Not sure if an online community is right for your business?
In this post, we’ll go over 7 questions to consider before jumping into building an online community for your business.
Community means everything for business owners, especially in this COVID world. People are online every day searching for meaningful interactions. Whether it’s to have a conversation with likeminded people, or they want to learn something new from a group they admire, it’s up to you to give your audience an online community they want to join.
But, how do you know if an online community is right for your business? Let’s cover the basics before you start building.
1. Where Are People Talking About Your Business?
This is where you put on your detective hat and hunt for clues about your audience. You want to find pockets of users who are excited about your products and services and notice where those favorable conversations are happening.
If they’re happening on Facebook, for instance, you’ll want to consider building a community there. Don’t overwhelm yourself with creating communities everywhere right away. Focus on growing one, solid community at a time.
2. How Well Do You Know Your Customers?
Take time to learn about the users who say favorable things about your business. Learn about the things that interest them. What drives them every day? What do they care about? How is this customer drawn to your business? Find ways to start a conversation and engage with them. Find out what they would like out of a community experience with your business.
3. Do You Have Connections You Could Reach Out To?
Reach out to your email list and get the answers you’re looking for. Send surveys about the community you’re thinking about building. Gauge interest in certain topics. They’ll let you know what they want from you.
(A quick note about reaching out to your contacts: if you want them to join your community, make sure you are building the community for them.)
4. Do You Encourage Social Engagement?
If you want people to continue talking about your business, encourage your audience to share your message widely on social media. Suggest opportunities for them to tweet, like, share, or tag with their friends. You’ll be amazed at how many people participate because you took the time to ask.
5. Are You Chasing Vanity Numbers?
Growing a following of 10,000 people doesn’t mean much if you don’t know anything about those 10,000 people. If you want to grow a meaningful, lasting community experience then you’ll need to focus on relationship building. Strong bonds create the best experience (and the best word-of-mouth advertising).
6. Are You Expecting Your Community to Grow Overnight?
Don’t expect to grow a meaningful community overnight. It will take time to attract the right people to your community. If you’re expecting to grow quickly and make tons of money from it, building a community may not be right for you.
7. Are You Willing to Experiment?
It’s important to test and grow with your community. They’ll let you know what they want to engage with. Try new ideas! Do new things with your audience! If some things don't work, refine and try again!
Building an online community takes time and dedication. If you stick it out and do it well, it’ll be worthwhile for your business.