Building an online community, and participating in online communities, is an important way to market your business online that is going to really take off in 2015 and beyond. The technology has become simpler, and anyone can start a community today. The trick is building it into a productive and valuable extension of your business.
1. Start Your Own Community – If you have your own community focused on a certain niche, you will be able to control what happens and market yourself easier without having to follow anyone else’s rules.
2. Release Limited Programs – If you release limited programs only to the group, they’ll feel as if they are special and unique and be more likely to give you a good testimonial and referral when the product goes live to the rest of the public.
3. Ask Questions – Keep the discussion going by asking at least one question of the community every single day. Not only will it keep the community active for others who are just visiting for the first time, it will help people get to know you by seeing your name and face every day.
4. Conduct Polls – Some online communities have a way to conduct a poll. This is where you ask a question but have set answers that they can choose from. It’s a great way to ask about your future products, such as, “Should I Name my Product X or Y?” By making them part of the creation they’ll be more likely to purchase.
5. Have Weekly Twitter Parties – Choose a topic or goal for the week and ask the members of the community to participate in a Twitter party with prizes, special hashtags, and fun during the Twitter party.
6. Plan a Monthly Webinar – Your community is the best place to tell about the monthly webinars and they are the ones you should invite to it. Plan it around a particular topic that is applicable to your niche.
7. Promote Yourself Via Your Signature Line – It’s important to have a really well filled out profile as well as a good signature line that sends the members of the community to a special sales page just for them.
8. Invite Others into the Community – Seek to selectively grow the group by inviting others who are interested in the same niche to the community. Keeping new members coming in on a regular basis is a way to keep the community fresh and active.
9. Don’t Allow Anonymity – If you own the group, ensure that people are themselves and aren’t allowed to be anonymous. The reason is that if people are required to use their real name, they’ll be much less likely to be scammers and you need to keep your community safe.
10. Become the Go-To Resource – Within the boundaries of your niche and subject matter, seek to be the go-to resource by always answering questions when they come up. In addition, start discussions and share content that relates to your niche.
Using online communities to build relationships with other people is an important way to grow your business in 2015 and beyond. This is because businesses that have longevity have always known that putting the customer at the center of everything is what works.