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5 March 2013

Social Media

Identifying An Online Community

Right, so your business has finally tapped into the social media world, your account has been created, your profile is activated and you are ready to go, but you have no idea how to increase your online presence and brand awareness.

You have no idea how other businesses have gone from having 20 likes to 2,000? Well read on…

Now I have your attention…

When it comes to social media many businesses feel like they are a small fish in a big pond. Many believe that they have to build their online community from nothing, but this is not true. People, blogs, knowledge sources and communities that already exist can be targeted, but they must be relevant to your brand or service(s).

Before starting the online community building process there are a few factors that need to be taken into consideration if you want to attract worthy followers:

  • It will take time and effort
  • Don’t just focus on the number of followers you have
  • It will be a continuing process

Where do you start I hear you ask?

Online Community

First things first ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why should people care about your brand?
  • What are the brands values and ethics?
  • What does your business offer to clients?
  • What makes your brand stand out?
  • What makes your brand different?

To be successful you need to come across as a business that cares about its clients, providing them with something of value. The more you target the right audience the greater you online community will be. Ask yourself, who is your targeted audience? What type of community do I want to build?

You should think of your audience as friends (sounds corny but it’s true), even if your acting as an individual or a brand, you’re not just building followers, you are building relationships. Don’t get me wrong, not every follower will want to engage with you regularly, but you at least want them to care about what you do and what you stand for.

The communities that thrive aren’t just in it for themselves and they definitely don’t talk at their clients and self-promote, because let’s face it, no one wants to be around those type of people and it is no different online for businesses!

They should be full of people who want to be there

You should think carefully about whom you want to attract; surely you want individuals who want to be there, adding to the conversation and the process. Successful communities have people who choose to be there. It is no use in targeting anyone to make a big group of followers and call it a community.

I am not saying that you will be able to hand pick every single person who is associated with your brand, but you can make it evident what your business stands for and that way your followers are more likely to match your values. This way you can build a community around your brand, which will then reflect what your company believes in.

Quality should over rule quantity

When starting the building process, you should only try to include people who care about your brand, as they will support you and help your brand reach increase.

When identifying your followers the aim is to compile a list of;

  • People
  • Companies
  • Knowledge sources

These are the factors which will help your community grow. Once you have done this you have a starting point, as you can begin building long lasting relationships and value in your company (for example valuable content and resources that your customers will want to know). From these relationships you will be introduced to other people and more doors will open for more relationships to be established.

Written By Sarah

Image By Paz.ca

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