It can be easy to lose the aspect of humanity in marketing in today’s age of bots, machine learning, and automation. However, you can help the growth prospects of your business by investing in an online community to stay helpful, engaged, and connected with your existing and potential customers while still leveraging automation for good.
Now comes the top questions – How to build a community on Facebook or Slack? How to identify the right community members and keep them engaged?
In this piece of information, we’ll learn how to build a vibrant online community that continues to grow and keeps people coming back for more.
There’s a Big Difference Between Community & Audience
Knowing your target audience is incredibly important. Also, you need to have a clear and complete understanding of what environmental and emotional factors impact their day-to-day lives. These insights can help you connect with your audience in a better way. However, an audience is only a group of people. In a majority of cases, the audience passively consumes your content and the dialogue generally stays one-way. It’s not until the two-way interactions start happening that your audience becomes a community.
A community is an engaging experience. When your audience starts commenting, liking, or sharing your content and keeps coming back – that’s a community.
Why Your Business Should Build A Community?
Building a community around a specific product, service, or topic can be an excellent choice. It can help your business with lead generation, brand awareness, customer acquisition/retention, and audience research.
Your Community Becomes a Resource
A vibrant and engaged community full of purposeful, relevant discussions becomes a great resource for your customers. It can be the place where customers can easily find information about your brand, products, and services while receiving advice, feedback, and suggestions from your entire sphere of influence.
Furthermore, customers can bounce ideas off one another, connect, and build relationships that could possibly change the course of their careers, perception, or businesses. In other words, communities are great platforms at giving a sense of belonging and purpose to people. They also remind them that they aren’t alone in the challenges ahead of them.
You Can Learn a Lot from Your Community
There is no denying the fact that customer research and surveys are good choices, but you can never get a more realistic view of the challenges of your prospects and customers than when they are actively interacting out in the wild.
By observing the ways they interact with each other, the questions they ask, and the answers they give, you can easily identify the pain points, expectations, trends, and challenges.
Communities Foster Retention
According to a recent customer acquisition study by HubSpot, it costs around 5-25x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer. Building an active and engaged community will help your business foster retention among the customers.
When a customer-centric business fosters a community of customers/users, they tend to feel more invested in and connected with your brand. It also becomes easier and natural for them to feel a more emotional bond with your brand that can help you identify & win more customers, better overcome customers’ challenges, and upsell/cross-sell more.
Steps To Build And Maintain An Engaged Online Community
You can build and maintain an engaged online community in the following ways:
- Choose between free community platforms (such as Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, Telegram, and WhatsApp) and owned community platforms based on your industry niche, the number of customers, etc.
- Ensure the sign-in process for members is easy, straightforward, and quick. Define the roles of your staff and members. Set up spam controls on your member login.
- Create a clear tone for the group. Create a purpose and description of the group along with the group rules. You should ideally include an intro video where you welcome all members to set the tone right away.
- Encourage worthy members to join, also encourage members to invite others who may be a good fit. Thereafter, you should reward them when they do so. Remember, great communities are grown by great experiences and word-of-mouth recommendations.
- You should select a community manager who will work closely with the community members (and customers) and make sure everything is running smoothly.
- Ensure to keep your brand voice and tone guidelines in the videos, comments, posts, etc., and brand your community with your brand.
- Test the published content with success metrics such as engagement rate, sign-up rate, clickthrough rate, conversion rate, etc.
- Promote your community just like you would promote your product and service. For this, you can invite your contacts, partner with influencers, integrate community into your marketing strategy, or try out referral programs.
- Celebrate and treat your members right. Never stop innovating. Track and measure everything. Join and learn from other communities.
Want to discover more tips on how to create an active and engaged community with automation? Visit us at Dana Sacco now!