thus, an online community in simple terms implies a group of people utilizing the internet to connect and share information. One of the most powerful ways to bring people to interact with your business is by creating an online community. The question that pops up is “How do I build an online community?” The first and foremost thing to get note of is the huge distinction between an audience and a community. The audience is different from a community in that they may watch you or even go through your stuff but they won’t interact due lack of an actual connection. Unlike an audience, a member of your community will be more likely to engage with you through commenting, liking and sharing your content.
When creating an online community there is no hasty fix as it takes time, work and some patience. To build your online community, you have to start by knowing your potential community members. These can be identified by observing other similar communities. You can create links with communities like Facebook by liking a page of a competitor or someone else with similar interests to yours. When you comment and share their content, that automatically makes you a member of that particular community and in turn you might be recognized by other members and start engaging with you. For a successful community, you need to create and offer content that is engaging and fascinating. Instead of thinking it as a way of obtaining more customers, think of it as a relationship builder, this might happen in time if everything is done in the right way. Be keen on the content that you post online, if what you do is to only market your products to the people, then they will soon disengage and you might end up losing them. The content should be kept balanced most of the time by being informative, knowledgeable and entertaining.
The aim should be to have a healthy mix of posting:
- Post 50% of the news and information that your target audience has interest in.
- Around 30% of what you post should be about personality and fun stuff, such as questions and comments that urges your audience to respond.
- Post 20% business for marketing of your brand, business, products and services.
Make them revisit by posting fresh and diverse content:
- Research indicates that many people respond much better to posts that contain eye-catching images and videos, so it’s good to keep them visual.
- Have varying length of your blogs as some may require a short but interesting words while other blogs might need more depth of details thus are kept longer.
- Employ guest bloggers as they may introduce a unique style of writing and views.
Take note of any interaction or engagement that your followers make with you. When they comment on a facebook post, you should respond to it or if they also retweet your tweet, show them some appreciation. This indicates that you value their input and feedback and it shows a good character. Whether someone is saying something that is negative or positive, don’t shy away from it or ignore it, but also respond to it. This is an opportunity to engage with your clients and turn the situation around to your advantage. Display your customer service skills for the better. Creating your own community is mutual and thus, requires you to interact with your followers through liking, leaving comments and sharing their content too. Building your online community can provide your business with new strength. Social media provides you with a platform to interact with your customers in a unique way like never before. Different businesses and companies should embrace this chance by applying the two way interaction to create products and services in order to meet the exact demands of their customers.