As a business owner, can you think of anything more wonderful than a thriving online community of fans who love your business and can’t wait to make purchases? Apple, Nike, and Volkswagen are all examples of companies that have built enthusiastic communities.
The Internet is now the main thoroughfare through which like-minded people connect with each other and discuss what they love. From photo-sharing ops to diet tips, online communities drive a flourishing world of sharing, connecting, and generally improving life for all of us.
But what many entrepreneurs don’t realize is that what works for Apple and Nike can work for anyone. Small business owners need to foster thriving communities around their own businesses as well.
Communities Have Influencers
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the internet, it’s that it can be an incredible agent for bringing people who have similar interests together.
The internet provides a space for people to exchange ideas, information, and important news about their common values and so form loyalties with each other. Similarly to ancient tribes, leaders emerge from these communities, and those leaders shape all kinds of activities.
One of the roles of these influencers is to identify great products and services. Why shouldn’t you yourself be one of the people taking on such a role? Don’t just join a community: lead one.
Communities Develop Brand Loyalties
It’s obvious that people find one another on the internet through shared interests. But what happens when the products or services you’re selling speak to those shared interests? What if you become an influencer and tap into those communities or, better yet, create them around your own brand?
[clickToTweet tweet=”You would get a goldmine of potential customers at your fingertips.” quote=”You would get a goldmine of potential customers at your fingertips.”]
There’s no reason on earth why you can’t aspire to this level of engagement for your own business, whether you’re selling hardware, hard candy, or hard-boiled eggs. All you need is a thriving online community with you at the center of it.
Start Growing Your Online Community Now
If you haven’t already, it’s time to begin building an online community around your business. Below you’ll find four guidelines to keep in mind as you seek to attract and maintain a community that can propel your business to greatness.
1. Have a Plan
As you might already know or suspect, building an online community takes a lot of hard work over an extended period of time. You don’t want to waste your efforts by channeling your energy in the wrong direction.
That’s why having a plan is a crucial first step. You need to focus your efforts where they count, rather than spreading them throughout the internet without a clear target.
For example, choose just a few social media platforms to engage on rather than trying to post on all of them. Making every minute count will leave you time for working on the heart of your business: your product.
Conclusion: Choose the right social media platform, and then plan your content carefully.
2. Remember That There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way
Businesses have learned to tap into online communities, but if you don’t do so correctly, you’ll end up with lots of time and effort wasted. You need to create meaningful relationships with your customers and followers, or all your hard work will be for naught.
Conclusion: It’s quality rather than quantity that builds connections.
3. Create Meaningful Relationships Through Engaging Content
Social media is usually a major component of any online community. Some businesses spend lots of time posting but very little time actually connecting with people. Strong, meaningful relationships with your followers are the building blocks that form a thriving online community.
Your goal is for members of your community to keep coming back for more and eventually to become loyal customers and even advocates of your brand. So why would you post any content on your social media that doesn’t further their interests or engage them in some manner?
Conclusion: Don’t post junk, fillers, or anything you wouldn’t find fascinating or extremely useful yourself.
4. Encourage the Right Kind of Followers
Building a base of followers is meaningless unless they are people who are want to know about your business. Therefore, purchasing followers is generally a terrible idea. Follow and engage people who share your interests, and concentrate on building connections based on meaningful exchanges. You’re more likely to get better results that way.
Conclusion: Again, quality over quantity, only this time we’re talking about your followers.
Many of your potential customers spend a lot of time online, especially on social media, so it’s important to develop your online community the right way. Following these guidelines can lead to a thriving community that genuinely cares about and enthusiastically promotes your business.