Most successful brands or businesses have a massive following of communities made up of customers, critics and potential customers that are all highly engaged and even loyal.
Take for example Google. If you’ll take a closer look, the search engine giant makes sure that they build active communities around their brands. Google Search has multiple forums that allow webmasters, marketers and businesses to talk about the recent changes to their search algorithm. They have regular webmaster hangout sessions where their employees directly speak with their users. They also have offline communities in localities that provide an avenue for their users to network with their fellow users.
My example of Google is just an overview of how successful businesses have managed to create communities around their brands and efficiently leverage from them.
So, as a small business, how can you emulate what Google has done?
Building a highly engaged community around your business increases your chances of getting quality leads. When it comes to selling or pitching a product or service, a high-quality lead has a higher chance of converting into a paying customer. If you are only receiving low-quality leads, then building a community for your business is not only important for your sales but will also improve your brand’s reputation and trust.
Here’s what you can do to build a community around your brand.
Take advantage of your social media following. If you are on Facebook, create a group and invite your followers to join. If you are on Twitter, create an official brand hashtag that your customers can use every time they tweet about your product.
You can also initiate a weekly hashtag roundup where your followers can use a unique hashtag. The more people who will join the conversation, the higher the chance it will become a trending topic. This collaboration not only helps you create a community in Twitter, but it also helps your brand gets noticed by the public.
On the other hand, if you are active in blogging, genuinely engaging with your visitors by replying to their comments on your blog post is another way of building a community of engaged and active readers.
How else can you make your existing customers feel valued? You can give them access to an exclusive forum where they can share their experiences with fellow customers. You can also give them special discounts and promotions to let them know that you acknowledge their loyalty.
Loyalty rewards are effective in encouraging them to continue patronizing your products and services. When you release a new product, you can give them special offers. Make sure you let them know that these offers are only exclusively available for them.
In building a community, two-way communication is very important. Considering the feedback and opinions of your customers and incorporating them into your service or product is a great way of telling them that you value their inputs and their satisfaction is part of the primary goals of your business.
Treating your customers as an important part of growing your company gives them a strong sense of respect and loyalty to your brand.
A yearly contest or promo that gives everyone a chance to experience your products or services is a great way to entice those who are still hesitant to give your brand a shot.
Providing this experience can help you convert undecided prospects into paying customers and also help create fun and excitement within your community.
Your fellow entrepreneurs are respected thought leaders in their own niches. They are also your potential customers. Getting a recommendation from them brings more impact and credibility to your brand and reputation.
Attending conferences and events that allow you to meet and network with various types of people in business can help you create a community of powerful thought leaders that may help you attract investors who can help expand your business.
Building an engaged and loyal community for your business requires genuine interest to reach out not only to your existing customers and followers but also to the public and fellow business owners. When you surround your brand with an engaged community, promoting your products and services won’t be that difficult anymore because you’ve already gained their trust and loyalty. “If you’re like most business owners, the one thing you always need more of is time,” says Qamar Zaman, founder of the top digital marketing agency KISS PR in Dallas. “KISS PR has become the go-to agency for Local Map SEO services, national SEO projects, and website design and development for small business owners because our time is focused on building your community.”
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