Among online business owners, every now and then, there is talk that SEO is dead or link building is becoming obsolete. The way to run a successful business online is to build a community around it.
Now that’s just crazy talk. The truth is, day in day out, the face of search engine optimization is changing but SEO and link building is as important for online businesses now as it was years ago; only that these days, the way of doing things has changed. Now there is a way to integrate all the pieces together by building an online community around your business.
The Benefits of Building an Online Community for Your Business:
1. An Online Community Puts Focus on Your Business
Over the web, many marketers become obsessed with riding out whatever search algorithm update Google throws their way. This is not necessarily a bad thing but in continually chasing what Google might do next, you may lose track of the very reason why you own a website in the first place and that’s your business. At the end of the day, if you have a strong community for your brand, no search engine, including Google can take that away from you.
2. An Online Community Adds Value to Your Business
When you are building a community around your business, you are motivated to go the extra mile in serving your customers, enhancing your products and improving your business model. All of these things add value to your business.
3. An Online Community for Your Business Can Give You an Ideal to Strive Towards
A lot of research and resources goes into building an online community for a business. It’s not only about content creation and social media marketing. It’s about being strategic. When you are building an online community, the process can help you clearly identify your business goals, something you can use to streamline your efforts for marketing success.
If you do it right, building a community can set you apart from the crowd of online marketers. You’ll discover what you stand for and what it’s going to take to stand out in a crowd.
How to Build an Online Community for Your Business – The Stages
1. Define Your Business Goals
Building an online community around your business starts with deciding what you want to do with your business. Think about your business goals and objectives. How do you want people to see you? Here are some things to think about:
- What makes you different from the crowd? What’s your unique selling proposition?
- Why do you do what you do? What’s your story?
- What’s your vision for your business? Where do you see it in say 5 years from now?
- Who are your customers? Not everyone on the web can be.
2. Choose Your Team Players
Building a community takes time and effort. You are bound to meet a few roadblocks along the way. What can really help is to have good team players on your side. Some people you’ll need:
Building a community online is no joke. Do your team members understand their respective roles? You need someone for:
- Project management
- Community management
- Email marketing
- Reading and learning industry trends
3. Develop Your Strategy
Building an online community is for the most part, about having a workable marketing strategy. Think about:
- Your campaigns. What is it going to take to achieve your business goals? Blog posts? Videos? Infographics?
- How long it’s going to take you to do what you want to do.
- Your ongoing efforts. Do your current commitments and efforts match your end goals? Are you headed in the right direction?
4. Understand Your Industry
One of the more important things when you are building an online community is to be aware of what’s happening around you. You got to stay on top of the game: you can’t grow a business with your head buried in sand.
Embrace knowledge relevant to your industry and be creative, innovative, and agile. Learning happens all the time and everywhere. Build connections and friendships with people in your industry and read. Never stop reading.
5. Create Value and Share Value
Value here refers to “tangible” things like blog posts, infographics and videos, focusing on customer experience and building the reach and impact of your business. For the purpose of building an online community, two types of content can be created and shared:
- Foundational content
Foundational content refers to pretty static content like what you would normally have on certain pages of your website including your homepage. It’s focused primarily on self-promotion instead of being directed towards the needs of people.
- Community building content
Community building content on the other hand refers to content that’s more dynamic in nature aimed towards indirectly promoting your brand. It focuses primarily on your knowledge and industry expertise and helping people solve their problems.
Building a community around your business can be a big advantage especially with the surge of social networks. However, it is not as easy as it may sound. We hope the above steps give you a better direction.