A good business is only as reputable and successful as its community is expansive and loyal. So if you're looking to build your company up, it's important to know how to build an effective community, maintain it, and grow it in order to let you and your business realise your potential.
The very notion of community building has, over the past few decades, dramatically changed the way in which companies need to approach would-be customers. While it sounds like this is something that gets handled by simply being 'around', companies spend millions, if not billions in order to get their community building right.
2018, for example, companies spent 45 percent more on researching purchasing behaviour than during the previous year, so it's safe to assume that companies have a lot of their attention set on advertisement and customer retention. This is where the community element comes in, especially if you're the founder of an up and coming business.
The first is that with the lions share of customers being digital, being out of step with trends online or simply 'not' being online could spell disaster for you and the company. The second being that the whole nature of developing a community here is distinctly different from how it's done in person.
But while the rule-book has been significantly expanded, the prospects that come from building a successful community definitely outweigh the challenges. It's the difference between being present on a local level and having your product readily known and purchased by a global audience - spelling out the enormous monetary gain for your business.
While you've built up your business with an understanding of what your company is, the products that you sell, you also have to make sure you know where your customer/community comes into the equation.
Once you know where exactly your customers come into your model, you have the 'what' of your future community, but you now need to answer the second part, which is why these customers should become part of your community.
This is where you need to find ways to 'plug' into where your community is and demonstrate your value to them. Whether this is through social media outreach, promotional discounts or events - all of these are methods of starting a conversation with your customers and let them see just why they would want to get involved with your business and community.
Whether you're building up yours from scratch or working with an already existing community over a number of mediums, this is an important element for community building.
You know who your customers are, where they fit into your business model, why they should want to be a part of your community. Now all you need to do is find out where these same customers inhabit.
For those building a business - find out where exactly your highest level of consumer activity is - whether that is through open social media channels, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc, or even spotting repeat purchases and activity, and directly engage with them, and let them know that you're more than just voiceless business.
For those that already have an online community to some extent - it's important to try and find ways to cultivate brand loyalty, and for many, the first step is dialogue. According to some studies, communicating directly with users on social media pages can increase the likelihood of them using your services again by 60 percent.
Whatever stage you're in of building up your community, we hope that this guide has been informative as to what it is, why it's important and the kind of initial steps needed to establish and build a flourishing digital community that's loyal to your brand.