Why Building a Community is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Business
Build Strong Relationships
Save Money on Lead Generation
It costs a great deal to carry out marketing and ad campaigns to attract new leads. It’s much easier and more cost-effective to retain old customer than to get new ones.
By creating a community, you’ll give your customers a place to interact and get their needs met. When their needs are fulfilled, they’ll buy from you again and again. This is a great low-cost method for retaining customers and you’ll see results in your sales.
Through your community, you’ll share high-value content with your audience. This is essential for keeping them engaged. Studies also show that content is a major factor in purchase decisions, so this will also result in more sales.
The content you share will educate, inform, and entertain, giving you the chance to show your expertise in your niche. Through your community, you can create branded content that’s perfectly suited to your members’ needs.
Through your community, people will interact with you personally, which is a benefit for any business. People crave this type of personal interaction, especially in an increasingly anonymous digital world.
You’ll be there with your community each day, facilitating conversations, replying to comments, asking questions, and being an all-around helpful resource. It’ll put a human face on your business.
Feedback from Customers
Since you’re interacting with your members personally, you’ll get all kinds of useful feedback from them about their tastes and needs. You can then offer the exact products, services, and content that they’re looking for. These valuable insights about your audience will help make all your marketing activities more effective.
Your group will naturally get you referrals.
People will love the experience of interacting with your business directly and tell others about it. You can also incentivize referrals and identify your main advocates so that this happens more often. You’ll gain more exposure and multiply your marketing efforts tenfold.
A community naturally grows when people love a business and its products. Create a community around your business and the products or services it offers, and you’ll boost your visibility and reputation.
Why People Enjoy Being Part of a Business Community
If you’re trying to grow awareness of your business and increase interaction with your customers, the best thing you can do is create a community for them. Through this community, you can get to know each other better and offer the content and deals they’re looking for. Here’s why your audience wants its own community.
Everybody Wants to Belong
We all want to be part of something more than ourselves. This is simply human nature. It’s even more true today, where we interact with our favorite businesses through a computer or smartphone screen.
In the past, one-way communication where a business simply broadcasted its message to people was the norm. Today, people expect to be able to reach out and interact with the companies they buy from. They also want to indulge in their hobbies and interests together, and your community gives them a place to do this.
People flock to online communities because of the unique value they offer. This could be value in the form of promotions and deals, but it’s more likely that what they want to do is learn.
An online community’s members can learn directly from the business and its experts, as well as learn from each other. You can offer exclusive content and unique learning activities like coaching sessions and seminars.
People search for information to help them solve their problems. You can offer your own unique solutions, which builds a deeper relationship with your community members. You’ll enrich their lives and boost your business awareness and sales at the same time.
People love business communities because they offer something you can’t get anywhere else. By interacting with their favorite businesses online, they can get special deals, discounts, free trials, and other goodies. People love the feeling that they’re getting something exclusive that others can’t have.
You can make membership valuable by offering perks like this, and it doesn’t have to cost you much at all. What you spend on producing content or offering discounts you’ll more than make up for in increased sales.
Wherever we indulge in our hobbies and interests online, we make valuable connections with others who share our values and challenges. One reason your customers will want to be part of your community is that they get to talk to each other. Members can help each other with their problems and offer referrals and other benefits. You can multiply this benefit by offering offline networking events in local areas as well.
How do you build a community like this? Businesses don’t do it on the strength of their products or services alone. There are some essential steps you need to take, and first you need to engage with your business community.
The 5 Types of Content to Engage Your Business Community
One of the main reasons people join a business community is the exclusive high-value content they receive. This is what keeps people tuning in and staying engaged. You need a steady stream of material to run a successful online group, and there are five key types of content you can use.
Helpful Informational Content
The key is to give people high-value content that they can use in their everyday lives. This is what gets people to sign up and keep participating in a group. This content can come in any format, but it needs to help your audience solve specific problems they face. Your content answers their questions and discusses their issues.
The best content is actionable and can be put to use immediately.
Visuals and Videos
The most engaging type of content is visual. This includes images, photos, infographics, quotes, and videos. Visuals are great because they strike an emotional chord and people can absorb them easily. Visual material does particularly well on social media and is the most likely to go viral.
Not all visual content has to be educational. You can share an inspirational quote or a funny video. Mix it in with your purely informational content and you’ll engage your community.
The whole purpose of your community is to engage and interact with your members. Share content that gives them something to do. Examples of this include:
Questions to answer. People love sharing their opinions and this can get a lively discussion going.
Run surveys. Most social media platforms have a feature that allows you to create and run surveys. These are great for engagement, but also for getting feedback.
Offer a challenge. Give your members a task to complete or a piece of content to create. Offer an incentive or reward.
