In previous posts, we discussed the kind of importance that is placed on community building alongside community engagement and how to differentiate the two. In case you haven't had the chance to really dive into that one, it's definitely worthwhile doing. In case you don't have the time, here are the cliff notes:
Community Building is all about laying the foundations where your future communities will start from, such as a dedicated forum on a website, email newsletter and social media outlets. While community engagement refers to the methods of directly engaging with your audience and how it differs across mediums.
For any business, no matter what the size, a dedicated and supportive community is the glue that keeps your company together as a functional structure, and the fuel that helps to accelerate it forward. A community’s importance cannot be understated, but as a startup, how can you start up community building?
We'll be going into just how right here.
First and foremost in the process of building a community, you need to ask just what kind of community you want to have for your business. Once you have the structure of this community in mind, you can start plotting out a course for building it up.
Best method of approach here is to look at any potential competitors, including how their communities are set up along with where they're based. Even if they're not in a similar industry, if they have a community framework, which resembles the one you want to build - it's worth taking notes.
If, for example, you find that there are pretty significant, albeit divided communities devoted to an area that could easily become your consumer-base on Twitter or Facebook - it's safe to assume that that particular social media channel will make up part of your future community.
Whether this is a strategy of distributing highly share-able viral content on mediums like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, or highly informative e-books and articles through professional channels like LinkedIn.
Get as an informed an understanding of what kind of content performs well on each of these channels and build up your strategy with this, and broader events and mechanics in mind.
Case and point, with Twitter - understanding how to effectively make use of hash-tags along with tagging related industries or people allows you to directly engage with influential people within your industry, while distributing highly searchable content through using trending hashtags.
Along with fostering a dedicated online community over a range of social media pages, make sure that the community that you have is one that exists offline too. What we mean by this is that it's worth using your online communities to let your supporters know of any kind of events that you will be hosting.
This can make a significant difference in the success of your business relative to your community. All because it encourages a greater level of user interaction on any of these channels and helps to convert them from passive online supporters to highly active fans of your business on and offline.