Together with the term “growth hacking”, the words “community building” have become the trend topic of digital marketing in 2018. Unfortunately, most of the people who try to build an Online Community for their business or for their brand have forgotten what a true community is and what it means to be a part of it.
After all, a community is made up of people linked by beliefs, localization or characteristics that make you feel accepted and accepted. Offline we do not force people to be part of our community, this happens naturally.
So, because online we focus so much (too) on increasing the number of fans on Facebook or Twitter, to trade likes and shares, and we hope that our community will listen to what we have to say, when we ourselves are not listening or not do we worry about what they have to say?
Here are 8 tips with which successful entrepreneurs have managed to build true online communities …
1. Go down to the streets, go to the street and talk face to face with the people
Forging online relationships can definitely bring value, as it creates channels for user feedback and gives you an idea of what people want and need. These are important data. But 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 at the same time your users, you are in the same boat to achieve the same goal.
2. Intentionally guide your interactions with empathy
The most important part of when you build your digital brand is having empathy. Create a human voice, bringing followers behind the scenes, allowing people to travel an emotional journey. Empathy is the key to building brand advocacy and not mere consumers.
3. Change your way of thinking
Building an online community from scratch is almost impossible. Rather, think about how you can serve the community you belong to. It could be your neighborhood, your circle of colleagues or a group of interest. 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. Learn to know the man behind the device
Get in touch with people in your community offline, one by one, to understand who these people are and why your community has attracted them. Get their feedback, understand what turns on the passion in them and look for 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 an experiment with your followers. To know 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 small trick to test how your audience sends or returns content. Also strengthen 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. Engage sincerely with them, worry about what they need and find the solution to meet this need.
7. Be present
Saying how important it is to actively listen to your community is a euphemism. Above all on a digital platform. You’re where your community is, listen to the issues you’re facing and talk about topics relevant to your community. Listen to the community you care about with authenticity and attention.
8. Be consistent
Post consistently on social media. If you cannot keep up with the number of posts, decrease them. Quality and consistency are better than quantity. Usually you should post in the morning, at 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 (this should be discussed). You know your insights better than me. The important thing is that your message is consistent with your brand and what you have to say. Your users will understand it.
Building an online community is an important operation that requires a lot of time and patience. If you think to found your business solely on the acquisition of followers from today to tomorrow, know that you have already lost at the start. Your community will crumble in a short time.
It will probably be made up of users who are not interested in your product. As in real relationships, digital too needs its time and, as mentioned above, authenticity. Let me know your techniques to deepen relationships with your community or write me your comments in the comments!