What you offer to your audience should be exclusive material they can only get in your group. You may offer content on your other marketing channels, like your website or blog. But the material custom-made for your community should only be available there.
This gives people a good reason to stay in your community. It also gives you further opportunities to show your expertise and help people with their problems. People love to feel that they’re getting something special, so it serves as a built-in reward.
Highly Personalized Content
You can offer your group special educational opportunities that are created just for them, like one-on-one coaching, seminars, and training sessions. Create a feedback loop where you learn about your members through the community and then offer custom-tailored learning opportunities perfectly suited for them.
How to Make Your Business Community Valuable for Customers
Creating a community around your business is a great way to increase awareness and boost sales. But why would anyone want to be part of your community in the first place?
We love to interact with our favorite businesses. Some people will want to join naturally because they enjoy your content and services. But in order to see real enrollment and engagement, you need to offer unique value to your audience. There are several ways to do this.
Offer exclusive content that’s only available to your community members. This helpful content solves problems, informs, educates, answers questions, and entertains. What’s important is that it’s different from what you offer the public. It’s custom-tailored specifically to the members of your group.
You may have a blog or website where you offer informational content already. But go beyond this and offer something unique only to members of your group. This gives it special value and a degree of exclusivity. In addition to articles, videos, or visual content, you can offer further educational opportunities like training, seminars, and coaching.
The members of your group are looking for solutions to their problems. Your community provides them with a pool of experts who they can come to with questions and issues they face. This access is only available through your business community.
As the community leader and moderator, you’re there to help your audience. You can also enlist other experts in your niche to join and offer their services as well. In addition, your community members will have access to each other as resources.
Discounts and Special Offers
The purpose of your community isn’t to sell directly. It’s to offer a place where people can come together around their interests and get the help they’re looking for. But you can also offer discounts, deals, and special offers to increase the value of membership.
Examples of deals you can offer include:
- Discounts on your products and services
- An incentive program that rewards the most active members or members who refer others with discounts or bonuses
- Free membership or a free trial membership
- Sneak previews of new products or paid content
- Special offers from business partners or related businesses
Think about which extras would offer high value to your community members.
More Networking Opportunities
When you get people together who have shared values and similarities, you create a unique networking opportunity. Members will start talking and find ways they can help each other, building long-lasting professional and personal relationships.
The Personal Touch
Most importantly, a community gives your business the personal touch. This is what everyone’s looking for today. No one wants to buy from a faceless corporation. You give your people somewhere to belong and a personal connection with your company.
Don’t Be an Outsider in Your Own Community
Creating an online community around your business offers a wealth of benefits. It’s great for customer retention and helps to build strong relationships with your biggest advocates. You’ll also gain great exposure, which means even more members signing up.
But an online community isn’t something you set up and forget about. It requires commitment. You have to be there giving it the personal touch. This is what gives it unique value for your members.
Welcome to the Club
Welcome each new member when they join. You should get to know everyone personally and individually, and it starts the moment they sign up. Start building that relationship right away.
You can start off by introducing yourself and explaining who you are. Then, ask them why they joined the group and what they’d like to get out of it. Let them know that you’re available if they should need anything.
You’re not here to promote. Focus on helping the members of your community. Look for ways you can solve their problems, answer their questions, and help them resolve whatever issues they’re facing. Keep an eye on activity and try to spot people who need advice. It might be someone asking a question directly to the group or it could be more indirect. Don’t be afraid to jump in and offer whatever help you can.
Although your aim is to establish your expertise and win people’s trust, help people unselfishly with the aim of purely providing value.
You need people to be engaged in your community. One of the things you can do to facilitate this is to start conversations. This is especially true when your group is just getting started and may be quiet.
Here are some ideas for getting conversations started:
- Pose a question and ask for opinions
- Share a helpful tip and ask if people have other ideas as well
- Highlight the achievement of a group member and congratulate them
- Take a common question you’re often asked and answer it. Then, solicit other ideas and feedback
- Share a news story, video, or other piece of content and ask what people think.
Monitor and Moderate
Your group has to have rules in order to keep things focused and keep out trolls, and you’ll be the enforcer for these rules. Hopefully you won’t have any major problems, but part of your job is to act as moderator or find someone who will.
Give People an Even Better Experience
Over time, you may need to make improvements to your community. For example, an online forum might need new categories added to accommodate comment threads. You’ll also need fresh content. The key is to listen to your community and find out what they need from you so that you can give it to them. You have to be present in the group in order to do this effectively.
Before you start a community, make sure that you can be there regularly. It involves some time and effort, but the benefits of having a vibrant brand community are well worth it.
I think the biggest problem most of us have is wanting to make it perfect before we even start.
I know, there’s a lot to think about, but the worst thing you could do is Nothing!
Start somewhere. Start small. Just start!
How are you building your community?