Fostering a community for your business in no easy task. It takes research, connections, time, and effort to connect one-on-one with customers who value your business and in turn value what you’re offering. To foster these relationships and create a community of prospective long-term customers, here are five things you can start doing today to help curate a community based on the foundations of your business.
Follow topics of passion and interest
Topics that sound strong in your business will also resonate with customers. Chances are, they are already following trends and topics that interest them, and if your business happens to be one of them, you need to get on the train.
Ways you can do this would be sign up for alerts through programs such as Mention that alert you when keywords or phrases are mentioned on the interwebs. Maybe you want to know when your business is being referenced? This would be a great tool for that. You can also use it to stay up to date and connected with those who value your interests as much as you do. It can help create content and keep you in the know on what is happening in the world around you to better help you serve your customers. All it takes is an email address and a little time pursuing things that interest you.
Build relations through forums and groups
Taking an active approach to group forum discussion makes you a presence online. Not only does it make you active online, it helps get your name out there, too. It increases reliability, SEO, and more from a business growth platform. It also makes you tangible and trustworthy, making relationships easier to foster between you and your customers.
Suggestions on where to start: you can start by contributing to existing forum discussions related to your products, services, or solutions for a problem. You don’t have to come at it like a sales pitch, but what you are offering should be mentioned in there, somewhere. Remember, at the end of the day, talk to them like real people. That’s how we all want to be addressed anyways.
Another suggestion would be, once your are comfortable, to create your own forum on your website for customers to contribute content, ask questions, and discuss topics with you and fellow customers. Not only does this reflect well on your business, but you grow your networks of customers. Keep discussions relevant, professional, and current. Be sure to include your responses in a timely and professional manner.
You also should not feel locked in to forums! Twitter chats, Facebook groups, and other social media platforms are great places to look for discussion threads, too. Never limit yourself when trying to increase your community build. Leave no resource unturned.
Discover your analytics
Take some time digging into who is searching and spending time on your website and social media. Where do they come from? What is their age/gender? What type of device are they sourcing your content from? How long are they spending time on your site? How many pages are they visiting? What page is frequented most? What article is read most?
Use your analytics like a gold mine of information on how you can best target your community. If your user base is predominately women, you should probably target your speech and presence towards a female-based audience. If you are talking to an older generation, perhaps refrain from slang or other hip references that may leave them confused in discussion threads. Breaking down this plethora of information could be the backbone towards creating exactly what you need for a more exclusive target online.
Keep it real – real time, that is
Interacting in real time is better than getting back to it later. Often, people won’t return to a comment unless it is pressing that it is answered, forgetting it until much later. But wouldn’t that be awesome if within minutes of posting something, you are receiving a response from a real person with real solutions?
This is how customers feel when you are interacting with them in real time. However, this can be difficult when managing several online objectives at once. Let a program such as Intercom do the heavy lifting for you. Programs like this one notify you when you receive comments on forums or posts and lets you communicate back to the posts in real-time without flopping in between platforms and user interfaces. Do all the work from one location without getting confused as to where you are posting or commenting.
Attend Conferences, Events, and Meet ups
While this can be tricky and take up time at the office, this is one of the greatest ways to build community for your business. Networking face-to-face with other businesses and potential customers is a great way to build community and also learn tips and tricks on how the big guys do it, too. Be sure to attend conferences in your area that target your field of expertise and offer a high return rate for what you are seeking before signing up. Take the time to try and contact speakers before hand to try and schedule some off-the-clock coffee time to poke their brains on other ways you can build your business community, too.
Building community takes time, but it is not impossible. For other ways to build community online, contact Maximize today.