There are several advantages to enjoy once you successfully create an online community for your business. On a long term basis, this move will make you immune from any ill-effects of future Google search algorithm updates. In addition, it will definitely add value as well as equity to your business. A loyal online community will also help you stand apart from your competitors.
You need not be intimidated by the slightly long and tedious process of building an online community successfully around your business. You can break the process into small portions as described in the handy tips below.
You should begin by setting up precise and achievable business goals. Rather than splitting your focus on different objectives such as social media, marketing, SEO, etc., you need to set up a final goal for your entire business. While setting up goals, it would be good to ponder upon various factors that make your business and its products unique such as excellent quality, top after-sales-service, etc. These USP aspects need to be leveraged to the fullest in the coming days.
You also need to envision where you would like to be after an interval of every 2 years or any figure that is best suited to your business model. Make a list of what is required to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. Also make a list of possible hurdles in the path of success and ways you can solve them.
Finally, make a list of how you can better communicate with your existing and potential clients since they will form the backbone of your online community in the future. By analyzing current conversion funnels, you will be able to better understand the requirements and behavior of your clients on your website.
Your next step is to set up a competent team and to assign non-overlapping roles to them for increased efficiency. Even if you do outsource some services, make sure that you remain firmly in control of your campaign and ensure that the entire team moves towards your pre-determined goals as a single entity. Your design, content, SEO, outreach, social media, and several other teams need to merge their skills and strengths to turn your goals into reality.
You need to continually encourage, motivate, and reward your team to ensure that this ongoing process does not lose steam. Furthermore, you need to break down your strategy into small and achievable sections. This will relieve some of the pressure as well as enable you to actually focus on each step while keeping the big picture at the back of the mind.
You also need to monitor each strategy and make suitable changes to ensure that you remain on track. Sometimes, plans may not realize the way you envisioned and changing a failing plan may help prevent failure. You should take calculated risks and will need to merge all your assets including hardware, software, and most importantly people in the form of your employees and clients, to succeed.
You need to appoint capable team members to lead the teams. You also need to provide them with the required confidence to try out creative moves to exploit visible and hidden opportunities. Recognize and encourage their strengths to help achieve your goals as well as raise their satisfaction levels as they cross one milestone after the other. You need to encourage them to treat failure as just another challenge that needs to be overcome.
While KPIs will provide some indication on how your community building exercise is progressing, the final results will certainly take a lot of time and effort. Extracting monthly reports and comparing results at pre-determined periods will help you chart your progress on a long-term basis.
Understanding your industry and its players is another tip that will help you define and execute your own strategy. Study the latest happenings in your industry, how other players are planning their campaign and how you can provide far better value to your clients.
Building value should form an extremely important component of your community-building exercise since it is finally satisfied clients that will become the base of your community as well as brand ambassadors of your website. A strategy that includes shoring up your About Us section of your website with videos, infographics, and even case studies will help visitors know you better.
The more details existing and potential clients know about you and your business, the easier it will become to establish a community around your business. You need to become pro-active about reaching out to each visitor since this will enable you to learn more about their needs while they learn more about you and your business.
Of course, you will need to engage in aggressive SEO to make sure that your website is seen at just the right places, be it on search results, social media sites, or other avenues that you wish. A pre-outreach campaign will also help you to push out the right content needed by visitors that include both existing and potential clients.
While sharing values with a Thumbs Up or a Tweet is okay if you want to remain fairly anonymous, writing an actual piece on why you think an article or blog is good will make you stand out from the crowd. Such an outreach strategy will help build an online community that respects your views and over time, your business too.
The above tips need to not merely be executed on a one-time basis. Instead, you need to ingrain this strategy in your daily life as well as track the progress of your campaign with weekly, fortnightly, and monthly reports. Regular brain-storming sessions will ensure that you and your team come up with innovative ideas for perplexing problems.
Creating and sustaining an online community around your business may take a lot of time and effort, but the rewards are truly worth the effort. You will certainly receive financial as well as mental benefits upon successfully building an online community for and around your business.