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  • Writer's pictureGemma Walton

Building An Engaged Online Community For Your Small Business

Updated: May 14

In order to build an engaged online community for your business you need to clarify the content of the community and the content to help people understand the purpose of it and the resulting conversation and expected response as this will help participants understand what is appropriate and make contributions feel comfortable.

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Thank your members for their actions, recommend content they might like, or direct them to a new company to build long-term interactions.


Encourage every employee to support and participate in the community, starting with the CEO. If you build stronger relationships by engaging with your online community, your customers will become the main advocates of your brand as they will create content on your behalf that you will be able to access - user generated content (UCG) you’ll be able to share online.


When you can motivate members, customers, and employees to continually participate in the community, you will impact key experience metrics. Building an irreplaceable and engaging branded community that people want to come back to all the time starts with defining “jobs” that will motivate your users to join the online community. People usually join communities because they want to expand their knowledge, connect with others, and create their own brand. Your customers are more likely to stay close if they have a community with which they feel connected.


You now have more clarity as to why you should build a community and what that might mean for your business. If it’s something you’re thinking about doing and the time is right, then it's time to start building your community. Before proceeding, you need to understand your ultimate goal so that you can build a community that truly benefits your brand. In order for users to have something to discuss, what to build on and, in general, to come to you, and not leave right away, it is necessary to create starter content around which the community will grow.


For example, if your community is a blog, you can fill it with articles on your topic. Online discussion communities are great for brands looking to get closer to their target audience because they often encourage high levels of user engagement, and as a result, information can be spread quickly. These forums provide an opportunity for people to learn from existing customer experiences and provide a space for community feedback that can be used to build trust and credibility with the legacy procedure.


However, if you want to create a new online community that will thrive by attracting your customers, members or employees, increasing your return on investment and providing real business value, then the first step is to start with careful planning.


Your online community is a way to gather our customers (and potential customers) in one place to share ideas, discuss strategies, and get useful feedback about our products. Make sure both you and your community are visible by taking the time to make your audience live online.


Start by focusing on non-scalable activities that will allow you to notice, such as answering questions on social media, engaging in other communities, joining other social media groups on Facebook & LinkedIn, creating content for other pages, websites and blogs.


Going back to the first step, if you don't know why your community exists, it is almost impossible to know if it is achieving its goal. In any case, it is best to start with a reason that is appropriate as motivation for building a community.


Before you start, you should ask yourself what unique strengths your community might have. Once you've identified a use case and type of interest (like customer service or brand loyalty), you'll want to start exploring the detailed features that can support your community's goals.


Consider the following when deciding what business problem you want to solve with the community. If you want to build a successful online community for your organisation, the first step is to understand all of the goals and rationale behind the community's needs or decisions. Building a committed community takes time, effort, and dedication to learn about trends and habits in your community in order to improve the environment for its members. Don’t go all in and try to be all things to all people as this will confuse people. They won’t know why they should join your community or what they’ll get out of it if they’re a member. Instead you should look at your USP’s, your niche, what you’re good at and focus on that. The whole point in the online community is to create a space where people feel included, can share ideas, support each other etc. They won’t be able to do this if they don’t understand what your community is about or what problems it is trying to solve for them. If you’re not sure then they won’t be so please have a clear defined plan – don’t go all in!

If you want to maximise your business performance and contribute to your success, you need to follow the following tips and real examples of how to build an online community. Find ways to attract different types of users to help build a vibrant community. Organise community flexibility activities. Once the community can support itself, you can attract potential customers, build brand loyalty, and build customer loyalty. Through these efforts, you can find ideas to help your brand develop, as well as many other benefits provided by online communities.


Online communities are the best advertisement for brand loyalty, and interested, active members are emotionally involved in your business. They will buy your groceries and also tell family and family about it. So, if you are looking for ways to increase your brand awareness, you need to build an active brand community online.


Make sure everyone in your community knows that their contributions are appreciated. By helping others, your business can build trust and build a loyal community. We know people do business with people they know, love, and trust, and showing that sense of humour can be a great way to connect with your community. By creating the impression that you are approachable and ready to make a commitment, members will feel more comfortable in your community and may even look forward to when you go online to chat with them.


Another great advantage of building a community on a social platform is that your community can be discovered by users looking for communities like yours, or interacting with similar communities, and also sharing content posted to your community. Native Communities give you more freedom to communicate about your brands, but until your customers discover your community, you have a lot more opportunities to grow that community than on the free platform.


In addition, the prevalence of social media and other online platforms makes it easy to build a community. The power of online communities is that anyone with an Internet connection can easily figure out how to create a community that suits their interests. The person or company that builds the online community sets it up so that members can easily participate in the onsite approval process or not and connect with other users to discuss common interests, whenever and wherever they want, completely online.


Struggling with building your online community for your local or national business, I can help!



If you’re looking for help or support for a marketing project to help your business grow by improving your online presence, please check out the Digital Marketing Services I Provide.


Not sure or want to have a chat about this in more detail then please Contact Me directly. 

 

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You can also check out my podcast "Like Click Share" for digital and marketing tips and advice or head to the channel page on You Tube.

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