Together with the term “growth hacking”, the words “community building” have become the trend topic of digital marketing in 2019. Unfortunately, most people trying to build an online community for their business or brand have forgotten what a true community is and what it means to be part of it.
After all, a community is made up of people linked together by beliefs, localization or features that make you feel accepted and accepted. Offline we don’t force people to be part of our community, this happens naturally. So why do we focus so much online (too much) on increasing the number of Facebook or Twitter fans, merchandising likes and shares, and hope that our community will listen to what we have to say, when we ourselves are not listening or not listening do we worry about what they have to say?
Here are 8 tips for successful entrepreneurs to build real online communities …
1. Take to the streets, go to the street and talk face to face with the people
Forging online community can certainly bring value, as it creates channels for user feedback and gives you an idea of what people want and need. They are important data. But the data is much more accessible and powerful when you can associate human faces with your searches. Humanize first of all. The Community is intrinsic to your business, because your brand and your users at the same time are on the same boat to achieve the same goal.
2. Intentionally guide your interactions with empathy
The most important part of building your digital brand is empathy. Create a human voice, bringing followers behind the scenes, allowing people to travel on an emotional journey. Empathy is the key to building brand advocacy and not just consumers.
3. Change your way of thinking
Building an online community from scratch is almost impossible. Instead, think about how you can serve the community you belong to. It could be your neighborhood, your circle of colleagues or an interest group. Genuine communities emerge spontaneously. Indeed, it is very likely that you are already part of it! If you think about how you can better serve your community and help make its members better, their support will come by itself.
4. Get to know the man behind the device
Get in touch with the people in your offline community, one by one, to understand who these people are and why your community has attracted them. Get their feedback, understand what ignites the passion in them and find out what can hinder them. Scientists have not yet invented the perfect substitute for human companionship: much comes from the serenity of spending time with someone.
5. Find out what they are using to engage with you
Try doing an experiment with your followers. To find out more quickly who is “online” in your audience – with a smartphone or an iPad – assign them “homework”. Type “See this link for me.” And 10 minutes later ask “What did you find?”. This is a little trick to test how your audience sends or returns content. Also strengthen the trust between you and your users.
6. Add value
Focus on how you can add value to your audience before asking for something from them. Sincerely work with them, be concerned about what they need and find the solution to meet that need.
7. Be present
To say how important it is to actively listen to your community is an understatement. Especially on a digital platform. Stay where your community is, listen to the problems they are facing and talk about topics relevant to your community. Listen to the community you work with authenticity and attention.
8. Be consistent
Post consistently on social media. If you can’t keep up with the number of posts, decrease them. Quality and consistency are better than quantity. Generally you should post in the morning, for lunch in the late afternoon and in the evening because in different parts of the world users are online at different times of the day. The business is not local is global, they say (we would have to discuss this). You know your insights better than me. The important thing is that your message is consistent with your brand and with what you have to say. Your users will understand it.
Building an online community is no small feat and takes a lot of time and patience. If you plan to base your business solely on acquiring followers overnight, know that you have already lost at the start. Your community will crumble in no time.
It will probably be made up of users who are not very interested in your product. As in real relationships, digital also needs its time and, as mentioned above, authenticity. Let me know your techniques to deepen relationships with your community or write your opinion in the comments!