I am sure we are all familiar with the term “regulars” when it comes to describing your business customers; the usual faces and the usual people. What do all “regulars” have in common? Their loyalty. Having an online community has a lot of benefits:

1.     Beat Google’s Algorithms

We all know how annoying it is that Google’s algorithms keeps changing and let’s face it; there are better things to do than constantly chasing an ever changing algorithm.  So to dampen the effect of Google’s algorithms you are placing a focus on a strong company brand which is something Google can’t really take away.

2.     Helps to give you purpose!

Building a community forces you to set out solid goals and purposes behind your efforts. This can lead to new areas which you have not previously explored for example creating a more user friendly website. Just things you wouldn’t have come across on your normal ventures because you were focussed on other areas.

3.     Stand out from the crowd!

Having an online community can certainly add value to your business in the sense that it will give you something that other businesses does not necessarily have. I am sure you would agree that we all appreciate small gestures that make the service received that much….better. Well having an online community that provides support and discussion about topics can help you discover what your customers want, and possibly your next hit. It is like constant feedback and constantly improving, and faster too!

 

So how do you go about creating this online community?

Well its easier than you think, the community is already there; you just need to get together and have some form of networking.

1.     Differentiate yourself!

Like we saw above, you need to differentiate yourself from your competition. This is to ensure that you attract the right customers. To do this you need a USP, something you have that others don’t; but firstly, it has to be in your product. Do an analysis of your competition and see what you can do better than them and make it your USP even if it is speedy delivery!

2.     Get the right team behind you and your business!

If you arrive for a meeting for the first time at an office where the secretary is rude, it gives you a bad first impression and you will probably be in a bad mood before your meeting. My point is your staff need to be passionate and committed – a big happy family if you will. Delegate roles so everyone can focus on what they need to do, this stops people overworking themselves and makes them better at what they are already good at.

3.     Build and expand

Now that you have the team and something to work on, you can start setting up some sort of network where people can well…network. Get a Facebook and Twitter account/page for your business so that people can share ideas, communicate and connect and make sure it can be found on your website or integrate it on your website, which would be even better!  But here is the tricky part: your content should be aimed towards your customers (which you identified earlier) and not be centred completely on what you want.

One school of thought is the “80/20 Rule” where 80% you share useful information and in the remaining 20% you can share your business services. It’s important to keep active on your account, share other people’s ideas, makes them feel special and that you are listening, not just a robot trying to sell something! There is nothing wrong with posting a funny video and using it alongside one of your ideas/offers. It will get people sharing, retweeting and commenting – indirectly building your brand awareness.

Remember you are trying to build a community; the best way to scare people off is to spam them with offers and sales letters. By seeing your business’ name on your home feed, or Twitter feed means that the next time they require your services, your business will be the first place that pops into their head. Get discussions booming with current events and news.

Keep using your USP as this is what people will remember. If you make fantastic websites or quality furniture then share a finished product every now and then, be proud of your work, make people think “Wow, that’s not bad, I wouldn’t mind getting one of those”.