An online community is great way to engage and target your ideal customers. This is turn, will of course, help grow your business.
But where do you start when you want to start a community? What types of content do you share? And how do you engage your community anyway?
8 Steps to Build Your Community Online
Whether you choose to create a community on a social network, a podcast, or on your website, it’s important to start with the basics. Here’s how to build a community online with 8 steps for success.
1. Define your objectives.
Determine what you want to accomplish with your online community. Answer these questions:
- Why do you want to create this community?
- Who do you want to target?
- What need(s) are you fulfilling?
2. Develop the strategies.
Next, you’ll need to develop the strategy behind your community. As we know, marketing tactics without strategy won’t get you far. Answer these questions:
- Where will you be engaging your community?
- When will you be posting or publishing content and engaging with your community?
- How will measure success and continue an ongoing plan?
It’s important to be clear about your goals during this stage, as they will set the tone for your community and future strategy.
3. Learn your industry.
Use your industry to fuel valuable research for your community. Find out what other communities are out there doing, what appears to be working, and what doesn’t in order to learn from the competition.
Don’t forget to learn from your audience by asking questions of them: where would they like to be involved in a community? What types of content would help them?
4. Create value.
Content must always give value for your audience in order to keep them engaged and coming back for more. This means focusing on educational content, rather than promotional.
Think of it this way: when your target audience comes to you, what are they looking to learn?
Be prepared to create the type of content that your audience craves, then spend the time necessary to create it for the right platform(s).
5. Share, share, and share some more.
When you share online, you create an opportunity to connect with your community (and your ideal customers).
In general, it’s best to share a mix of different types of content: your own, other sources, and promotional. A good rule of thumb for this mix is: 30% of your own, 60% curated, and 10% promotional.
6. Build and foster growth.
As you share your content, engage with your community. That’s the true point of it, after all!
Engage with your audience so they want to reach out to you, comment, and continue wanting the content you’re sharing. Remember to acknowledge your followers, answer any questions, and always respond to message quickly. Also, don’t forget to experiment with different types of contact, such as hosting events or giveaways.
7. Measure and analyze.
Measure, evaluate, and analyze everything you do. As we always say, keep doing what’s working and improve on what’s not. Otherwise, you may be wasting your time with tactics that aren’t working for your community.
Also, don’t be afraid to make changes to your process and adjust your goals based on your measurements. Be flexible in order to see success.
Last but not least: repeat the process! Keep up with your consistency and your community will come.
Try these 8 steps for success in your online community and let us know what works for you in the comments below!
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