One of the most important factors to consider when running a successful business is building a solid community which consists of loyal people who are committed to the business’ growth including the customers, the employees, or an online community.
It takes time and active engagement to build a community. The community should align with the brand’s values, regularly participate in the community, and be rewarded for their membership.
Building a reliable community may seem to be a difficult feat, but we are here to guide you along the path. This guide will teach you how to build a community.
Why Do You Need to Build a Community?
Encourages growth: A loyal community is a significant growth driver. Having a group of like-minded people backing your business drives momentum. If the community includes customers, you may see a spike in sales. If your network is reliable, you may see your business reach new heights.
Brand advocacy: Having a robust online community means having a free group of brand representatives. These people can spread the word and will advocate for your business. Personal endorsements are valuable because customers often trust their friends’ opinions rather than a salesman.
Improved customer service: If you build a thriving community, you can make an online forum for any service requests. The forum means that you have an easier way to speak to your clients and efficiently address their needs.
Reliable customer base: True communities are made of loyal customers. If they like your products, they will most likely become repeat customers, which will guarantee some sales as time goes by.
A competitive advantage: A strong community can set you apart from your competitors and can be the main difference in determining which business is more popular and more successful. Thriving communities often equal thriving businesses.
How to Build a Community for Businesses
1. Identify Your Purpose
People want to associate themselves with like-minded people or brands. If you want them to align with your brand, you must be clear about what your brand stands for.
Establishing your purpose can be done by writing your mission statement, vision, and values. Writing it down and displaying it on your website or discussion forum makes it easily accessible for consumers.
If they’re able to access it, they can read and understand it to make the informed decision to join your community. You must ensure that your content aligns with your purpose.
Your content is an excellent way of establishing the identity of your business and selling yourself to potential partners. If it encourages engagement, it will go a long way towards building a strong community.
2. Be Intentional
Having a group of loyal customers or a party of loyal followers does not automatically create a community. You must consistently seek out people and bring them together.
The easiest way to build a reliable community is by creating an online forum that supports active discussions. Online forums provide a space for you to share information and for other people to participate.
It’s a space where your customers can share what they like about your product or service as well as what improvements they think the company should make.
Build the forum strategically so the members trust each other. If you want the community to gel together, they should be able to interact without your participation. A robust community can only exist if it is built on trust.
3. Create Valuable Rewards
People join teams because they enjoy the rewards that come with being a part of them. The rewards don’t have to be financial. It can also be intrinsic.
You should decide what kind of rewards structure you want to offer within your network. If the community takes off and becomes extremely popular, you can offer financial incentives.
You can send an email to the most interactive customer and offer them a small discount to encourage them to increase their participation and engagement in the future.
Another good idea is to offer your gratitude to the community for being a part of your platform.
Always be clear about how much you appreciate their feedback as this will create a great sense of community.
4. Empower Your Members
People generally enjoy being in leadership positions. You can award the long-serving members of your online community by giving them more responsibility. You can do this by appointing them moderators, or designated community builders. This process will grow your community because the moderators are more likely to share information about your business.
You can put the original members in charge of finding new community members. This will create a type of community where it is high-value and people feel safe. It will work as a method of quality control because all the new members would have already been previously vetted.
This community strategy will ensure that you provide a space for knowledge creation and a reliable platform for people to share their feedback.
Building a community is an effective way to reach potential customers. It’s also a great way of re-affirming existing customers, thus increasing the chances of repeat purchases. If the important elements of the community are there, customer engagement will come.
There is no perfect way to build a community, but this guide will help you start. Each step is not as simple as it appears and it may take a while before you have a strong community backing you. However, the rewards will be worth it in the end.