Building an Online Community: Where To Start
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How To Build An Online Community
Stakeholder Relationship Management
The first step in building your online community is to identify your key stakeholders. Just like you have a hierarchy in your business, you will need to have a dedicated team that will conduct specific tasks. Pick a trusted team member and designate them as your community manager. This individual will handle all things related to your online community and see that everything runs smoothly. The specific duties of this manager will include branding your product and/or business and identifying ways that it can be improved upon. This person will also be the one that will work closely with the community and the customers.
Other members of your team can work with your community, too. For instance, your marketing manager can create a content calendar. This content can encourage community members to be first-time buyers, convince them to buy an alternative product, or even encourage them to upgrade and purchase a product in a higher tier.
Define Your Online Community Goals
After you have assigned your team members specific duties, you need to define the purpose and goals of your community. Ask yourself: “What experience do you want to give your customers?”, and go from there. Once you have determined your purpose, you can give your community access to expert information, tips, and hacks that can make their online experience the best it can possibly be.
Select the Best Platform For Your Community
The next step is to choose the appropriate platform to host your online community. The platform you choose depends on how many members you ultimately wish to have. For example, if your community will be smaller and more intimate, you can create a chat group on an application such as WhatsApp or a direct message group on Instagram. If you desire to grow a community of more than 100,000 people, social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn are better suited to enable you to create an online community through a group.
Create A Member Profile
You want to grow your online community with your target audience. Therefore, you need to define your prospective community members through their interests and lifestyles. Once you have defined who your target audience is, you need to ask yourself a few questions. These include:
- What can my community give them that they didn’t have before?
- How did the community members feel before joining?
- How did they feel after joining?
The answers to these questions are your member persona. This will determine what content you can use to convince them to become a member of the community.
Set Up Your Community
Now that you have found your prospective online community members it is time to launch the community. You can set up the community as one large forum or you can categorize them. You can categorize the community based on your products or member interests, and decide what products are best for them.
Don’t forget your community and your brand are synonymous, and your members should feel that way, as well. Fill your profile with your logo and brand colors. Besides the brand design, you will also want to be consistent with your brand’s tone in all your content including posts, comments, and videos that you have established in your community.
Promote Your Online Community
Now that your online community is set up, you need to promote it. Just like promoting your product, you want to promote your community so people will want to join. The best ways to promote your community are:
- Partnering with Influencers
When you team up with a social media influencer, it exposes your community to the influencer’s community. This is a sure way to find more target members that you are looking for.
- Invite your Contacts
When you invite your contacts into your community, you are opening up the gates for a whole new list of prospective members. Your business and social media contacts also know many people. If you inform your contact list about your community, they will be able to spread the word about your community and brand to their contacts.
You can also promote your online community through referrals. Your referrals can be many types of a reward including gifts, discounts, or prizes. This will also influence your present community members to spread the word about your product and your community.
Promotora Systems Inc. can show you how to build profitable relationships through an online community. Contact us to enroll in one of our coaching programs that can help you find new clients and grow your business by developing relationships with an online community.